FAQ


If you'd like to ask me a question that hasn't been answered, you can contact me here

 My books 
  • How did you come up with the idea for the Bone Season series?
  • When is the next book coming out?
  • Are you writing any more in the world of The Priory of the Orange Tree?
  • Have your books been translated?
  • How can I get review copies of your books?
  • How many books are in the Bone Season series?
  • Are your books being adapted for film or TV?
  • I'm an actor. Can I audition?
  • If you were clairvoyant, what would you be?
  • Have you written On the Merits of Unnaturalness?
  • Can I get my book signed?

My writing process
  • What's your daily routine?
  • How do you plan your chapters?
  • How long does it take you to write a book?
  • Do you ever write to music?

General 
  • I have an idea for a novel, but I don't know how to start writing it. Any tips?
  • How do I get an agent?
  • Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
  • Will you read my manuscript?
  • How do I contact you?

MY BOOKS


How did you come up with the idea for the Bone Season series?

I got the core idea from walking around Seven Dials when I was doing an internship there in 2011. There are shops there that sell crystal balls and tarot cards and the like, and I started wondering what it would be like if there were a society of clairvoyants living in a dystopian London. I rolled that together with a second idea I’d had about supernatural creatures being in charge of Oxford, where I was studying English Language and Literature at St Anne's College, and The Bone Season emerged from those two ideas colliding.


When is the next book coming out? 

The Mask Falling came out in January 2021. I'm currently working on the fifth installment, aiming for a 2023 release date.


Are you writing any more in the world of The Priory of the Orange Tree?

Perhaps . . . 


Have your books been translated? 

 Yes. Check the books' individual pages on this website for translation info. 


How can I get review copies of your books?

I'm afraid this is completely out of my hands – the marketing team at Bloomsbury is in charge of distribution. You can request ARCs through NetGalley and Edelweiss if and when they become available. 


How many books will be in the Bone Season series? 

Seven. 


Are your books being adapted for film or TV?

TV rights for The Bone Season are currently held by Little Hat and Rainmaker Content, and we have a screenwriter, Islay Bell-Webb. This doesn't mean the adaptation is guaranteed to happen, as it hasn't yet been green-lit, but it's a first step.


I'm an actor. Can I audition?

I don't currently have any information about casting for the TV adaptation, and although I hope to be involved in it, I won't have sole control. If I'm made aware of any open auditions, I will update this page.


If you were clairvoyant, what would you be? 

A bibliomancer, I think. There are various ways to practice bibliomancy (e.g. allowing a book to fall open at a random page and using the first words to identify something about the querent), but generally, it refers to connecting to the æther through books. Bibliomancers find true joy in reading and value books above all other objects. They also have one book – their numen – to which they become intimately connected. One of the worst things you could do to a bibliomancer would be to leave them without books for an extended period of time.


Have you written On the Merits of Unnaturalness?

I have, and you can buy it right now in eBook format. More information here.


Can I get my book signed?

Signed copies of The Mask Falling are currently available to buy from Waterstones and Forbidden Planet.


MY WRITING PROCESS


What's your daily routine?

I get up in the morning between 7am and 8am and make myself a big cup of coffee, check my emails and do social media or blogging, and start writing around noon. I tend to write slowly but solidly until quite late at night. I aim to sleep at around 11pm but often the writing urge will kick in when it turns dark, and I’ll end up writing past 1am. I usually write for at least seven or eight hours a day, if not more.  


How do you plan your chapters? 

I tend to have a rough idea of how long I want my chapters to be: somewhere between 14 and 25 pages in manuscript form (A4, double-spaced, 12pt), typically broken into two or three sections. If they’re over or under that, though, it isn’t the end of the world – what matters is stopping the chapter where it feels natural to stop. Transition is also important; you need the reader to want to read on, to be curious enough to turn the next page. It’s almost like writing a series of twenty-odd cliffhangers. Chapters can be any length and have any number of sections, though – as with all literature, there are no hard-and-fast rules.


How long does it take you to write a book?

The length of time it takes me depends on all sorts of things. My first attempt at a novel (which went through numerous edits and versions) took about three years altogether, primarily because I was still at secondary school and had to juggle writing with homework, classes and real life, but the first draft of The Bone Season only took six months, as I loved telling the story in Paige's voice and I managed my time much more efficiently. 


 Do you ever write to music?

Not always – sometimes I find it too distracting – but I usually edit with music, especially instrumental music without lyrics or something soft and relaxing that doesn't encroach on my train of thought. Raised by Swans' No Ghostless Place is one of my absolute favourite albums. I also love listening to film soundtracks and trailer music: Two Steps from Hell, James Newton Howard, Ramin Djawadi, Trevor Morris, Hans Zimmer, Future World Music. 


GENERAL


I have an idea for a novel, but I don't know how to start writing it. Any tips?

Some writers start from the beginning of the story, some from the end, some from a random point in the middle. What matters is that they start somewhere. This is just my opinion, but I think your best bet for starting a book – especially when you’re building an imaginary world – is often just to get a rough idea of the setting, drop a character into it, and start writing. Choose any point in the story and write something, anything. Whatever takes your fancy, whether it’s a pivotal scene or your protagonist eating breakfast. You’ve already done the really hard bit, which is finding good ideas. Don’t worry if you don’t know every tiny corner of the world or every last twist in the plot; you can always go back and edit your work. It’s like working up the courage to jump into a freezing cold pool: once you’re in the water, you’ll start swimming.


How do I get an agent?

The best resource I can offer is The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, which is updated every year with information on agents. You can also apply for bespoke mentoring, constructive advice and writing workshops on the site. When you write to an agent, keep the three Cs in mind: Calm, Courteous and Confident. 


Will you read my manuscript?

For legal reasons, I can't read any unpublished or self-published work. My agent and publisher won't pass it on to me, so please don't send it. You can get lots of helpful feedback from fellow writers and readers on sites like FictionPress and WattPad, but remember, literature is subjective – trust your gut instinct first.


How can I contact you?

I'm represented by David Godwin at DGA. General enquiries should go to Amandine Riche (amandine@davidgodwinassociates.co.uk). PR enquiries should be directed to Philippa Cotton (philippa.cotton@bloomsbury.com) at Bloomsbury Publishing.

I don't have a public email address and I'm no longer active on Twitter, but you can contact me directly via Tumblr or Instagram. I don't frequently check private messages on Instagram, so if you have a professional enquiry, such as an interview request, please go through my agency. 

I always love to hear from readers. I'm not currently replying to letters due to deadlines, but if you'd like to write to me, please feel free to do so at the following address: 

Samantha Shannon
c/o David Godwin Associates
2nd Floor, 40 Rosebery Avenue
Clerkenwell, London
EC1R 4RX
United Kingdom