Ask the Author: Samantha Shannon

I spoke to author Samantha Shannon ahead of the publication of her new novel, The Mime Order.

The Mime OrderBorn in Hammersmith in 1991, Shannon has lived in the city’s western suburbs ever since. In 2010, she began studying English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College in Oxford, and published her first novel, The Bone Season, in 2013. The Bone Season marked the beginning of a seven-book series, published by Bloomsbury.

WELCOME TO SCION. NO SAFER PLACE.

The year is 2059. Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant – and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing.

Elsewhere, however, there is a seat of power even greater than Scion. And they have a different design for Paige and her uncommon abilities…

A fan of old music, gramophones, good coffee and real books, Shannon has four siblings, four parents, and a male tortoise named Lily-Beth. Her second novel, The Mime Order, will be published on the 27th January this year.

Shannon and I are the same age. This both frightens and inspires me. I wanted to know how a young woman has managed to embark upon such a successful career as an author.

I wanted to be a writer since I was about twelve or thirteen. I’d always been a voracious reader, and I’d written little stories before that, but it wasn’t until then that I became fully aware of the idea that people actually created stories for a living. As a child, I’d been so interested in books that I’d never really paid attention to the names on the cover. I knew, then, that there was nothing else in the world I’d rather do.

She takes a lot of her inspiration from cities.

I am endlessly fascinated by cities, which is one of the reasons I love travelling so much. Each person, each building, each street, and each district has its own story to tell, and its own song to sing. The core ideas of The Bone Season and The Mime Order came from living in London and Oxford.

Her advice to aspiring writers is to listen to your gut instinct.

Be open to critique, but don’t feel like you have take too much advice. Remember, it’s your story, and nobody can tell it quite like you can. Listen to your gut instinct.

Before she was published, Shannon was concerned about not having a say when it came to how her book looked. But her fears were unfounded.

It would have been comforting to know that I’d be able to stay in control of how my work was presented. My publisher, Bloomsbury, always asks for my opinion on things like cover design and illustrations.

Shannon is currently working on the third book in the Bone Season series, which she’s hoping will be finished in time for publication in 2016. She will also be on tour in the US and the UK.

This year I’ll be on tour in the US from the 9th to the 15th of February. I’ll be appearing in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Missouri, Utah, and California. I’m also doing various events around the UK from January onwards.

For more information on her tour, check her website.

As she has to focus on her own writing for a while, Shannon is not currently reading anything.

But I just finished The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundo Onuzo and The Keyby Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg. Both fantastic books.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon is published by Bloomsbury on 27th January 2015, £12.99 hardback and £10.99 eBook. It will be available on Lovereading.co.uk, the UK’s No 1 book recommendation site.

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