How A 19-year-old Intern Wrote 'The Bone Season,' The New Harry Potter
Two years ago, Samantha Shannon was a nobody - certainly in the literary world. A 19-year-old slaving away as an intern like thousands of other aspiring writers, she put her mind to realising her dream - writing a fantasy novel.
Two years later came the manuscript for The Bone Season, a 480 page novel that's already being likened to JK Rowling's Harry Potter. Snapped up at the first time of asking, the book has already been sold in 20 countries and hits shelves today (August 20, 2013).
Andy Serkis - who plays Golum in the Lord of the Rings movies - has bought the film rights to the book from publisher Bloomsbury and will begin work on a big-screen adaptation with his company The Imaginarium.
"A few Hollywood studios were interested, but I went with The Imaginarium," Shannon told the Telegraph in a recent interview, "They're a British company and I felt they got the book and would keep to its spirit."
The London-based company were behind The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which made over $480 million at the box office. Serkis and co are currently working on an adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel Animal Farm, that will see a Hollywood A-List cast taking on the challenge of performance-capture.
The Bone Season follows the fortunes of a 19-year-old clairvoyant girl named Paige Mahoney who is employed to delve into people's minds and steal their secrets. Set in a dystopian world in 2059, Oxford is a secret prison city inhabited by all manner of weird and wonderful creatures.
The next ten or fifteen years of Shannon's life have already been planned out, with the publishers expecting the next few books over the next couple of years. She has a seven book deal in total. "There is quite a lot of pressure, I suppose, but most of it is self-imposed," she explained, "I just want to make each book better than the one before. You see...I know I've still got a lot to learn."
The fantasy element, coupled with the movie deal, has made the JK Rowling comparisons unavoidable, though Shannon is cautious. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the author said, "Well, it was a very whimsical kind of comparison. It wasn't done in a serious way; it was just because I had got seven books from Bloomsbury. It has been the tag that has followed me for about a year, and that was just based on one journalist putting it on one article [in The Sunday Times].
People were saying, "Who the hell does this person think she is? She is the next J. K. Rowling? What is Bloomsbury doing?" [But it] wasn't Bloomsbury; it was just one guy. I don't think the book is particularly like anything by J. K. Rowling. I am obviously a massive fan, so it is kind of uncomfortable for me, because if you say that someone is the new something, it suggests that there is something wrong with the old."
Samantha Shannon's 'The Bone Season' is out now.
Andy Serkis Has Snapped Up The Rights To 'The Bone Season'