Third-year English student Samantha Shannon released the cover for her first book The Bone Season yesterday. Shannon, who signed a contract with JK Rowling’s publisher Bloomsbury last March, is expected to write seven books following the three-book deal.
The St Anne’s student told Cherwell: “The cover was designed by David Mann, Art Director at Bloomsbury. It was inspired by Seven Dials, a road junction in London where the novel is partly set. In the middle of the junction is a pillar with six sundials on it. This design is based on the dial facing Monmouth Street, where I first got the impetus to write The Bone Season. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to Bloomsbury to see the design, but I’m thrilled with it. It doesn’t commit to a genre or an audience.”
The cover, designed to carry across the whole of the series, is set to have a different colour scheme for each book following the publication of the first novel on 20th August this year.
Viccy Ibbett, a second-year English student, remarked: “Suddenly the book has come to life! It’s a gorgeous design and very elegant. I’m now even more excited, if that’s possible, for the actual book launch.”
Set in the year 2059, The Bone Season follows a 19-year-old clairvoyant called Paige Mahoney in the criminal underworld of repressive ‘Scion’ London. Much of the action for the first book takes place in the familiar setting of Oxford, where Paige is kept imprisoned in the secret city where she meets Warden, a mysterious ‘Rephaite’ creature and her keeper.
When asked why she chose to set the book in Oxford, Shannon said, “I think Oxford lends itself to fantasy; it’s innovative and traditional at the same time. It’s also a very small city, sometimes claustrophobic, which made it easy to redesign for a dystopian story. It’s no longer called Oxford in The Bone Season, and having been assigned a new purpose, there’s no longer a university – but you’ll see several of the colleges.”
In November 2012, it was announced that Andy Serkis’s production company, The Imaginarium Studios, had optioned the series for the silver screen. Shannon said that working with the Imaginarium team has enriched the process of writing the book. “They gave me editorial notes on the manuscript, which to me shows they care about the book, not just about the film adaptation,” she said.
The film, which is yet to have a named production date, is a project in which Shannon will be heavily involved: she was able to keep consultation rights. The English student frequently offers ideas on décor and music.
When asked how she copes with simultaneously studying for an Oxford degree, Shannon commented, “I try to divide my time equally between essays and writing, though it doesn’t always work! The Oxford schedule can be hectic, so sleep has become a bit of a luxury, but I’m enjoying the ride.”
Shannon, who is in her final year of her degree, maintains her blog, ‘A Book from the Beginning’, documenting her experience.