Welcome Samantha, The Bone Season is a series which is based hugely on the idea of clairvoyance and it being illegal. What initially attracted you to write about clairvoyance?
In 2011 I was an intern at a literary agency in Seven Dials, a district in Covent Garden. While I was strolling through its streets on my lunch breaks, I would pass various shops selling crystal balls and tarot cards and offering psychic readings. Being a person with an overactive imagination, seeing these shops led me to ask myself what it would be like if clairvoyants were persecuted in a kind of modern-day witch hunt. Throughout history, human beings have been both fascinated and repulsed by the occult, and I thought that would make a great foundation for a dystopian novel. Then the idea just kept growing and I knew it would have to be a series.
Have you ever gone to see a clairvoyant yourself?
No, never, I’m way too superstitious . . . I was at a party once and someone offered to do a tarot reading for me, and you couldn’t see me for dust, I bolted so quickly to the other side of the room. I’m too worried I’d see something that would play on my mind. My research for these books has been primarily rooted in historical ideas about clairvoyance, not modern.
If you could be any type of clairvoyant, what type would you be and why?
A little of both. I believe you can only plan a book so much before you start – at some point, you need to throw a character in and allow them to be the engine of the plot, and to show you where to go. I most enjoy the final stages of editing, where you have all the material and the structure is fixed and you’re just tweaking the manuscript to make it perfect.
Yes and yes, although my initial plan for the series has gone through some changes over the years. I started writing these books when I was 19 and I’m now 26, so I’ve had time to think on and reconsider some of my early decisions. I know all the key events that need to happen in each book, and I know how each one ends, but I allow myself some room to manoeuvre. Sometimes I want a character to do something and they just refuse to do it.
I’d love to try my hand at sci-fi at some point, but I’m very happy sticking to fantasy for the time being.
The Bone Season has been translated into several languages, do you have a favourite international edition?
It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to interview Samantha here on my little blog – interviewing an author is something I never dreamed of being able to do but I am hugely grateful for it. Keep your eyes out for tomorrow’s post where I will be linking you all up to other interviews by the #NorthernBookBloggers!