J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series made her the world’s most famous author, won her multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies and were the basis for a series of films which became the highest-grossing in history.
And now, a 21-year-old author looks set to give the famed author a run for her money.
Samantha Shannon has penned a 480-page novel, The Bone Season, for which Bloomsbury publishing house – who published Harry Potter – has paid in excess of £100,000.
And that’s not all. The Bone Season is just the first in a seven-book series and the film rights have already been snapped up by the actor Andy Serkis’s company, The Imaginarium. Serkis is best known for playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films.
The self-proclaimed ‘geek’ told The Telegraph that she’s an avid fan of all things sci-fi and explained that she has always been a shy person who used writing as a way of withdrawing into her own imagination.
But, as with any great success story, there have been a few failures and disappointments along the way. She revealed that she spent as many as 15 hours a day glued to her computer writing her first novel, Aurora. But her 200,000 word manuscript was rejected by numerous publishing houses.
‘I felt terribly embarrassed for a start, because I’d told all my friends that I was writing this book. When they asked what had happened I had to say something about putting in on the back burner. ‘I just couldn’t see the point anymore. But the trouble was that not writing left this weird space in my life,’ she said.
Not one to give up, she began work on The Bone Season, which centres on 19-year-old clairvoyant, Paige Mahoney, who is employed by a criminal underworld to break into people’s minds and delve into their secrets.
Speaking about writing the book, she told MailOnline: ‘I was mostly an indoor girl at university. Where other students did drama or music or sport alongside their degrees, I wrote. I used to work on essays and classwork during the day and The Bone Season in the evenings.’
And it looks like her hard work and commitment paid off.
After receiving compliments by lecturers who read her book at Oxford University – where she has just gained a 2.1 degree in English – she decided to send the manuscript to the only literary agent she knew: David Godwin, where she had completed a few weeks work experience over the summer. She was shocked to learn that he and his whole office loved her work and within weeks the book had been snapped up by Bloomsbury.
The Bone Season, which is set to be published in Britain on 20 August, has seen rights sold in 20 countries already.
Speaking about her overnight success, the budding author said: ‘It’s been overwhelming, to say the least. I’m a young, unknown author and there’s a lot of anticipation to live up to. ‘Having said that, it’s been great to have so much early interest in The Bone Season and I’m very grateful to reviewers and publications for spreading the word about it. ‘When I went to New York, all these people were asking me to sign advance copies of the book. ‘That was when I really felt like an author for the first time.’
However, the young author finds comparisons to J.K. Rowling harder to come to terms with. ‘That has been stressful because I love and respect J.K. Rowling’s work so much. Whenever anyone calls me the new J. K. Rowling I think, “What’s wrong with the old one?” And anyway, I think that anyone who reads my book will see that it is totally different,’ she said.
Her advice for budding writers? ‘Be open to constructive criticism, don’t be afraid to start again, and whatever you do, don’t give up at the first hurdle.’ It certainly looks like it paid off for her.
Source: Daily Mail