Q&A: The Bone Season Author Samantha Shannon + Giveaway

Today, I'm very excited to have an interview with debut author Samantha Shannon, whose book The Bone Season is out now. It's the first in a seven-book series to Bloomsbury. The foreign book rights have been sold in 21 countries and the Imaginarium Studios have secured the film rights.

2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, she commits treason simply by breathing.

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.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm 21 years old and live in suburban London, England. I just graduated from Oxford University with a 2:1 in English Language and Literature.


A typical day in your life would be…?

Depends on the day! If I have a clear schedule, I'll get up, have coffee, write, write, have lunch, write, go on Twitter, have dinner and go to bed. Recently, though, I've been doing a lot of promotion for the publication of The Bone Season, so I'm more likely to be going to London to see someone from my publishing house.


What inspired The Bone Season?

I was working in Seven Dials, a small district in London, and had a strange daydream about a girl having exactly the same day at work that I was, but she happened to be clairvoyant. There are a few shops in the area that sell crystal balls and tarot cards, which is what introduced me to the idea of clairvoyants in that district.


Can you tell us about the world of The Bone Season?

It's a world in which clairvoyant people – also called 'unnaturals' – have been persecuted by nearly two centuries by an oligarchy called Scion. Some clairvoyants have banded together and formed a crime syndicate in London. And in a secret, disavowed city, a race of supernatural creatures called the Rephaim are pulling the government's strings.


Is there a particular reason you chose to set the story in Oxford, England?

Oxford is a place of contradictions. The university is a forerunner in scientific research, yet it's steeped in archaism, tradition, and vestiges of elitism. It was the perfect setting for The Bone Season. Its small size meant it was also very easy to remodel for the purpose of the story – it's more of a town than a city.



The Bone Season is set in the year 2059. What made you choose to set it in the future?

A key event in the book's timeline happens in 1859. I needed the book to be set two hundred years on from that, so it had to be 2059.


How do you think The Bone Season differs from other dystopian novels?

It's spliced with fantasy. In my experience, most dystopian novels tend to veer towards science fiction and cyberpunk. The Bone Season combines a futuristic setting with the paranormal.


You are being hailed as the "next J.K. Rowling". How does that feel? Are you a fan of her books?

The original comparison to J.K. Rowling was just because of our similar book deals: seven fantasy books with Bloomsbury. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and I really admire J.K. Rowling as a person. The comparison is quite uncomfortable, as suggesting there's a "next J.K. Rowling" implies that the original is obsolete. We don't need a next J.K. Rowling – there's nothing wrong with the first one.


Congratulations on the film right being sold to The Imaginarium Studios. How do you feel about your book being made into a movie? Does this influence your way of writing in any way?

Thank you! I'm very excited to have sold the rights to such an innovative new production company. Film is a slow process, though, so I don't expect there to be any news on it for a while. It didn't influence my writing, exactly, but Imaginarium did give me some helpful editorial notes.



The cover for The Bone Season is so eye-catching. What does the image represent?

The cover is based on one of the sundial faces on the pillar at Seven Dials, London, which is where some of the novel is set. The other symbols, the amaranth and the anchor, are also key to the story.


What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the publishing process for your debut novel?

My favourite part was the editing process; I really enjoyed working with my editor to make the novel the absolute best it could be. My least favourite part was probably waiting for the cover to be designed. That stage was incredibly nerve-racking. Fortunately, the designer came up with a very elegant and beautiful cover.


What books are on your reading pile right now?

I'm currently reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. At the same time. Somehow.


What are your favourite novels?

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is my favourite. I also loved The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.


What do you like most about being a writer?

Getting to tell stories and build worlds for a living. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and I never, ever take it for granted.



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48 comments:

  1. The Bone Season is one of those books that sound completely fascinating to me, I love the sound of the synopsis and the cover adds something mysterious to it.

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  2. I am so very intrigued by this book, it's high up there on my TBR list!

    And I've loved reading the interview and seeing those photos of the Seven Dials area, great to help picturing things in the book I'm sure!

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  3. I'm dying to read this book, it sounds amazing !!!

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  4. As soon as I saw this boom I knew I had to have it! I started to follow Shannon on Goodreads and I'm dying to read this first book in the series. It sounds amazing :)

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  5. It must be very exciting to have so much interest about your book at the age of 21. I'd just like to wish Shannon all the best for a long and rewarding career.

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  6. I am so excited about " the bone season" as i am an avid reader of fantasy fiction. The origonal plot is so interesting, hence i do hope to have the chance to read this very soon!

    Thank you so much for holding this giveaway x

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  7. I think I'm old, at 21 I was still in college :) That is a great accomplishment for someone so young! The book sounds really interesting!

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  8. I really enjoyed the interview. What an exciting time for you

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  9. This book sounds fantastic. I can't believe the author is only 21. Good for her! I will definitely pick up this book.

    Also, I am your newest follower. I found this blog via blogaholic and I'm glad I did. I love to read and I'm always looking for book suggestions.

    Nothy
    www.aquestionfortheteacher.blogspot.ca

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  10. Wow, this was great! The book sounds amazing, and I am equal parts excited and jealous of Samantha. But it goes to show that getting an amazing book deal can be done! Thanks for posting this, and for the opportunity to enter the giveaway!

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  11. This book sounds like an amazing read! Hope I get to read it soon!

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  12. Awesome! This sounds like a great book, and the author sounds down to earth. I particularly like her comment about JK Rowling. She really is amazing :)

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  13. This book looks awesome! I can't wait to read it.

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  14. This book looks really good c:

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  15. Wow, I really want to read this book!!

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  16. The Bone Season sounds like a very interesting book, I can't wait to read it:)

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  17. I've actually never read a dystopian mixed with paranormal, so this will definitely be a first for me. I'm really excited for The Bone Season. Awesome interview and thanks for the giveaway. :)

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  18. Wow, The Bone Season sounds really interesting. Love the trailer! Thank you for the giveaway! :)

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  19. This book sounds so fascinating! I've never read a story similar to this one. Can't wait to read it! :)

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  20. Sounds interesting! I'm reading Graceling myself right now and it sounds like I'll enjoy Bone Season as well!

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  21. Great interview, and thank you for the giveaway!

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  22. My first comment didn't show :/ But I'm definitely interested in this book and I loved her reply to the question on the J.k Rowling comparison.

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  23. The book looks extremely interesting!! Definitely on my to read list~ :3 The trailer's awesome btw~

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  24. This book sounds really interesting:) Want to check it out.

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  25. Sounds a amazing book, to my i need read book shelf

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  26. I've been really looking forward to reading this! I hope i can get my hands on a copy soon!

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  27. Love the sound of the book, thanks for the giveaway.

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  28. Dystopia + clairvoyant? Sounds like the perfect book!
    Thanks for sharing the interview! Loved her response to the J.K. Rowling question. :)

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  29. Loved the interview! I did one as well on my blog for the blogfest with a litte flash/fan fic too
    LadyJai
    Http://writebackwards.we3dements.com

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  30. I got approved for The Bone Season on NetGalley and loved it! Can't wait to read more!

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  31. This book sounds so amazing and I really can't wait to put my hands on it! :)

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  32. I love the interview. It is amazing that she is only 21.

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  33. Great interview! The bone season sounds so unique and intriguing so I cant wait to read it :)

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  34. Sounds AMAZING! I've seen it everywhere :) New follower, thanks for stopping by my FF :)

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  35. It's crazy to think that there are authors out there that are younger than me with so many people wanting to read their books. This book's title caught my eye. I want to read it!

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  36. Really can't wait to read this one. The fact that we share similar tastes in books is really awesome. Big Brother is watching!

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  37. I love the aspect of clairvoyant girl and dreamwalking. I will definitely read this.

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  38. Have heard too much awesomeness about this! it's always interesting to read interviews where the authors have a say! :)

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  39. Dying to read this book, sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks for a chance to win it! :)

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  40. I would like to read this one like forever because i desperately want to find the next Harry Potter

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