And the winner is… MP! Bookish Awards: Lauren James wants to bribe you with kittens + WIN ‘The Next Together’ duology!

The wonerful Lauren James became loved by all the UKYA community when her fab debut, ‘The Next Together’, leaped onto shelves and it even made it into the Debut of the Year category for the MP! Bookish Awards!


In case you haven’t picked it up yet, here’s what it’s all about: Katherine and Matthew are destined for each other. They are reborn and drawn to each other time and time again, but why? How many times can they die to save the world? How many times can you survive losing the one you love?

How does it feel to have ‘The Next Together’ nominated for Debut of the Year in the MP! Bookish Awards? AMAZING. MP! is a community built on pure enthusiasm, and I can’t believe that enthusiasm is focused at something that I created, whaaaat. It’s incredible that people have found something in TNT that they love as much as I love it. And the competition is unbelievable – I feel like an imposter amongst writing royalty!

How did you juggle writing the three different timelines of Katherine and Matthew’s story? In hindsight, choosing a storyline with multiple time periods might have been a bad idea for my first ever novel! The various plot threads and time periods were very complicated to keep track of, 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. I had to make a lot of posters keeping track of plots. Basically: I did juggle it, but there were a lot of dropped balls.


How was writing ‘The Last Beginning’ different to writing ‘The Next Together’? Writing a second novel is infamously harder because you’re writing it with an awareness that people are going to read it, whereas a first novel is just written for yourself. Besides which, a first novel is made up of a lifetime’s worth of experiences, but a second novel has to find something new and unique based on only a year’s worth of new living. The pressure can be crippling at times.

But once I got my head in gear, 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!


Can you tell us a bit about what you’re reading at the moment? Appropriately, I’m reading AND I DARKEN, which is nommed for MP! Feminist Book of the Year. It’s so good – very dark and powerful, and a great example of the ever stretching boundaries of the nebulous genre of YA.

Because I can’t just read one book at a time, I’m also reading CROOKED KINGDOM and NOT YOUR SIDEKICK. Both are excellent. And very diverse.

How would you convince someone who’s undecided to vote for ‘The Next Together’ in the MP! Bookish Awards? I WILL SEND YOU KITTENS! Not really. But I’ll be very, very grateful. No pressure or anything.

And if you haven’t read Lauren’s marvellous debut yet, we’ve got a giveaway just for you: you can win 1 of 5 bundles of both books in ‘The Next Together’ dulogy!

How to enter: follow @maximumpopbooks and RT the following tweet. Easy!

This competition is now closed. Congrats to the winners @Boopsyou, @TeamWolf1988, @sehun_growls, @aliterarypotion, @Shannon_Reads.

Don’t forget to cast your vote in the MP! Bookish Awards – you’ve only got until tomorrow (Friday 30th) at 12pm to get your vote counted! VOTE HERE.

Keep up with all of Lauren’s adventures on Snapchat!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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