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An Interview with Lauren James!

To celebrate the release of the amazing Sci-Fi book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, I got to interview the author, Lauren James! 

What was your inspiration for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe?

"I was learning about special relativity and we were doing maths problems about a spaceship that's travelling close to the speed of light and another faster spaceship is launched from Earth. It was about the different ages of the people [aboard the spaceships] when the met because of time dilation.

I really loved the idea of being on a spaceship that is overtaken by better technology because how annoyed would you be if you were travelling for years and years and you got overtaken? I kept thinking about it and how a character would be who'd been on a spaceship for that long and it turned into Romy Silvers."

You have a background in science but did you always want to be a writer?

Lauren confessed that, originally, she didn't know that you could be a writer as a job so instead was a reader. "I read all the time, even when I was studying science," she said. 

"I ran out of books to read and I had a book in my head that didn't exist so I wrote it," she explained to how her first book came about. "When I was done I was really proud of myself so I decided to see if I could get it published. It kind of ran away from me."

In all of your books, you include different letters or emails along with the writing. What inspired you to this?

"It started when I was writing The Next Together. It has four different timelines and I was worried people would read it and they wouldn't connect the characters because they behave differently depending on what era of history they're in. I wanted something to tie them together and make them feel real. I decided to put in documents from their lives because if you can see and letter that someone has written it is going to be the same handwriting no matter if they're writing it in 1745 or 2036."

"The things I was writing in letters I wouldn't have written in normal pros. I started playing with it and adding tweets," She added. Lauren loves seeing her characters interact by text as you talk differently online compared to how you would in person, especially with the addition of memes. She also mentioned how she'd never seen books use this format before so decided she would do something different.

Lauren also shared that the reason her agent picked The Next Together to represent was because of the letters and texts included grabbed her eye!

Lauren James (Left) and Myself (Right) in Waterstones!

What was the inspiration to include fanfiction in The Loneliest Girl in the Universe?

"That really started because I read Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, and in that the boy reads her fanfiction and it was a way of him getting to know her. I really love the idea of someone reading your fanfiction but not necessarily using it because they fancy you but using it for more malicious reasons."

Have you ever written any fanfiction yourself?

Just as expected, Lauren had written fanfiction before. "It was a Harry Potter fanfiction. It was Sirus Black and Hermione Granger and a Timeturner fanfiction. So I was already writing about time travel and this was when I was 15." In Lauren's Harry Potter fanfiction she wrote about Hermione going back in time and falling in love with Sirus. Sounds like a pretty good fanfiction to me. 

What makes you fangirl?

Lauren shared that she has been loving the BBC show, The Cormoran Strike. "I was really annoyed that there was no fanfiction for that TV show," she said.

Lauren's number one OTP (One True Pairing) right now is the couple, Chris Evans and Jenny Slate. She is "obsessed" with them. Lauren said that she loves that fact that on the outside they look like an odd couple but also are really great together. 

(Left to right) MoonlightAbbie, Lauren James, Myself, NeverlandVicki.
How different was it to write an isolated character?

"In some ways, it was a lot hard and a lot easier at the same time. it was really easy because you only have one character and there's not much dialogue.

But at the same time, I had to make sure she was a really believable character that people rooted for. because there's no dialogue and no scene changes everything relies on her personality. If you don't like her or want her to succeed there nothing keeping you reading. I had to really put a lot of myself in her to make sure she [felt] like a real person. "

Lauren used her own experiences and translated them to fit Romy's. She said that Romy's anxiety about running the ship is how she felt in her first year of university. Much like Romy, Lauren felt like she didn't have the skill set to do it. 

"I had never really read a character like [Romy], that was a strong female character that had all of these skills but also had all of this anxiety at the same time," Lauren said. She wanted to write a character that not only had strengths but also had weaknesses and was able to share them. 

What are you current favourite Young Adult books?

After scrolling through Goodreads, Lauren shared that she had recently read The Pearl Theif by Elizabeth E. Wein and had really enjoyed it. She also shared her love for ChainBreaker by Tara Sim. Lauren praised it by saying that it was a really solid second book that built on the pre-existing world.

What can you say about any upcoming projects?

"My next books is out in September [2018]. It is about the last boy and girl born after humanity stopped being able to conceive. They are going to grow up as the youngest people on earth and watch the human race go extinct," Lauren shared. There's no title yet but I for one am already excited to read this!

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is available to buy now!

1 comment

  1. Great interview :-) It's always wonderful to hear all about the amazing authors who write our favourite books!