Welcome to January’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.
This month we're pleased to highlight debut novelist, Lauren James and her novel, The Next Together. Katherine and Matthew are lovers who are separated by time. They travel through four different dimensions, find each other and rekindle their love, only to find themselves separated again while hoping that one day they can solve the mystery of what is keeping them apart.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Dave - There were quite a few sections that captured well Katy’s\Katherine’s\Kate’s growth as a character. Many, however, would give too much of the story away, so I settled on this particular section after Kate, in the year 2039 has just told Matt that she loves him.
She realized then that she always had. She couldn’t remember falling in love with Matt. She hadn’t had the butterflies in the stomach, the giddy absorption of falling in love. It hadn’t been like that. She’d just seen him, suddenly it had all clicked into place.
She’d always been in love with him, and had been quietly, patiently, waiting for him to turn up. Perhaps once there had been a time when she wasn’t tied to him with every molecule of her being, but it was so long ago it was impossible to remember.
Marcy – As Dave said above, there are many choices for the development of the main character. This comes earlier in the novel when Katherine has a hint of jealously about Matthew.
She spotted Matthew leading a horse back to the stables, and quickly slipped outside to follow him, eager for a distraction.
He was talking to a maid when she reached the stables. The servants’ heads were close together, their conversation serious and intense, while the horse idly plucked at a patch of cow parsley.
Something turned over in the pit of Katherine’s stomach, but she shook the feeling away, annoyed with herself. Matthew could talk to whomever he wanted.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - I chose this particular chapter ending from timeline 1745 because of the tension and of the way Katherine addresses the individual who has taken the place of her lover, Matthew.
It didn’t reply, just looked at her. She knew what the look meant, though. He’d gone. Her Matthew wasn’t coming back, and she was left with this thing that appeared to be him but wasn’t. She turned and ran. The tears were streaming down her face. She dropped onto the bed and the guest bedchamber, barely able to stop herself screaming into the pillow.
Marcy – I’m not going into any details here so I won’t spoil it.
“When she woke up, he was dead.”
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave - My favorite secondary character is Tom, Matthew’s brother, because… well… he’s… mysterious.
Marcy – I’m with Dave on this one, Tom is quite unique and interesting.
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave - There were so many great passages of description that made me feel like I was living and breathing the scenes, but I chose this particular passage because I felt that it could also have doubled as a passage for character growth. This is another scene with Kate, from 2039, as she is setting out to discover more about her past.
They picked their way cautiously through the empty, weed-covered car park towards the building beyond. The complex looked untouched, it’s huge windows unbroken, though green with mould. It didn’t look anything like Kate had imagined, and it was more like a library than the quarantined sight of the outbreak of dangerous bacteria. She couldn’t believe they were risking everything to chase down a long-forgotten mystery that had happened a lifetime ago. But she felt like this was her whole reason for being - her whole reason for living. She couldn’t stop. She had to do this for herself, for Katherine.
Marcy – This paragraph captures Matthew’s raw feelings toward Katherine.
He hadn’t noticed her silent fury, and continued, “I thought you were beautiful, and funny, and knowledgeable. You were so sad, but you still took the time to speak to me as if I was a person, not just a servant. I have never met anyone like you. You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever known. You thought you’d found a Jacobite spy, and so you decided to spy on them. I don’t understand you at all. If you’d been a serving maid, I still wouldn’t have been able to stay away from you.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave - I really liked a lot of lines of dialogue and I couldn’t settle on just one. The first I chose is from the beginning of the book and is a little lighthearted. For it to make sense you have to understand that Katy is posing as a boy. The second line of dialogue comes from later in the book and resonated with me on many levels.
“Kit! What are you doing?” Matthew asked. “Don’t be ridiculous - just take off your clothes. Does it look like anybody cares?”
“I don’t think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy.”
Marcy – Loved this playful interaction between Matt and Kate.
She couldn’t help shaking her head at him. “I thought you were cool,” she said accusingly, sadly. “You misled me. All this time. With the retro haircut and the mismatched clothes, I thought you were being ironically hipster, but really you are just an old man! I can’t date someone who listens to this. It will utterly ruin my street cred!”
To read more about Lauren James and her debut novel The Next Together, please go to: