Yay! Today the wonderful Laura Lam is back on the blog, touring for Shadowplay, the sequel to her fantastic debut Pantomime. The book is out in early January and will make the perfect winter read. Hope you all enjoy my interview with Laura!
Interview with Laura Lam
On Sequels and the secrets of Magic
Was it easier or more difficult than Pantomime to write Shadowplay? Did you have Shadowplay planned before you wrote Pantomime?
It was different. I think, in a way, it was easier, because I had so much created already – I knew what Micah and Drystan were like. I knew a lot about the world and the history, so I wasn’t coming into it cold. At the same time, I had to work hard to maintain consistency and make sure it was still exciting and the stakes were raised.
I knew I wanted to do a sequel, but it was pretty loose. I think my initial outline was “They become magicians!” and that was about it.
Pantomime was very much a coming of age story for Micah. What can we expect from him in Shadowplay?
In Pantomime, Micah was finding himself. In the sequel, he’s finding his voice. He knows who he is much more than he did before. He’s been tried and tested. He’s still caught up in many things he doesn’t understand, but now, as he unravels more secrets of Ellada, he’s learning what he believes in, and what he’s willing to stand and fight for.
I love how the book takes place in a theatre for magic. What sort of research did you do for the book? Can you reveal some magician secrets?
I based the Kymri Theatre, which is the theatre where Micah lives in Shadowplay, on the Egyptian Hall, which was the headquarters of the Circle of Magic in London for a time. I loved the idea of it looking a little different to the architecture that Micah would have been used to. Made it more mysterious.
I did a lot of research on magicians, and it was such fun! The best books for research were Hiding the Elephant by magician consultant Jim Steinmeyer (see this great review of it: http://www.nthposition.com/hidingtheelephant.php) and The Taschen Book of Magic: 1400s-1950s, a MASSIVE tome full of amazing colour plates of magic through the ages. Both of those sparked a lot of ideas for Shadowplay.
Hiding the Elephant in particular has diagrams explaining a lot of illusions, such as Robert-Houdin’s Orange Blossom Tree, which you might recognise from the film, the Illusionist:
Who was your favourite new character you introduced in Shadowplay?
CYAN. I love Cyan. She’s the new magician’s assistant and she completely took me by surprise. Her voice was so strong right from the beginning.
For anyone that hasn’t read Pantomime, how would you convince them to read the book in one sentence?
Intersex teenager runs away from life as a noblewoman’s daughter to become a male trapeze artist and actor in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of magic, but as he finds himself (and romance), the past refuses to stay in the past.
Thanks for having me back again!
Thank you for being back on the blog Laura! Can’t wait to get stuck into Shadowplay!
Release: 2 January 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.
He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus–the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he’s perfecting…
A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.
About Laura Lam:
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.
Pantomime was released February 2013 through Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. The sequel, Shadowplay, will follow in January 2014.