Please let me introduce you to Laura Lam, who I would admit to not know very well. However her “Micah Grey’s” series have been on my TBR for a while and it is a real pleasure to have her here on CHOUETT to celebrate the re-release of her series on December 3rd 2015 just a couple of weeks ago.
I am also very grateful that Laura took the time to answer a few questions introducing us the the world of Ellada.
So without any further ado,
Everyone please meet Laura Lam!!
1) Congratulations on your re-release!! And as it is the case, I have to ask, is there maybe additional content that your already loyal fan base and potential readers alike can look forward to?
Thank you! The e-versions don’t have additional content, but I made some small text-level changes to smooth over a few sentences and minor worldbuilding aspects. Having extra content in the print versions out next year would be cool, but there’s no current plans for that at the moment.
2) If you were to introduce the world of Ellada to new reader, what would be the most striking thing you would have to say about it? What is it that makes Ellada, Ellada?
The main thing that makes Ellada stand out is Vestige, which are various things left behind by the previous civilization, the Alder, that the current inhabitants don’t fully understand. Once a piece of Vestige runs out of power, it can’t be used any longer, so it’s a finite resource. Maybe it’s magic, or maybe it’s technology, but it includes things like glowing blue glass domed scattered through the cities and countryside that no one can enter, fearsome weapons, amulets that can have you change appearance, and small automatons that dance on command. The problem is, Ellada has built a lot of its economy and military around Vestige, which is slowly winding down, leaving the country rather precarious.
3) Pantomime, makes allusions to not only magic, but ancient magic. What folklore is it based on and why was it introduced?
I based some aspects of the mythology on Greek myth, but rather obliquely. I’ve also borrowed a bit from mythology from all over—I read a lot of myth and folklore just for my own pleasure, so a lot of it bleeds in but it can be hard to pinpoint where exactly it came from. Most of the magic I drew out and created as it was needed for the storyline.
4) How different would have Gene/Micah been without magic?
If they didn’t have magic, Gene/Micah would have been left alone and not been drawn into near as much trouble! Otherwise, I think their personality would have stayed more or less the same. They might not have had the confidence to try running away, though. Hard to say!
5) Who came first to you when you were first writing Pantomime? Gene or Micah?
I wrote 80,000 words of a book with Micah 10 years older back in 2006-2008, so that character came first, but they were very different. When I decided to write a “short story” about teenage Micah one day joining the circus, I started with Gene jumping off a tree, which is now the start of chapter 5.
6) Pantomime is very unique as it is one of the few novels introducing readers to intersex people. Why was it important for you to show us a different side to the gender fluidity?
I personally am cisgender and have never questioned my own gender identity, but I grew up in the San Francisco bay area and know a few people who have. I’ve always seen gender and sexuality as a spectrum and found it a shame that wasn’t reflected much in literature. I wanted to try and bring a little more diversity to SFF. I did a lot of research. While I may not have gotten everything right, I tried hard to be respectful, and I’ve received some lovely notes from genderfluid readers who have identified with Micah, or readers who feel reading about Micah made them a little more understanding.
7) Although they are one and the same, do Gene and Micah display traits which could lead us to believe that they are actually 2 distinct people?
No. The character is consistent all the way through, I’d say. Gene is forced to wear dresses and corsets, but Micah in male clothes also discovers they don’t mind wearing dresses from time to time, for example, if it’s their choice. The first time the book was released, there was more secrecy and the cover copy made it seem like Gene and Micah were two people. Some readers clocked that they were the same character almost immediately, and for others it took until the reveal a little later into the book. I never wrote the book intending the intersex aspect of the book to be a twist, though, and it’s a relief to not have to keep the “secret” this time around.
8) If you could have been part of a circus troupe, what would have been your abilities?
I’d definitely be an aerialist like Micah. Or so I’d like to think, though in reality I’d probably be too afraid of falling.
9) Can you tell us “10 things” we don’t know about Laura Lam? (Most people go for 5, which is ok too :).
I’ll go for 5, as I’m a fairly open book! 🙂
1. If I don’t read every day, I get very antsy.
2. I have two cats, a Bengal named Mowgli and a Ragdoll named Keiko (okay, you would know this if you followed me on social media as I put up photos of them looking cute all the time)
3. I really want to take a trip around the world at some point.
4. I have a queue of 10 books I want to write.
5. I’m vegetarian.
10) Do you still indulge in fingerpainting and do you remember why you enjoyed it so much as a child?
I liked getting messy as a kid and smearing all the colours around. I don’t do fingerpainting anymore, though I have recently signed up for a life drawing class starting in January! I’ve been wanting to get back into art for a while—I need a hobby now that my hobby is my job 😉
Thank you Laura!
Tune in Chouett.com for upcoming Read-Along of Book 1 & 2 of the Micah Grey #pantomime & #shadowplay starting March 2016!!:), just in time for the release of Book 3 #masquerade.