Friday, 29 September 2017

#114 Interview with Lauren James

I't's been about a month since my last blog post but I'm hoping that this pretty exciting post will make up for it!
Today I'll be sharing with you all my interview with the author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe Lauren James!
Keep reading to find out about her latest novel!

Can you describe The Loneliest Girl in the Universe for us in six words?
Isolated astronaut connects with fantasy guy (that was surprisingly hard!)

Where did you get your inspiration for The Loneliest Girl?
This particular story started with a question from some Physics coursework at university about special relativity, which went something like this:

An astronaut travels in a spaceship to a new planet. After a few years, a newer faster ship is developed and launched, which overtakes the first ship. How old are the two astronauts when they each arrive on the planet?

I started thinking about what it would be like to be that first astronaut, and dedicate years to travelling alone in space, only for your ship to be overtaken by a faster one before you even arrive. What would that feel like? What kind of relationship would you have with the person on the faster ship? From that, the story of Romy Silvers was born.

How hard was it taking the leap from a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to becoming an author?
My science background has actually been really useful for my writing, especially as I write science fiction. I always try to make the science in my books as accurate as possible, and I did a lot of research into space travel and the theory of space travel behind NASA’s equipment when writing The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

The time machine in The Last Beginning is also based on real-life research into sub-atomic particles at CERN, like the Large Hadron Collider. Based on the predictions physicists have made about the possibilities of time travel, I thought that was a logical starting point to progress from. I wanted to feel very real and possible – it’s simplified a lot in the book from how these things might actually work, but the grounding of the science is very plausible. I hope! [crosses fingers no physicists immediately call me on my mistakes]

So STEM has helped my work a lot, but I do miss being in a lab. I also dreamt about doing algebra a lot after I graduated, because I missed it so much!

Do you have any tips for any inspiring writers?
Find out what makes your writing unique and own it. Be completely shameless about it in your query letter. If you love the zombie cats in your novel, make sure they are front and centre in your query. You need to find an agent who loves your book as much as you do, and spending months crafting the perfectly written query letter isn’t going to do that – but maybe persuading them to read the book with the promise of zombie cats might.

Any tips for people, especially girls, looking into a career in STEM?
You are clever enough! You can do it!! Maths is fun! (Okay, that last one is kind of misleading.) 
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

I loved how the majority of Romy’s story took place in the same place but it was never boring in the slightest! How did you find writing a story that was set in the same place compared to The Next Together, which is set all over the place?
The main way I kept it from being boring was by keeping it really character driven, so the location didn’t really matter. I really got inside Romy’s head to make it work.

It was a lot easier keeping it in one place, as I had to do a lot of historical research for my first series. But then, I always think the last book I wrote was the easiest and best to write, and then start another and remember how hard it is. The one I’m always writing always feels like a terrible disaster while I’m in the process of getting it down on paper. When I’ve done all the hard work and can look at a complete, perfect finished book, I like it – but during the writing process, it’s torment. That’s true of all my books!

Pick one! Romy (Loneliest Girl), Clove, Ella, Kate or Matt? (The Next Together and The Last Beginning)
I CAN’T! That’s too cruel! (Spart.)*
*Spart is from The Last Beginning 

And finally, if you could have a crossover with any other YA character, who would you pick?
No hesitation: Artemis Fowl. For sure. My hero.

 image via Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.
She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.
The Next Together was described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’ and Kirkus as ‘An ambitious, promising premise . . . James is one to watch’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first-time writer.
Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together which was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for kids and young adults by the Independent. Two short stories set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together and Another Beginning, are also available.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature scientists in prominent roles.
image via Alice Oseman (x)
Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books, in the US by HarperCollins and in translation in five other countries around the world. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for the Guardian, Buzzfeed and The Toast. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content.

I can't thank Lauren enough for doing this interview with me! The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is available in all good bookstores.


  1. Great interview; I loved your questions, especially the last one! I'm really looking forward to getting to the Loneliest Girl in the Universe on my TBR, hopefully soon 😊😉
    Amy x

  2. i think we need to get you an official "lauren's number one fan" badge

  3. Such a great interview and interesting read! When I’ve got through my TBR list, this book will be next!

    Jessica & James | /

  4. I just have to say your photography is amazing but also I loved all your questions! Such an interesting read and reminds me of how much I need to read Lauren James' debut novels since I only read The Lonliest Girl in the Universe which I loved! Also definitely will follow your blog now!

  5. Great interview, its always nice to find out more about the author behind the book. Sounds like an interesting book, I may have to check it out.

    Ashlee |

  6. Ah fantastic interview lovely! Lauren seems like such a cool person and love that she uses her career knowledge in her books.

    Can't wait to read The Loneliest Girl myself.



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