Lauren James is one of my favourite YA authors and I'm so happy to host a Q and A with her to celebrate her new book. The Quiet at the End of the World comes out on Thursday and is the thrilling story of the last two teens on Earth. You can check out my review here.
It’s about the future of humanity, and the fragility of life and existence. It’s about the power of humanity to fix any problem through love and determination. And it’s about the last boy and girl born in a world without children.
What does it have in common with your previous books?
It has the multimedia format of The Next Together series, with a plotline set eighty-five years before Lowrie and Shen’s time, told in social media posts. That was my absolute favourite part of the book to write.
Which characters would you want to have with you at the end of the world, from your books or otherwise?
Artemis Fowl. Ada Lovelace. P G Wodehouse. Ella from The Last Beginning. My type: funny and clever.
Your plots often deal with social media and science. What draws you to these subject matters?
Honestly, I write books for myself. I just write what I want to read, and I love science – the enthusiasm and joy you can get from problem-solving in science – and I love social media. Specifically, I love the new opportunities for storytelling innovation that social media and the internet gives us. There is the potential to write stories we’ve never told before using the internet as a plot device, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get bored of exploring that.
Can you recommend any fiction or non-fiction books for readers who are interested in science?
Absolutely! Here’s some of the books that inspired The Quiet at the End of the World:
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness – A fascinating look at how evolution makes our brains think.
Aliens: Science Asks: Is There Anyone Out There? – What's going to happen in the future? Will there be aliens there? Mind blowing and easy to read.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow – Cleverer than any other book you'll read in 2019.
Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind – If you're at all interested in art, then you need to see where it all started.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes – One of the ways scientists have worked out some of the bold claims you'll read about in these other books
The World Without Us – The future of Earth, good and bad, if humans disappeared right now.
Which recent YA books have you been the most excited about?
The Dark Days Club series by Alison Goodman – High octane demon-fighting, Regency social politics, angst-ridden romance and the best heroine of all time – I could read about Lady Helen forever.
A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood – This YA novel is set in 1920s Cornwall, where a local girl gets caught up in the lives of the rich lords and ladies visiting for the summer from high society London. She becomes part of their group, partying with them at their indulgent, expensive Gatsby-style events, and bickering with the handsome but enigmatic older brother (who is, tragically, already engaged). This is the most perfectly indulgent guilty pleasure read. I described it as The Camomile Lawn meets Dodie Smith meets The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets (all of which you should also read).
Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat - The easiest way to describe this YA graphic novel series is: fencing arch-nemeses turned roommates at an upper class boarding school. It's Yuri on Ice in the fencing world, and it's so. damn. good.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer those questions Lauren! It's fascinating to gain an insight into your writing and to see your passion for science.
You can find Lauren on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk, where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content.