Please welcome Laura Lam to the blog! Laura’s first novel, Pantomime, just came out from Strange Chemistry, and she was kind enough to join me for a chat about the book, what inspired it, and more!
Your new book, Pantomime, came out this month! Will you tell us a bit about it and what inspired you to write the novel?
Pantomime is a young adult fantasy about Iphigenia Laurus, the daughter of a noble family who is uncomfortable in a life of corsets and cotillions, and Micah Grey, a runaway and the newest member of R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. Both Gene and Micah’s stories intertwine early on as they run from their past but discover the past will not let them go so easily.
Various factors percolated in my head until they came out onto the page: the circus, gender and sexuality studies, a decaying empire, hidden identities, and other pet interests. Luckily, they all came together pretty well!
Have you always wanted to write? Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Yes, writing has always been the dream. I started writing as a teen but didn’t get very far, and so I put it aside to read widely. At university, I studied creative writing, and that was where the idea for Micah Grey and Ellada gestated. I began writing a book with an adult Micah Grey in 2008, and then in late 2009 started what would eventually become Pantomime.
I don’t write full-time, so right now I live in Scotland and by day I work in document control and by night I write YA.
What do you love most about writing fantasy?
I love that I created my own world and that there is so much I can still explore. I love that you really do have control over these characters’ lives and destinies. I can make up mythology and international relations and bring characters to life. It’s such fun.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Tough question. Probably the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb. I love those books to pieces.
What book(s) are you reading now?
The City’s Son by Tom Pollock. Urban fantasy set in London! Snappily written and fiercely creative.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
The usual—reading, watching TV and films, seeing friends, travelling when we can afford to get away. Very occasionally I will draw as well, but usually writing takes up most my creative energy.
What’s next for you this year? Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!) that you’d like to share with us?
I’m working away on the sequel to Pantomime at the moment. I’m also working on another young adult fantasy, which is a gothic ghost tale with a twist, as well as a few other projects.
Events-wise, I have a launch in London on February 7th at Forbidden Planet’s Megastore at 6 pm, and another launch in Aberdeen at the Waterstones in the Trinity Centre February 15th at 6.30 pm. The only conference I’m definitely attending at the moment is WFC in Brighton October 31-November 2. I might also appear at Eastercon, or any YA conventions in the UK.
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.