Alexandra Bracken and ‘Silver in the Bone’

Article | Issue: Apr 2023

ALEXANDRA BRACKEN lives in Arizona and is the New York Times bestselling author of LorePassengerWayfarer, ‘The Darkest Minds’ series and the ‘Prosper Redding’ series.

Good Reading for Young Adults caught up with Alexandra to discuss her latest novel, Silver in the Bone which is a stunning novel inspired by Arthurian legend and fuelled by love and revenge.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Silver in the Bone by Alexander BrackenTamsin Lark is a Hollower – breaking into the ancient crypts of dark sorceresses in search of the treasures inside.

Now, rumours are swirling about a powerful ring from Arthurian legend, a ring that could free her brother, Cabell from a curse. But they aren’t the only ones who covet it …

As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have the ring for themselves. Tamsin is forced into an alliance with her rival Emrys, the last person she wants to rely on. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, and expose a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother …

Driven by love, revenge and pure adrenaline, this is the stunning new novel from one of the top fantasy authors writing today.

MEET Alexandra Bracken

One of your biggest hits was the best-selling young adult series ‘The Darkest Minds’. What are some of the biggest differences you’ve experienced when creating a fantasy story instead of a contemporary dystopia?

I was about to say the main difference is that this fantasy world isn’t as relentlessly dark or bleak… but this one is pretty grim! There’s quite a bit more freedom in working in a world that exists outside of our own, though, which was very refreshing. While you get to imagine what could be with a contemporary dystopia, I wanted to ensure that version of the United States still felt recognisable to readers and tried to tease the story world out from laws and history that already existed.

What is it about Arthurian legend that inspired you to write this book?

It sounds weird to say this, but I arrived at Arthurian legend through a strange, twisty research rabbit hole. I was trying to complete my family tree as far back as I could for my dad – he had been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and had always regretted not doing the research himself – and ended up stumbling on a really, um, unique ancestor. A many times-great uncle was said to have been a wickedly evil man(!) and his story has been subsequently woven into the larger tapestry of the Wild Hunt folklore of the British Isles. I was really intrigued to learn how the Wild Hunt intersected with some of the earliest Arthurian legends – but it ended up taking about a decade to figure out how to use it in a story!

Do you have a favourite Knight of the Round Table? Or favourite Arthurian story?

My favourite knight appears in this story, actually! I’ve always been intrigued by Bedivere, who had lost a hand in battle and remained a great warrior in Arthur’s retinue. In certain versions of the legends, he’s the one who returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. In my story, he accompanies Arthur’s body into Avalon and plays a pivotal role in the isle’s protection.

And if I had to pick a favourite Arthurian story, it would have to be Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, though – that tale has something for everyone, including an excellent twist!

Your character Ruby from ‘The Darkest Minds’ is an incredibly strong and inspiring lead. Did you transplant any of her traits onto your new character Tamsin?

You know, I actually think Ruby and Tamsin are a like in one particular way, which is that they’re both initially closed off emotionally and have difficulty opening up and being vulnerable. Ruby, because she’s afraid of a power she can’t fully control. And Tamsin, because she’s been so badly hurt by her guardian’s abandonment. But on the whole, Tamsin is a bit more sarcastic and unafraid to speak her mind.

Silver in the Bone is set in Boston, but how has magic changed your new version of Boston? Have you included any familiar-but-different locations for Bostonians to keep an eye out for?

Magic is still very much a well-kept secret in the story world, so it hasn’t had much impact on the city itself beyond a few hidden pockets, including the guild library (packed with magic tomes and feisty cats, naturally). But keep an eye out for the location of the tarot shop Tamsin works in to make a little extra money – that’s a very popular tourist spot!

What was your favourite experience while writing Silver in the Bone?

100 per cent writing the very end of the book – I even surprised myself with that last line!

Alexandra Bracken author 2What do you hope your readers will take away from this novel?

That, while it can feel utterly frightening and the risk of heartbreak is real, being vulnerable with others can help heal past wounds and bring more love into your life.

You’ve reimagined the Greek Pantheon in Lore, now Arthurian legend in Silver in the Bone. Is there a particular mythos or ancient culture that you plan to write about in your next book?

There are a few ideas I’ve been toying with, all using myth and fairytale! I definitely want to return to Greek mythology one day, though – it’s just a matter of finding the right story to tell.

Visit Alexandra Bracken’s website

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