How, What, Where and When; Lauren James, on 'The Quiet at the End of the World'.

I don’t get soppy that often (hehehe) but nearly every day I take a moment to be truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in the past few years, in the book world. I know for a fact that Young Me who read Eva Ibbotson, Hilary McKay and Lemony Snicket novels, not so subtly tucked into her Science textbooks at school, would be properly gobsmacked at what I get to do now – and she’d fangirl over many if not all of my blogger and author pals, too. 

Speaking of Young Me, I know for a fact she’d love this particular author I have been lucky enough to interview for this brand new series. I don’t have favourites, obvs, but this brilliant woman has got to be up there with the very best. 

Lauren James is a UKYA science fiction/romance/coming of age/all of the above writer; she also blogs, edits and coaches aspiring writers. I am so excited to have her as my very first guest on How, What, Where and Whentalking about her latest novel with the babes at Walker Books  ‘The Quiet at the End of the World’!

Oh hey, Lauren! Thank you so much for being a guest on the blog.

I am super honoured to be back on your blog! It’s one of my favourites. 

As you know, I’m a huge fan of your books and am so excited for this one. As usual, it’s a pretty crazy concept… so the first question has to be…

How on this planet did you come up with yet another insanely unique concept and plot?

Haha! I always think my plots are super obvious and unoriginal, so it’s very exciting when people think they’re unique. I was reading a lot of science non-fiction, which I try to do as often as possible because it always inspires new ideas for my writing. I read a book about extinction, and it was the first time it occurred to me that it is a one hundred percent probability that the human race will one day go extinct. It might be a hundred years from now, or a hundred billion years, but it’s going to happen. 

Which means that there’s probably going to be a last generation of people who will know that they’re the last people to ever live. That seemed to me to be an incredibly pressured situation to find yourself in, especially if there’s no hope of a cure.

What was the biggest struggle in writing this story

Finding Lowrie’s character was quite tough. I really wanted to write about another female scientist, as I do in all my books, but I didn’t want Lowrie to feel exactly like Romy or Clove. So it took me a while to find the right style of intelligence for her – she’s an engineer, so she’s very physical and thinks in terms of the mechanics of things, but struggles with the more fact based side. Once I had worked that out, she clicked into place, but it did take a while to get her voice right.

And the very best part of the process? 

Every scene with Mitch made me laugh. And I LOVED writing Maya’s social media posts.  I wrote her whole storyline in one or two days because I just had such fun telling twitter jokes and creating a fake online world. Maya and Riz are my OTP. 

Where do you think you will go next with this story? Do you see a sequel happening!? Or maybe something like ‘The Next Together’, with a ‘linked’ story…? 

I think the end ties things up very neatly, so I don’t have much of a desire to write a sequel in the way I still do with The Last Beginning – I really want to write a story set in Ella’s time because there’s so much we don’t know yet about her world. But Lowrie and Shen’s story is finished now. I do have some short stories and deleted scenes saved though, which I’m going to be posting over the next few months. 

When in your writing/publishing process was the title of this book decided, and how did you decide on it? 

Coming up with a title is, hand on heart, the worst part of writing books. I seem to spend all my time suffering over the thesaurus! I usually start by looking up Goodreads lists of similar books, to see the title trends which are most common. Certain words tend to be reused a lot, which makes a good starting place. I’ll click through related synonyms to try and find words which are both unique (you want your book to be the main result when someone searches for it) but also easy to say and spell. It also needs to just have the right vibe for the book. I think we came up with this title really late on in the process, when Walker told me they needed one so they could start making the cover! 

Oh, what’s this? A BONUS question!!

Why did you set this story in London?

I became kind of fascinated by this hobby that Londoners have called mudlarking, where they search the Thames for treasure. Business men go and do it on their lunch breaks. So I set it in a a crumbling, collapsing London purely so I could get Lowrie and Shen down to the river exploring for human artefacts. They are fascinated with human civilisation, because for them, it’s something ancient and nearly lost. Their entire community numbers a few hundred people, but they’re surrounded by huge tower blocks which once housed thousands. They spend a lot of time just trying to understand the society that used to live there. 

Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my How, What, Where and When Qs. Happy publication!

'The Quiet at the End of the World' will be published on Thursday 7th of March, 2019. Follow Walker Books YA to get all the coverage! 

This cover, though. The glimmering foil and hidden numbers and UGHHHH, yes.

Get your copies on A Great Read, The Book Depository or at The Big Green Bookshop. (there’s also Waterstones and Amazon, but c’mon, let’s rep the indies!)


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