Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Interview with Lauren James

Today I'm interviewing Lauren James, incredibly sweet fellow Fearless Fifteener and author of THE NEXT TOGETHER, a remarkable reincarnation romance that I was fortunate enough to read recently. Here's the official blurb:

How many times can you lose the person you love? 

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about reincarnation and the timelessness of first love from a talented young writer. 

Teenagers Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...

Add THE NEXT TOGETHER (Walker Books in the UK, 3rd September 2015) to Goodreads or preorder on Amazon. 

THE NEXT TOGETHER has such a brilliant, twisty plotline! How did you manage to keep everything straight? Did you outline?

Thank you, Marci! It was hard to keep everything in my head, and after a few confused conversations with my agent, where neither of us knew what was happening, I taped about five huge pieces of paper together, laid them on the floor, and wrote out the plot in each timeline. There was lots of post-it notes and highlighting and multi-coloured notes used to keep everything in order! 

I think if I'd realised how complicated to would be to write a three timeline, historical, time travel novel, I might have saved the idea until I'd already written one or two other novels. As it was, I chucked myself straight into the deep end as an author. 

A good portion of this story occurs in the past. How much research did you have to do in order to stay historically correct?

There are three storylines in The Next Together, each about a different life of my main characters, who are reincarnated throughout history. One is set in the future, one in 1854 during the Crimean war, and one in 1745 during the Jacobite Uprising. So I did a lot of research to make sure I didn't embarrass myself! 

I visited one of the locations, Carlisle Castle, to make sure my descriptions of the layout were accurate. I also read a lot of primary sources, usually diaries and letters from people around at the time, as well as history books about the time period. 

I wanted to make sure that my writing was a little realistic, but I didn't go hugely overboard with the research - I think the story is more important, and I didn't want to make the dialogue too heavy and historical, especially for a book aimed at younger teenagers. It's a historical novel, but it's hopefully exciting and modern and funny regardless of that. 

Hopefully I found the right balance between accuracy and plot! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your hero and heroine?

Kate and Matt are reincarnated multiple times throughout history, and they always find each other and fall in love. Kate is sassy and rude and rushes into things without thinking, and Matt is more contemplative and careful and a little shy. He thinks Kate is incredibly cool. Kate thinks Matt is exactly her Type. 

They're both a little silly and ridiculous, but they love each other a lot, and have a great time finding out just how much in every storyline. 

What is your writing process like?

I write at night, usually from around 7pm - 2am. I listen to playlists I make for each book, and I chew gum and write and write and write. I usually know how a story is going to start and what's going to happen in the first half, but I don't know the rest until I get there. 

I write dialogue first, starting with funny or romantic lines that I've noted down beforehand, and I build scenes around them. I write from beginning to end, and I don't let myself jump ahead to other scenes however much I want to. I just force myself through the awful bits. It takes me about 2 months to write a first draft, and then I leave it for at least a month before I go back to it and work on edits. 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Rainbow Rowell, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, but some of my favourite recently published authors are Robin Talley, Alexia Casale, Noelle Stevenson and Lisa Williamson. I have so many favourites it was hard to pick just a few! If you want some more recommendations, my favourite books of 2014 are here


Lauren James is a scientist by day, writer by early hours of the morning. She graduated in 2014 with a Masters degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She now lives in the village of Berkswell, West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, which she mainly uses to fancast actors as her characters and panics about all of the overly ambitious plans she has for her PhD, or her website at

You can find Lauren on TwitterTumblr, or Wordpress