The Next Together, written by Lauren James, made my Favorite Books of 2015 list (coming soon) and I became completely obsessed with it! I contacted Lauren on Twitter and arranged an interview which she happily accepted. Honestly, she’s one of the nicest authors out there! If you want to check out my review of The Next Together click here. Enjoy!
1. Hey Lauren! First things first, I’d to congratulate you on this book. It is the best YA book I’ve read this year so far along with Sally Green’s Half Wild. To start off simple, how would you describe The Next Together and what does it mean to you?
The Next Together is what I like to call a “reincarnation romance”. It follows the various lives of Katherine and Matthew as they meet and fall in love throughout history. There are timelines in the recent future and distant past, and each time a mysterious being is tracking Kate and Matt’s relationship, and making sure they fall in love and save the world in every life….
I’ve been thinking about a couple who are reincarnated throughout history since I was about sixteen. I always wrote about them during Creative Writing assignments at school! It stuck with me long enough for me to actually start writing the full novel when I was eighteen.
2. One of the things I loved most about The Next Together is how historically rich it is and how accurate it is with all the jumps through time periods and all the different story lines. How were the researching and planning processes for you? They must’ve been a lot of work!
In hindsight, choosing a storyline with multiple historical time periods might have been a bad idea for my first ever novel, which was hard enough to write without the research!
The various plot threads and time periods were also a little complicated to keep track of, I admit! Especially during editing, when I struggled to remember which plotlines I had written, which I had removed from an earlier draft, or had yet to write. As the plot involves time travel elements, this made is especially confusing, both for myself and my editor. I had to make a lot of posters keeping track of plots.
3. Which time period was your favorite to write about? What were some time periods you would’ve loved to write about but couldn’t? For example, I would’ve loved a medieval/Celtic version of Katherine and Matthew!
The 1745 timeline is my favourite because it includes a very flirty carriage ride scene near the start of the book, which I adored writing. It’s full of unresolved sexual tension and intrigue, and it was the very first thing I wrote which clicked for me. At that point it really felt like writing was something that I could do properly instead of just as a hobby.
I’d love to write a novella about the murders at Bletchley Park – I have so many ideas about that! And there is a little medieval short story here.
4. Now since you’ve achieved to write such complex novel, could you give us some advice on planning and organization when writing a novel for the aspiring authors reading this?
I started out writing the most modern timeline, and when I hit a plothole I moved onto another timeline. When I hit a wall, I went back to the other one. Having so many storylines helped keep me writing even when I wasn’t sure what happened next in a particular plot strand. So maybe that will help people getting stuck!
5. Please enlighten us! Who would be your “chosen ones” to play Katherine and Matthew in a The Next Together movie?
Here are my fancasts for the characters – Matt is Ben Whishaw and Kate is Rose Leslie!
6. We know that The Last Beginning (The Next Together’s sequel coming 2016) will feature a lesbian couple as the main characters (which makes me oh so excited!). What made you want to write about a LGBT couple? Is Clove one of the participants in this relationship? Will we get to know what has been of Katherine and Matthew in the future? Alright I’m just fangirling and asking too many questions BUT TELL US SOMETHING!! Haha
The Last Beginning continues the story of Kate and Matt, as well as introducing new characters Clove and Ella (who are lesbians, yes!). I’m not sure what I can share about it yet, except to say that it’s just as timey wimey and romantic as the first book. I like to think of the series as Jane Austen meets Doctor Who, and that is even more appropriate for the sequel than for The Next Together. I wrote a long looong post about why I wanted to write about LGBT characters here, but the short answer is: Dumbledore!
7. And last but not least, how many books are you planning on writing on The Next Together’s world?
It’s currently a duology, but who knows what will happen in the future! I’d love to write more books set in this world.
Lauren James is 23, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.
Her first novel The Next Together, a YA reincarnation romance, is out now with Walker Books in the UK and Australia, and will also be published in the USA, Germany, Turkey, Russia and Brazil. The Last Beginning will be published in Autumn 2016. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or Tumblr at http://lauren-e-james.tumblr.com.