The time San Diego was on fire

Posted May 14, 2014 by Stacee in Signings | 6 Comments

I picked up The Bone Season because it came very highly recommended to me by some of the people at Mysterious Galaxy. So when Samantha Shannon was announced, it was a sure thing.

Michelle was able to come out and play, so we met up early for a date. We got over to the store around 5:30, mostly to run amok and bother Rob. Although, I did see they had a display for the Story Crush tour and my name was attached.

Rob also gave me a stack of the tour books to read before the panel…it appears that I’ve got a bit of homework to do.

Samantha got to the store at 6:45 and chatted with everyone beforehand.


Samantha talked about how she had trouble getting down to the store because they stopped her train due to the fires. She started out talking about how she got the idea of book while she was at Oxford. It ended up being two separate ideas that she put together.

It took 6 months to write the first draft and her agent took it immediately to a book fair. It was picked up by Bloomsbury and optioned for film by Imaginarium, which is owned by Andy Serkis.


Do you know when the film will start?

I just went to 20th Century Fox when I was in LA. I think it’ll be soon, quite seriously by next year. I don’t think it’ll be on screen until 2017 or so because we have to build the world.

How do you know as an author how many books will be in the series?

I was an unknown author and I couldn’t go into the publisher and demand it. I did tell them that it was going to be epic with a worldwide setting.

Do you have all 7 plotted?

I have the skeletal outline. I know all the major events and the ending. I think if you outline too much, it’s not any fun. For me, outlining is like following a recipe. I like the discovery. Besides, if you’re expecting something to happen, maybe it won’t work out.

Why did you wipe out Oxford?

I love the idea that it was a secret city that was set in time. It looks like a city that’s been petrified from the Victorian era. It seemed like an interesting setting. There’s a lot of tradition and ceremony that I brought into it. There’s a scene where the characters earned different colors coats that is based on the flowers that Oxford students have to wear.  You wear a white flower when taking your first test, a red one for your last and pink for all of the others in between.  It’s supposed to be based on the amount of ink you use while in school, students say it’s actually how much blood a student sheds.


Have you heard from Oxford?

Yes. They seem okay with me. I graduated last year.

You talked about changing the ending of the second book? {Clearly, I missed this earlier part.}

I had an ending for sure, my publisher and I both loved it. But we felt that it was too early for that particular book, so I’ll use it in a different part of the series.

Will you be coming back to sign for all of your books?

I hope so. I’d love to.

Hopefully when we’re not on fire.

I usually say that I bring the rain with me.  I brought it with me to New York.

How was Craig Ferguson?

I loved it. Craig is a lot of fun. He really stayed on topic. They told me that he was looking through my tweets and could talk about anything. Like me getting lost in New York.

What is your writing day like?

It’s so boring. I get up at 7 and write for 8-12 hours a day. I don’t set targets because I feel like it strains the words. It is my full time job, so I try to treat it that way.


What authors influenced you?

Margaret Atwood. I was able to meet her in Scotland and I cried afterwards. I got The Handmaid’s Tale when I was 18 and it introduced me to dystopian. The Bronte sisters were a big one. And definitely Emily Dickinson, I studied her at university.

Do you read often?

Usually just Bloomsbury books because I just happen to get them. I could talk to you all day about Shakespeare, but I couldn’t tell you anything that’s won an award.  I love Throne of Glass.

The next book comes out when?

October 21. As long as nothing goes wrong.

Do you have a playlist?

Yes. Billie Holliday is my favorite singer. I prefer songs without words and movie soundtracks.

Dream casting: who is Paige?

I don’t know. I have a very specific idea what Paige looks like and it’s no one that I can picture. I do want Benedict Cumberbatch to be Jackson and I made sure they knew that.

What’s on your nightstand?

Nothing. I’m in a hotel. Probably Jonathan Strange.


How long will you be here?

I fly to Seattle tomorrow. This is the end of my tour. Hopefully I’ll be back in October.

Do you get questions about the pronunciation?

Yes. I have a guide on my website. There’s all sort of weird names. Even Paige’s last name is often pronounced incorrectly.

When you’re on the plane, do you tend to get thoughts for the book?

Yes. It usually happens when I’m really sleepy and I don’t have a piece of paper, so I stumble around in the dark looking for it.

Do you use a computer?

Yes. I love the romantic idea of writing by hand, but I don’t.  I would love to use a typewriter, my grandmother had one.  Maybe I can take it.

You said in the Sunday paper that said you hid your writing from your family?

Yes. Not because they were tyrants or anything. I wrote another novel when I was 15 and it was during the time that I was supposed to be getting ready for university. I would go on 2-3 hours of sleep, do nothing but write.  My mom would have to tell me to go outside for some fresh air.  I was working on The Bone Season when I was at university and I didn’t want her to tell me that I should be working on the essay that was due tomorrow.  When I got my publishing deal, I had to tell her and her response was, “What book?”

Writers need to be able to listen to their own voice. If there’s too many voices it could dilute things.


Will you ever revisit that 15 year olds book?

No. I took all of the best parts. It was sort of Twilight but with aliens.

Is anyone else in your family a writer?

No. I’m an anomaly. I’m the first in my family to go to university. My dad is a police officer and my mom works in the glass industry.

Going back to the movie, how much will you be involved?

I have consultation rights, which is very rare. It means I can be as involved as I want. We have a great screenwriter and he’s on board with making a faithful representation.  The studio said I would be welcome on set every single day.  They might change their minds, but I’ll be there.

Will you be involved with casting?

Yes. I’m quite excited.

Will you be going back and forth?

I think it’s going to be based in the UK. Since it’s set in London, I’m sure it’ll be filmed there.


Do you see yourself writing anything different?

Yes. I’m thinking of writing a prequel novel because there’s a lot going on. I’ll probably stay in fantasy because I love mixing things up. Maybe I’ll so something with dragons and steampunk, but we have to see where my imagination takes me.

Do you have a writer’s group?

Not really. I’m really new to being a published author. And I’m very secretive about my work.  I like the idea of it and it’s something I’ll probably look into, but I don’t have it now.

What would we be surprised to know about you?

How tall I am. People seem to think I would be shorter in my picture, but the picture is just my head.  This sort of questions scares me.  I was talking with a journalist and they asked what I do when I’m not writing.  I didn’t want to sound boring, so I said that I liked to bake when I’ve never baked anything in my life.  Afterwards, I was wondering if there were legal ramifications for lying to a journalist so I called my publisher and had them contact them to tell them that I lied.

There were a few more conversational bits, but it quickly started to wind down.  Michelle and I got in line and when it was our turn, we went up together.  Samantha took a photo with me before she signed our books.  While I was watching her sign her name, I commented that it will be interesting to see how her signature will change for the next book.  She said that she liked to have people be able to read the name.  That she’s seen some autographs where it’s a bunch of scribbles and looks like something she could have done instead.  She’s going to keep it the same, it’ll just take her some time to sign.

aaa aaaa

As always, the staff at Mysterious Galaxy are my favorites and Michelle is an awesome date.  Samantha was charming and her accent is adorable.  If you haven’t read The Bone Season, you probably should.

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6 responses to “The time San Diego was on fire

    • Stacee

      I definitely know that feeling…and yet I came home with a huge ass bag of books tonight.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  1. Great post! I liked reading all the answers. I’m kind of secretive about my writing, too; not many people know what my story is, and I don’t know if anyone besides myself knows the big idea. And it’s kind of funny that she has the interview people contacted so that she knew they lied! I still need to read THE BONE SEASON, and yay for a fun signing!

    • Stacee

      Yay! Thank you!!

      I loved the story about contacting the journalist, I couldn’t stop giggling. I wish I would have recorded it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  2. Cameran

    Great post! I’m in LA, and I wish I had been able to make it down to SD to meet her… But in some ways I feel like I was there thanks to this post :)

    • Stacee

      Thank you! That’s pretty much the best compliment you can give!

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

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