You asked...and she answered! A special thanks to Samantha Shannon for answering all of YOUR questions about The Bone Season, The Mime Order, advice on writing, and more. From some sneak peeks of her upcoming book to tips about the publishing industry, there are a lot of fun new facts. Enjoy!
"Tell the story you want to tell, not the one you think you should be telling." -Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season Universe
How do you go about choosing/creating names for your characters? Names like Pleione or Arcturus? (From @DuggaHorseUp & Ellensheda)
The Rephaim’s names all come from the naemes of stars. Some, but not all, have meanings that are significant to the story. Sargas, for example, means “seizer” or “smiter”, which is appropriate for that family of Rephaim.
What kind of illegal stuff do the mime lords and ladies do, exactly? Is it all voyant stuff, or do they do things like drug smuggling and stealing like a normal mafia?
The London syndicate was founded on Mime-crime, which always involves spirits. Auctioning spirits, using them to create art or literature, selling their knowledge to people on the streets – all that forms the bedrock of the network. However, plenty of syndicate members practice ‘normal’ crime, like pickpocketing and smuggling. They do whatever they can to make money. You’ll find out more about it in The Mime Order, which is tightly focused on syndicate activities and traditions.
It's insinuated in The Bone Season that voyants can't have physical relationships with non voyants - like the story Paige told about the guy in the club. But then it's also suggested that the Rephaim and voyants would have amazing chemistry. Is that something specific only to the dream walkers like Paige? Or is that true of all voyants? And why did you make that distinction?
I’m afraid I can’t say much about that without spoiling later books, but I will clarify that it is not impossible for a voyant to have a physical relationship with an amaurotic. You’ll learn more about it later in the series.
Book SeriesThe Bone Season? Was it gradually or all at once?
I got the core idea for the series from walking around the real-life Seven Dials in the summer of 2011. There are shops there that sell crystal balls and tarot cards and offer psychic readings, and I started wondering what it would be like if there were a society of clairvoyants living in London. I rolled that together with a previous idea I’d had about supernatural creatures being in charge of Oxford, and The Bone Season emerged from those two ideas colliding. Once I had the foundation, I started building up layers of the world like an onion, working from London and Oxford to Europe and beyond. I tried to think logically about how the world might respond to clairvoyance as a real phenomenon.
What are the parts/stories/characters you’re most excited for fans to discover with The Mime Order?
I’m very excited for you to see more of Scion London, as the story didn’t often take Paige there in The Bone Season. It was a lot of fun to reinvent my home city as a quasi-Victorian dystopia, weaving in snippets of its rich history. There are lots of new characters to meet, including members of the Unnatural Assembly, and you’ll also get to spend more time with the Seven Seals and some of the Bone Season survivors.
Will we be learning more about other parts of the world later on in The Bone Season? Those that aren’t under the control of Scion? In The Bone Season, the United States is briefly mentioned, but it doesn’t go too in depth with what’s going on over there. (From Wynn22)
Absolutely. The Mime Order is set in London, but from Book 3 onwards you’ll be seeing more of the world, including other Scion citadels in Britain, at least one other country within Scion’s empire, and the “free world”.
Do you have any title ideas for Bone Season #3 and onwards? If so, are you at liberty to share them with us? (From Bloody18)
I have working titles for all my books, but they may well change, so I won’t tell you yet.
How long did it take you to write each book? Where do you normally write- at home or in a café somewhere?
Typically I write at home, although I will sometimes venture to central London and sit in a café. It takes me about six months to write a first draft, then a few months more to edit.
The Bone Season Movie
And I’m also interested in the movie... When approximately could it come out, do you already have any casting ideas, etc.? (From Ellensheda)
Film rights to the entire Bone Season series are held by The Imaginarium Studios, Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox. We have a double Oscar-nominated screenwriter on board and four producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish. When I did an event with Andy and Jonathan earlier this year, they estimated that it would take about three years to get the film to the big screen. I have consultation rights, which means that I’m allowed to be involved in the production.
What are some tips and directions you could give to a young writer hoping for success in a career of being an author? What do you feel is vital to do and how can I get there?
Don’t give up at the first sign of defeat. Publishing is a competitive industry, and you might find that you have to try out several different forms or voices – maybe even several different books – before you find one that really works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Think outside the box. Mix up genres. Break the rules. Tell the story you want to tell, not the one you think you should be telling. And finally, don’t take too much advice. You’re never going to write a novel that everyone loves, so follow your gut instinct first.
The Mime OrderThe Mime Order will be released in TWO months! We can hardly wait. Don't forget to pick up your copy on January 27, 2015.