Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Author Interview with Laura Lam

Some of you may have seen my review of Pantomime by Laura Lam, which I posted a couple of days ago. If you missed it, click here to read it. Pantomime was an incredible read, and I'm really happy to have Laura Lam here on the blog today, as part of Books that Glow: YA & MG 2013!

Interview with Laura Lam

Q - Tell us -  What is your book Pantomime about?

A - Pantomime is a YA fantasy that’s primarily set in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, the greatest circus in Ellada, or so it claims to be. The novel follows two stories set three months or so apart—one is Micah Grey, the new aerialist’s apprentice in the circus, and the other is Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family. Their stories are linked, and you find out what they have in common fairly early on. 
Ellada is a pseudo-Victorian society set in an alternate world, with possibly magic Vestige, which is advanced technology left behind by an ancient civilisation called the Alder. Gene and Micah learn about their past and how they might be linked to the secrets of Ellada.

Q - How did you come up for the idea for your novel?

A - I came up with the character of Micah Grey first, and then the world grew around him. I started a book with him as an adult but kept sticking on it. As a break, I decided I would write a short story about him joining the circus, and that took on a complete life of its own. I put in a lot of pet interests into Pantomime: circuses, gender and sexuality studies, a dying empire, technology that could be magic or vice versa, etc. It was a lot of fun to write.

Q - It was a lot of fun to read, too! Do you have any circus-themed books or movies that you'd recommend?

A - Books: Water for Elephants by Sara Guen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and I've heard very good things abut Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith.
Non-fiction books: The Circus and Victorian Society by Brenda Assael & The Giant Circus Book by Taschen.
Film/TV: the adaptation of Water for Elephants, the TV series Carnivale, and Wings of Desire has an angel falling in love with an aerialist.

Q - As Pantomime is your debut, what was the road to publishing like?

A - A bit of luck and being the right book at the right time. I subbed an early draft to Angry Robot's Open Door month in March 2011 as adult science fiction (don't ask me why--I thought it made sense at the time). My little manuscript rose to editorial, but it needed more work. When my initial reader was promoted to the editor of their new YA imprint, she gave me a revise & resubmit because she liked the writing and the core concept. I edited my heart out for three months, gutting, rearranging, rewriting, and adding new sections, and returned the MS to her and started querying agents again. Within 3 weeks I had a book deal and an agent. So I wasn't the usual path to publication and I feel very lucky and blessed.

This or That

Summer or Winter? 

Halos or Horns? 

The beach or the mountains? 

Print copies or eBooks? 

Skittles or M&Ms? 
M&Ms. Unless they're sour Skittles.

Is it weird that I totally agree with all of these? o.O

Q - What does the playlist for Pantomime look like? 

A - Like the music they play at Starbucks :-) Sometimes I'll listen to instrumental music like Vitamin String Quartet, but music can distract me.

Q - Tell us one interesting fact about your novel. 

A - Some of the lines in the pantomime within the circus are in iambic pentameter.

Q - Whoa! I will return to that scene and check that out! How did you come up with the title for your novel? 

A - There's a pantomime within the circus, plus it ties in nicely to themes of people being not quite who they seem, or playing a part in a larger play.

Q - What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there? 

A - Read a lot, write a lot, research a lot, and don't give up hope. Reach out and build a great support group of critique partners, friends you can vent and exult with, and count on to tell you when you've written something not quite there yet.

Q - What can we expect from you next? 

A - I'm currently editing the sequel to Pantomime, which will be out in 2014. I've a few other projects I'm working on as well, including a Gothic YA fantasy with a twist.

I honestly can't wait for the sequel! And this new project sounds equally fascinating. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Laura :)

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.
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