Saturday, September 5, 2015

THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James + Giveaway

Welcome to today's stop for the blog tour of The Next Together by Lauren James! We're very excited to host and share with you Lauren's guest post, which is so much fun for fans of history and time travel such as ourselves. An excerpt from The Next Together is also included in the post and you can continue reading more by following the other blogs in the tour! 

by Lauren James

If I was given access to a time machine for a day, I wouldn’t be able to go to just one place. I’m too greedy. I’d have to go on a tour of history and the future, until I ran out of fuel or caused some kind of horrific future-destroying “kill your grandfather” type accident.

First of all, I would without a moment of doubt have to go and see the dinosaurs. I’ve always loved Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time, so how could anyone turn that down?

On the way, I’d like to stop off for breakfast in seventeenth century France to take Pain Au Chocolat and Espresso with La Maupin, a female fencer and opera singer who had more adventures than one person should be allowed in a lifetime outside of fiction!

Then I’d go to visit Easter Island and find out how those giant statues were moved around once and for all, by watching them being built. I’d visit Machu Picchu for lunch with the Incas and spend the afternoon exploring the Galapagos Islands with Charles Darwin.

I’d go to the Roman Baths for a relaxing spa session, before visiting Henry VIII for a dinner of his famous cockentrice. I couldn’t resist going to see an original Shakespeare play - maybe one of his lost plays, so I could tell everyone at home what happened! Then I’d be off to an Elvis Presley concert.

Finally, I’d finish off the evening by attending a regency ball, so that I could chat about writing with Jane Austen over rum punch. I then wouldn’t be able to resist taking a slightly tipsy visit to the future. I’d go to the first human colony on another planet – but I’d like to arrive a few hours before their spaceship first landed, so I could pretend I’d been there waiting for them all along!


University of Nottingham Campus, England, 2039

Kate poured glycerol into a beaker, measuring out what she would need for the afternoon’s experiment. She wasn’t really in the mood for labs today, but it was only her second session of Biology practicals since university started and she couldn’t miss it. It didn’t help that she was the only person without a lab partner, so she had to do double the work of the other first-years. Not that she minded the extra work particularly.
She’d just enjoy having someone to gossip with, which − judging by the crowd gathered by the ice machine − was all the other students did.
She was opening up her labbook on her tablet when a voice from behind her said her name.
“Kate Finchley?” a harried-looking supervisor asked.
“Yep,” she said, dropping her pen and turning around.
At the same time, she stuck her hand into her pocket, fingers catching on a locket she’d stuffed in there last week when it had annoyed her while she was working in a fume cupboard.
The supervisor gestured to a boy who was standing behind her. “Here’s your new lab partner; just transferred from Chemistry. You can get him settled, can’t you?”
Then the supervisor disappeared in a cloud of stress and steamed-up goggles to deal with another fresher, who had just managed to drop a beaker of something foul on the floor and then stand in it.
Kate stared at the boy. “Hi,” she said dubiously. She fished out the locket and put it back on.
He stared back at her, his expression indecipherable. Then he nodded hello. He was wearing a tweed waistcoat, of all things, over a ratty band T-shirt. His light brown hair hung over his eyes in a retro fringe that seemed to be based on something from the late noughties.
She was delighted to note that despite his doubtful fashion choices he was exactly her type.
“Welcome to my lair. Make yourself at home.” She gestured to the lab, which was filling with the gentle scent of rotting manure. Nearby a cluster of the Ice-Machine Gossipers, labcoat sleeves over their noses, were gathered around the spillage, offering advice to the flustered supervisor.
Kate turned back to the boy, who’d dropped his labcoat onto the bench like he’d just been waiting for her permission.
He’d apparently been using it as a kind of satchel, as he pulled out an assortment of stationery, notebooks and what looked like his lunch (in a biology lab; did he have no survival instincts at all?) from its depths. As he finally wrestled his way into his sparkling new labcoat and then rescued an apple from where it had bounced across the floor, she found her gaze lingering on the way his hair curled over the back of his collar.
Having picked up the apple, he turned around and actually blushed when he noticed her watching him − a vivid pink staining cheekbones that she was frankly jealous of. Bone structure like that was wasted on a chemist. Kate pulled off her goggles to distract from the fact that she’d been caught watching him. She fought for a moment to pull them from their determined grip in her tangled red hair.
He had blushed? She wasn’t sure what to do with that, actually. Was it a good thing, a guy blushing when you looked at him? He might as well have a name tag saying, “Hi, I’m a shy, socially awkward scientist. Please don’t look me directly in the eye or I might faint.”
Kate was just imagining him introducing himself as “a socially awkward scientist”, his Scottish lilt skipping quickly over the words, when he cleared his throat and spoke.
“I didn’t actually download a copy of the labbook. What experiment are we doing today?”
That was a bit odd. He sounded exactly as she had imagined him: the same soft Scottish brogue. She frowned.
Why had she assumed he would be Scottish?
“Cleaning up horse muck, by the look of it,” she joked, glancing over at the students still gathered around the spillage.
He dimpled a smile at her, and relaxed a little.
“What’s your name?” he asked, looking her up and down. His eyes lingered on her labcoat collar, which was decorated with badges and beads, but he didn’t mention it. She didn’t think he had any right to judge – there was half a ham sandwich poking out of his pocket.
“Kate,” she said brightly, trying to convey a more normal aura.
His eyebrows rose at her answer in what looked like surprise. She wasn’t sure why her name would be surprising.
“Matt,” he replied. “Matt Galloway.”
“Hi, Matt, nice to meet you. Welcome to Biology, etc., etc. I know you from somewhere. Have we met before?”
Or instead of being normal she could just act like his own personal stalker. That worked too.
“We haven’t met before. I would have remembered.” He blushed and then stammered, “I mean, I haven’t even been to this country before. I moved here for university.”
She eyed him speculatively. He must be particularly intelligent to have got permission to study abroad. Since Scotland had gained independence from England after the last world war, almost twenty years ago, it had been practically impossible to get permits to study internationally.
Hmmm. He didn’t seem like he was lying. Where did she know him from?
She should probably get back to work and give him a week or so to settle in before she began to torment him further by actually chatting to him, or doing something equally terrifying like nodding to him in the corridor. It was obvious he was completely overwhelmed by her raw sexuality − or that was what she was telling herself, anyway, and no one could prove otherwise. But she couldn’t look away. There was something … familiar about him.
He made no attempt to continue talking, just looked at her, nonplussed. Kate was afraid to continue any line of conversation in case he actually died from the blood rushing to his face, but the silence was awkward, so she eventually said, “Why are you transferring over to biology, anyway?”
“There weren’t as many explosions as I was hoping for in chemistry.” It sounded like a prepared response; he’d probably been asked that question a lot recently.
“Well there aren’t nearly half as many giant octopuses as you’d want in biology either, sorry.”
He grinned. “Shame. How’s the physics department here?”
She could sense him eyeing her, and she tried not to feel self-conscious. Her grandmother had once described her as a perfect Pre-Raphaelite beauty, which she took to mean that her figure was a little too soft around the edges to conform to twenty-first-century perceptions of beauty, and her hair was a vivid shock of red. Sometimes people at school had teased her for being ginger, but she’d always loved her hair too much for it to bother her.
Either way, she was secure in her body image a lot of the time, but it didn’t stop her feeling self-conscious, especially when there was a cute boy looking at her like she was the most interesting thing he’d seen all day.
“I’d give the physics lot six out of ten. There aren’t enough brunets,” she said.
There’d been a disappointing mixers event in freshers’ week.
He grinned and Kate smiled back, then she said, “I hear their MRI research rivals Cambridge’s, though.”
“I’ll look into that, then. If the octopi don’t work out.”
“I’m sure they will. No sea monsters today, though. We’re testing fertiliser effects on the development rates of bacteria cultures.”
“Sounds a lot easier than chemistry labs. I had to bring an acid to boil. On my first day.”
“Ouch. Well, I’ll look after you today.” She handed him a pair of latex gloves. Their hands touched, just slightly.
> First contact established in time-landscape 2039

Kate shuddered, closing her eyes for a moment. She felt a little strange.

The Next Together
The Next Together
by Lauren James
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: September 3rd, 2015
How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

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Follow the The Next Together by Lauren James Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Lauren James is a scientist by day, writer by early hours of the morning. She graduated in 2014 with a first class Masters degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She now lives in the village of Berkswell in the UK.

You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, which she mainly uses to fancast actors as her characters and panic about all of the overly ambitious plans she has for her PhD, or her website at

She likes strong, intelligent women, Dylan O’Brien, and things with plants on them. These are her favourite books:

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