Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Interview with Laura Lam & UK Giveaway **Signed Copy of Pantomime**

Yesterday I posted my review of the wonderful Pantomime by Laura Lam, which as you can see from the review, I absolutely adored! So today, I'm very excited to announce that Laura is here with us at Pen to Paper, answer questions about herself, her writing, and Pantomime itself. I'm even more excited to say that we also have a UK giveaway of a signed numbered edition paperback of Pantomime, courtesy of the lovely Laura, too!
So without further ado, I'd like to welcome Laura to Pen to Paper!

First of all, Laura, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an ex-pat Californian living in Scotland who likes to write, read, and travel when I can. I love nothing more than curling up in bed and reading a good book with cats cuddling me while I listen to rain lash the windows.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? And if not, what else did you want to be when you grew up?
Ever since I realised it was a job, yes, I have. At age 15 I definitely knew I wanted to be a professional writer though I wasn't sure when it would come to pass.

Are there any authors who particularly inspire you in your own writing?
My favourite author is Robin Hobb. I love how epic her world is yet how detailed her character arcs are. I also really admire Gene Wolfe, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Laini Taylor, and many more. I love stumbling across new writers that teach me something new about the craft or spark a different way to try things.

What books did you enjoy reading when you were a child?
Robin Hobb again. Some of my first novels I started reading really voraciously in SFF were by Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, Anne Rice, Anne McCaffrey and Brian Jacques. From there I branched into all manner of fantasy and science fiction, but they were my gateway authors.

When you're working on a book, do you have a particular, or special place that you like to go? And do you keep any kind of writing schedule, or daily targets etc?
I used to have a favourite local cafĂ© I went to every Saturday, but they’ve shut down, which is devastating. I write wherever I can—at home and at various cafes around the city. I am pretty busy as I have both a day job and am studying part-time at university, so I don’t keep to a schedule. I write whenever I can, wherever I can. When I’m drafting, if I hit 1000 words a day I’m very pleased. When I’m editing, a chapter a day is good going.

Pantomime was a really enjoyable, and seriously unique read. Where did the idea for the story originate from?
It gestated over a few years. I had the initial idea for Micah Grey in 2007, but I was too afraid to start because his circumstances are very different to mine. I researched the subject and then started writing a book with Micah as an adult. I was 19-20 and kept getting stuck on his 27-year-old voice. I figured maybe I didn’t know him well enough yet, so at the end of 2009, when I was 21, I started what I thought would be a short story about Micah’s teenage years. What I wrote is now the start of chapter 5 of Pantomime.

The circus environment that most of the book was set in was really rich and exciting, and definitely unique for this kind of novel. What made you want to write a book set in a circus?
When I was writing about older Micah, I knew he’d have joined the circus because it would give him strength and flexibility which would be good for his later career (which I won’t say). I’ve also always loved the circus but not come across it much in fantasy (this was before the Night Circus). I liked the idea of exploring this separate microcosm that sees itself as separate from society. The parallels of walking on a tightrope and being with a bunch of outsiders also fit well with the themes of Pantomime. Pantomime is set in a circus but also touches upon: Victorian social mores, gender & sexuality, a decaying empire, the line between magic and technology, and many other pet interests.

I loved so many of the characters in the book, but particularly Micah and Gene, the protagonists. Their characters are pretty complicated ... had you planned what was going to happen to them at the end of the book, before you started writing, or was it something you discovered as you went along?
Well, I know what Micah’s up to, somewhat, 11 years on from Pantomime, but Drystan, Aenea, and all the other characters were new. Pantomime came about as I wrote it, with only a vague outline. I now have a much clearer idea of various character’s futures.

The romances in the book were also pretty complicated - did you know who Micah would end up with in the end?
Sort of. It was more I had my suspicions, which were then confirmed. I hesitated putting in a love triangle because it’s so very dreaded in YA sometimes, but it really did make sense for the story and for Micah’s identity.

Obviously the story isn't yet finished ... what can we expect in the next book? Are any more secrets going to be revealed about Gene and Micah?
Many secrets are revealed, though not quite all of them. All I’ll say about the next book is that it focuses on magic of the illusionist variety, and there are shadows, clockwork hands, dreams and nightmares, grand stage magic, and a chance for redemption.

Who is your favourite character in the book, and why? And which character do you dislike the most (in terms of their personality)?
Micah’s probably my favourite, since I know him the best. He reacts to things like I would, except he’s braver. I don’t actually dislike any of my characters. Though the ringmaster does despicable things, I pity him rather than dislike him.

Aside from Pantomime (and the books coming after it... I hope there are going to be more!), do you have any other ideas for more stories that we may get to read in the future?
I’m hoping there will be at least 3 Pantomime books, but that depends on sales, as I only have a contract for the first two. I also hope to get back to older Micah at some point. In the meantime I am working on more YA projects that feature protagonists that are a little different to most. I’ve also been playing around with some short stories set in the world of Ellada, with each one centered around a Vestige artefact.

And finally, could you tell us a little quirky or interesting fact about yourself? :)
I have double-jointed elbows, which can freak people out.

Now for the giveaway! I have a few little rules to lay down before we get to the good stuff, so please just give these a quick read :)
  • You must follow Pen to Paper via Google Friend Connect (GFC). This giveaway is for my wonderful followers, so why not become one of them?
  • The giveaway is UK only, as per the author's request.
  • There is only one mandatory entry for following this blog, but there are additional entries that are optional. If you decide to enter these as well, you must complete each task in full for your entry to count. 
  • I will email the winner when the giveaway is closed, and they will have 48 hours to respond to my email with the correct information in order to claim their prize. If I hear nothing from them after this time period, I will have to draw another winner, and they will forfeit their prize.
  • The winner's details will be passed onto Laura, so she can get a book signed and posted off to them. Then all the details will be deleted. 
  • Please do not leave your email address anywhere on Pen to Paper. I use Rafflecopter to keep your details safe, so please take advantage of this.
  • The giveaway will end on April 1st 2013.
Now all that's left to do is make sure you're a follower and get yourself entered! Good luck to everyone who enters!


beccabooklover said...

Great interview! I LOOOOVED Pantomime and love hearing what is in store for the next book (I need it NOW!). Loved the circus, characters, story everything. Was a really unique and surprising story! :)

P.S double-jointed elbows sounds like something to freak out over! I'm a bit of a squeamish person!

Becca xxx

caroline.taylor078 said...

Great interview and I can't believe how young Laura is, why couldn't I have been that talented when I was her age, I really love the sound of Pantomime so I am keeping my fingers crossed for the giveaway.

Victoria Hooper said...

It's funny, circuses weren't around in fantasy that much and then suddenley there seemed to be a lot of them all at once! Lots of authors must have been thinking that at the same time.

Pantomime sounds so good, and Laura seems like such a lovely, genuine person too. :-)

Thank you for the chance to win this!

Kelly Powell said...

I love the cover. Can't wait to read!!!

Goth Angel said...

I feel very ashamed to admit this, but the thing which stuck out most for me from this interview was the 'ex-pat Californian living in Scotland' bit! I can't quite get my head around it, even though I'm a Bulgarian ex-pat living in the UK. I mean, swapping Californian sunshine for the, um, unpredictable Scottish weather is even more drastic than swapping tons of snow in winter and scorching-hot summers for the UK's lukewarm (if we're lucky!) climate ;)

Weather aside, it was a really interesting interview, and I was glad to read about Ms. Lam's writing process. As someone who doesn't get a lot of words in a day (due to work, etc.), it was comforting to know I'm not the only one who's extremely happy with 1000 words a day ^_^

Lisa Harwood said...

I love author interviews, its great to see what makes them tick and how they think up their stories.

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