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Why Samantha Shannon returned to the world of ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’

A story of dragons and queens that sprawls throughout a complete world (and over a number of hundred pages), The Priory of the Orange Tree has grow to be a contemporary fantasy traditional within the eight years since its launch. It was initially billed as a standalone novel, so followers have been shocked and thrilled when Samantha Shannon introduced not solely that she was writing a prequel, A Day of Fallen Night time, but additionally that much more books have been to observe. On this essay, Shannon explains how the following installment within the Roots of Chaos collection got here to be.

Once I began The Priory of the Orange Tree in 2015, I supposed for it to be a standalone novel. Ever since I used to be younger, I had dreamed of dragons—and from the beginning of my life as an writer, I knew I needed to write down about them. It was only a query of when, and the way. In 2015, I had my likelihood. 

That 12 months, I submitted the primary draft of The Tune Rising, the third installment in my ongoing Bone Season septology. My editor was taking an unusually very long time to get again to me, which left me with out a undertaking to work on. I’d later uncover that this was as a result of I hadn’t fairly hit the mark with the draft: The Tune Rising would require a complete overhaul (and stays probably the most troublesome guide of my profession to this point). Unable to maneuver on to the fourth installment till I knew the tough form of the third, I had a window of alternative to work on a guide about dragons.  

I had by no means meant to write down something however the Bone Season collection till all seven books have been completed. I needed to get every installment to my readers as swiftly as potential. But as I thought-about my scenario, I spotted that if I spent too lengthy utilizing only one voice and residing in only one world, my craft may start to stagnate. As a author, I think about it essential to push myself out of my consolation zone each from time to time, to make sure I can adapt and develop. For the sake of each the collection and my very own skill, I wanted to department out. 

“Ever since I used to be younger, I had dreamed of dragons . . .”

I made a decision to return to 3rd particular person—the attitude I had at all times utilized in my teenagers, earlier than the protagonist of The Bone Season took me without warning along with her voice—and to take my first steps into a brand new subgenre: excessive fantasy. By doing this, I hoped to strengthen my artistic muscle tissues and domesticate a extra lyrical and mature writing model, which I may then use to develop my protagonist’s voice within the Bone Season books. 

Between robust rounds of edits on The Tune Rising, I labored on the manuscript of The Priory of the Orange. It quickly ballooned in scope. Becoming an epic journey into the house of a single novel was a problem, however I used to be resolved to do it. By the point it was performed, I had constructed a number of international locations, an unlimited solid of characters and a backstory that stretched again for hundreds of years. And I knew this world had extra tales to inform. 

I used to be nonetheless decided to not commit to a different lengthy collection. Ten years into writing the Bone books, I’m nonetheless in love with the story and characters, and I’ve to weigh my schedule fastidiously every time I think about engaged on one thing else. Regardless of my finest efforts, writing Priory and its prequel, A Day of Fallen Night time, has prompted important delays within the Bone Season collection. I really feel quite a lot of guilt due to this, and it has, understandably, annoyed a few of my long-term readers. On the similar time, I can’t remorse the dragon books. The Masks Falling, the fourth and most up-to-date Bone Season installment, is by far the strongest—my favourite guide of my profession. I firmly consider this was as a result of Priory improved my writing, as I suspected it could. Engaged on Priory was an alchemical course of, permitting me to unlock one other stage within the lifelong strategy of being a author. 

Once I determined to write down one other guide on the planet of Priory, I did it with a transparent imaginative and prescient. My goal with the Roots of Chaos cycle is to write down a collection primarily made up of standalone novels. They are going to work collectively to inform an intergenerational story that spans hundreds of years, however every can also be learn as a self-contained story, hopefully in any order. This implies readers aren’t left ready for the story to proceed—every guide is its personal journey. 

Learn our starred evaluate of ‘A Day of Fallen Night time’ by Samantha Shannon.

A Day of Fallen Night time begins 5 centuries earlier than Priory and covers the interval often known as the Grief of Ages, or Nice Sorrow—a devastating struggle between wyrms and humankind. Once I wrote the primary guide, I discussed this era incessantly and thought that exploring it additional could be helpful for demonstrating the magical imbalance that kinds the bedrock of the collection. Throughout this period, siden (one of many two branches of magic, related to flame and earth) spun uncontrolled, birthing the fire-breathing wyrms. Exhibiting this period would additionally permit me to discover elements of the world I had by no means managed to achieve within the first guide, resembling the attractive Queendom of Sepul and the snowbound North. 

I knew it was a bet to begin afresh with a brand new solid. Many readers have advised me they related with the characters within the first guide. I initially nervous that they could solely wish to see this world via these characters’ eyes—that even I may not have the ability to think about it with out them. By the tip, nonetheless, I cherished the brand new solid much more than the primary. I can solely hope they develop on readers, too.

Picture of Samantha Shannon by Louise Haywood Schiefer.



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