Super excited today! Jess at Reading Nook Reviews and I got to virtually sit down with the one and only Samantha Shannon, the 21year old author of the newest “it” book out there: The Bone Season, book 1 in a 7 book series that was recently released from Bloomsbury. We are beyond excited to share this interview with you!
Thanks so much for chatting with us Shannon!
UPDATE: Shannon just heard some great news. As of 8-28-13, she is now a New York Times best selling author! THE BONE SEASON debuted at #7. Congrats, Shannon!
Samantha Shannon was born and raised in West London. She recently finished her degree in English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she specialised in Emily Dickinson and Principles of Film Criticism.
In 2012 she signed a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing to publish the first three books in a seven-book series, beginning with ‘The Bone Season’. Film rights to the novel were optioned by Andy Serkis’s London-based production company, The Imaginarium Studios, in November 2012.
I don’t want to give too much away, but . . . expect things to escalate. A lot.
2. Knowing that you do have to write seven books in the series, do you already have an idea of how the series will come to an end? Do you have a plan laid out for each book already? (I’m really curious how this works!)
I use what I call the ‘flesh-and-bones’ structure: I know the key points in every book and what I want to achieve in each one, but I let the characters write themselves to some extent – they flesh out the story. I think it takes the fun out of writing if you have every tiny detail planned. I know how the last book will end, yes.
3. What’s one trait that you share with Paige? And what’s one of Paige’s traits that you hope readers will especially identify with?
We both really love coffee. And we’re both quite tall. And we both have an Irish surname, although Paige is actually Irish while I’m not. Other than that, Paige is nothing like me — I live vicariously through her. I hope readers will identify with Paige’s strong sense of right and wrong, but also with her vulnerability. She comes across as self-assured and even a bit cocky, but under all the bravado is someone who isn’t quite sure of her place in the world.
4. A significant number of history’s greatest writers have come from Britain. From your own perspective and experiences as a writer, what do you think it is about Britain that inspires such great writing?
I think it’s probably its history. Britain has been around for a while, so there are lots of periods to choose from when writing literature about it: the chivalry and swordplay of the Middle Ages, Shakespeare’s world of swords and pens, all the powder and wigs and weirdness of the 18th century and the new discoveries and steam power of the Victorian era — and then there are the cities, which seem to hold a lot of that history in their walls. Walking around cities in Britain is incredibly inspiring, particularly places like Oxford and York, which boast some really beautiful old architecture. You can really imagine what it might have been like to walk around York in medieval times, for instance. I feel very lucky to have lived in London all my life — it’s been shaped by so many different people. It was a place in London, Seven Dials, that set off the first spark of The Bone Season.
5. If you could travel the world, or any literary world, where would you want to go?
Real world: Asia. Anywhere in Asia. I’ve been invited to India next year, which I’m incredibly excited about. In terms of literary worlds, I’d love to hang out in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a few days so I could make tonnes of wishes, or the alternative Oxford of His Dark Materials, which I’ve just started reading. I love the idea of dæmons.
6. Name a fun fact about yourself that not many people know!
I have a pet tortoise called Lily-Beth, who is in fact a male tortoise, but we didn’t know that when we bought him. The name just stuck.
7. Have any other hobbies besides reading and writing?
Not many! I’m fairly book-orientated. I do love seeing films, though — one of my special subjects at university was Principles of Film Criticism. I got the chance to see lots of Classical Hollywood films and properly analyse them, which was great fun. Silent films are wonderful.
8. If you had the opportunity to wine and dine with one of your characters, whom would you choose?
Warden, absolutely. I’d love to pick his brain about life, the universe and everything. Although Jaxon would be a hilarious dinner companion after a few glasses of wine.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Released: August 20, 2013
Series: The Bone Season #1
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.