A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Today I’m interviewing the fabulous Lauren James in honour of the release of her second novel, The Last Beginning, sequel to The Next Together, a compelling reincarnation romance about my OTP Matthew and Katherine, a.k.a. Mattherine.
Lauren, thank you for being with us today. Please, take a seat on this magical Pegasus so we can begin!
Thank you for interviewing me! I am ready with my parachute for the flight to begin.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about The Last Beginning?
The Last Beginning is the follow-up to my first book The Next Together. It’s a sequel/prequel (time travel is complicated!) It’s a lesbian romance with LOTS OF JOKES.
Talk to us about your protagonist, Clove! What is she like?
Clove is the [redacted] relation of characters in TNT. She’s very angry and grumpy and defensive at the start of the book. She has hyperactivity issues & she’s studying programming. She’s also got a horrible, debilitating crush on her straight best friend. It’s #tragic. Her sidekick is a AI called Spart. She loves smoky bacon crisps and knitting. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I’m getting all emotional.
If you could give one piece of advice to Clove at the beginning of this book, what would it be?
To chill a little bit. She’s kind of highly strung. And to stop being mad at her parents for loving her too much, because that’s just stupid.
I am frequently in awe of your ability to play with multiple time-scapes at once. I’ve heard through the grapevine that you are a wizard. If this is, in fact, NOT the case, could you tell us what the hardest/most challenging part of writing The Last Beginning?
I have no comment on my magical abilities. Please refer all other questions to my familiar.
I think that the hardest part was keeping track of what was happening from the perspectives of the different characters in each scene. Because there is a lot of time travel, the characters all come from different points in time, and that changes where they are in the story’s chronology – and what they all know, or don’t know, about each other. Sometimes I’d have a character offering up information they didn’t actually know (yet), which made me feel a bit stupid – and gave my editors a headache!
Can you tell us something special/secret about the romance in The Last Beginning?
Kate and Matt fell in love in the past (lots of times). Clove and her love interest, Ella, fall in love in the future. It makes things very confusing for everyone involved.
If you and Clove could go time-hopping to any period together, where would you go? Who would take care of who?
I would actually quite like Clove to take me around her time. Her parents Tom and Jen are building the world’s first time machine at St Andrews University (which you can read about in the Prologue here). I’d love a tour of the fancy equipment. Maybe a few years after the end of The Last Beginning, in 2058? Clove would definitely be the boss. I’m hopeless.
Now that you are coming to the end of your duology, which character will you miss the most? (Yes, this IS a sneaky way of asking who your favourite is!)
Oh nooooooo! Everyone who’s read it so far has loved a new character called Spart – he’s had at least 3 declarations of love and/or marriage. I’ll probably miss writing his dialogue the most. He’s an Artificial Intelligence who’s very sassy and wise, and obsessed with trashy tv shows. I could write him into every scene I write in any piece of fiction for the rest of my life, and it would improve it exponentially.
And finally, how many times CAN you lose the person you love?!
The truth is that with time travel, they’re never really lost at all.
The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.
Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She sold the rights to her first novel The Next Together, a Young Adult science fiction romance, when she was 21. It has been translated into five languages worldwide and is out now with Walker Books in the UK and Australia, and will also be published by Sky Pony Press in the USA. It was described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’. It was also longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first time writer. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.
Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel. A short story set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together, is also available as a free eBook.
You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk.