Welcome! Today I have author Laura Lam on the book to answer my questions about her fantastic book, Pantomime. You can see my review of the book here and find out more about it on its goodreads page here or you can read on…
Pantomime is a tale of magic, mayhem and identity, where did the inspiration for your story come from?
It came slowly and partly by accident. I started writing a book with an adult Micah Grey, but I was 18. It was hard for me to tap into his voice. Going back to a teenage Micah was really easy and I tapped into his voice right away, and combined with the circus and Micah figuring out who he was and who he wanted to be was the story I wanted to tell. Though Micah’s story might not end when he’s a teenager and I might return to the original book one day.
Social standing and hierarchy makes a huge impact on your story, your two characters, Micah and Gene, belong to complete opposite ends of the spectrum, did you always want to show both sides of the story in the duel narrative kind of way, or is that something that came about whilst writing the book?
I’ve always been interested in people who go from one extreme to the other in society. Rags to riches or riches to rags—both have long fascinated me both in fiction and in history. I think that having Gene and Micah have such different lives provides a contrast to give a fuller picture of the world.
Originally the book was written chronologically, however, so there wasn’t that juxtaposition that there is now.
The book is set in a fictional area called Ellada, was this area inspired from anywhere real?
It’s based loosely on Victorian England, but it has its own religion, society, and culture that differs from the original inspiration. But the social etiquette and mores are quite similar. I also researched industrialization and colonialization, which influenced Ellada’s relationship with the former colonies of the other islands of their Archipelago.
Ellada also is another name for Greece, and though that was an accident, I think it works, as Greece was an empire that, like all empires, expanded too far and then had to contract.
The tittle reflects the story brilliantly, not just due to its circus element, but also due to the characters and what they go through. Was the book always called Pantomime or did it have other working titles?
The book was just called “Gene” until a week before I submitted it to Angry Robot’s Open Door. I did go through quite a few potential titles, and some of them were laughably bad—too bad to share, even! Once I settled on Pantomime, though, I knew it was the right one.
Pantomime is very unique in its style and story, however if you were to suggest a few ‘if you liked *insert book name here* you will love Pantomime” What would you suggest?
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Oh man. This is hard. Let’s say if you’ve read and enjoyed the Alanna books by Tamora Pierce, the Tamir Triad by Lynn Flewelling, then you might like mine. For the circus element, if you liked Water for Elephants, this might capture your fancy. A few people have also compared me to Robin Hobb in tone, but as she’s basically my literary idol I am not objective enough to say, as I don’t think I hold candle, or even a matchstick, to her.
Have you any plans for a sequel to Pantomime and are you working on anything at the minute? if so can you tell us about it?
The first draft of the sequel to Pantomime is finished and at the time of this interview is with my agent. It features magicians of the illusionist variety, stolen kisses, doctors, clockwork body parts, and phantom dreams.
Doesn’t that sequel sound so amazing! I can’t wait to find out more and I will definitely be checking out some of the books mentioned by Laura! Thank you Laura for taking your time to answer my questions and readers, please don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour too!