Hello, everyone! Today the author of Pantomime, Laura Lam will be telling us about the R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic and the country of Elladan! I loved her book (see my review here) and I am very excited to have her here :) Thank you Laura Lam for accepting to write this guest post!
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 Chimaera 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.
Why the Circus and Elladan World-building
Micah Grey was 27 when I started his story. I started a book with him in 2007 or so, but I kept struggling with that book. I thought a good idea would be to write about my character as a teenager, and I thought it would be interesting if he had been in a circus: it’d give him strength, flexibility, and theatrics. So I started a “short story,” which then became a long short story, and then a novella, a novelette, and then a novel. With sequels.
So what was first a little detail to liven up my character’s backstory became the main focus. I loved the idea of a circus with magic, as circuses are already a little magical anyway. It’s also this little microcosm, set apart from society, filled with those who choose to live apart. As Drystan the clown says in Pantomime: “The circus collects the outsiders like a flame tempts moths.”
But the country of Ellada is much larger than just the circus. Ellada was once the head of an empire, with all the other islands of the Archipelago their colonies. They managed to take this power because Ellada had the most Vestige, or artefacts left behind by a possibly magical advanced civilization. But now their power has weakened because once Vestige runs out of power or breaks, no one knows how to fix it. Now they’re having to play nice and find a way to keep their decaying empire afloat. The world is reminiscent of the Victorian society—huge, crowded cities, disease, stench and corruption along with riches, art, and high society.
This could be a glass globe, or a Vestige artifact where the light doesn’t go out for decades. But once the light goes out, no one can rekindle them.
Gene and Micah must both interact with different sides of Elladan society. Gene is the daughter of a noble family, and thus has access to the afternoon teas and debutante balls of the highest echelons of society. She hates this world and its stifling corsets and the threat of marriage. Micah, by contrast, is a scrappy runaway who joins the circus, and must do the lowest of jobs and suffer hazing to be accepted in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic.
What do they have in common and what secrets do they find out about Ellada? Pick up Pantomime to find out!
Visit Laura’s website.
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.
Find Laura Lam on…
Pinterest (photo credits can be found there as well)