Interview with Laura Lam, Author of Pantomime

Please welcome Laura Lam to the virtual offices today! She dropped by to chat about her new book, Pantomime.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laura Lam] Writer, reader, traveler, dreamer. Ex-pat Californian in Scotland. Geek chic. I basically just stole my Twitter profile here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Pantomime?

[Laura Lam] Pantomime is a YA fantasy that’s primarily set in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, the greatest circus in Ellada, or so it claims to be. The novel follows two stories set three months or so apart—one is Micah Grey, the new aerialist’s apprentice in the circus, and the other is Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family. Their stories are linked, and you find out what they have in common fairly early on. Ellada is a pseudo-Victorian society set in an alternate world, with possibly magic Vestige, which is advanced technology left behind by an ancient civilisation called the Alder. Gene and Micah learn about their past and how they might be linked to the secrets of Ellada.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Laura Lam] I originally came up with the idea for the character of Micah Grey as an adult for another novel, which I almost completed in dribs and drabs. When I was stuck on it once, I decided to write a “short story” about Micah’s backstory of joining the circus as a teenager. I tapped into the voice of younger Micah right away and the story took a life of its own and became Pantomime. I’ve always been interested in the circus and the setting lends itself to having such a varied cast of characters—the other aerialists, the clowns, the freaks, the workers, exotic tumblers, snake charmers, and a ringmaster.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Gene?

[Laura Lam] Stifled, curious, determined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Micah had a theme song, what would it be?

[Laura Lam] This was incredibly hard! I eventually settled on “16 Years” by Phantogram:

16 year in a private ghost chain

But I know that the miracle changed

Summertime is a whirlwind away

And I know that the lights won’t invade

16 years of mechanical joy

And I know that the lines show the way

Burn a candle for magical days

Now I know that the rest is okay

It’s shooting light and I’m feeling again

Is this love that I’m feeling again

It’s both melancholy yet hopeful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Gene won’t leave home without.

[Laura Lam] Gene’s not the kind of girl where she won’t leave home without a mirror or makeup. She has no lucky talisman. She’ll happily leave home with just herself and the clothes on her back.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Micah’s pockets?

[Laura Lam] A gold coin (it’s always copper or maybe nickel), a gun, a fancy handkerchief.

Things you will find: chalk for his hands on the trapeze, a sad copper or two, a pot of greasepaint.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Gene’s greatest regret?

[Laura Lam] The way her relationship worked out with her parents.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Laura Lam] Life experiences. Everything creative is filtered through what you’ve experienced and who you are. That’s sort of a cop-out answer, I know, but it’s what it comes down to, at least for me. That and all the books I read and watch have an influence on my storytelling, sometimes in ways I don’t expect until I look back at the finished product.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Laura Lam] Tea or coffee, laptop, motivation.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laura Lam] The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Laura Lam] Hmm, a tough one. Possibly Animorphs. I read the first 60 and after that I read whatever I could get my hands on.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Laura Lam] Reading, watching television & films, travelling when we can afford to get away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Laura Lam] I’m easily reachable. I have a website,, which has a contact page. You can also find me on my Facebook fan page here:, or on Twitter as @LR_Lam. I’m on Goodreads and Pinterest as well, but not as often.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Pantomime from your favorite bookseller of by clicking the links below.

About the book:

R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

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