Alexandra Bracken

by Ed Fortune

Alexandra Bracken is a New York Times bestselling American author known for her young adult thriller series The Darkest Minds and the time-travel duology Passenger/Wayfarer. Her latest book, Silver in the Bone, is a contemporary fantasy. We got in touch to find out more.

STARBURST: What’s your Elevator pitch for Silver in the Bone?
Alexandra Bracken: I’ve been pitching it as being like if Indiana Jones was a teenage girl, crossed with Arthurian legend and a dash of The Last of Us

How does this compare to your other novels? Was Silver in the Bone a challenge to write?
Silver in the Bone was a challenge but in the best possible way. I really wanted to write a story that touched on a less-explored part of King Arthur’s world, namely the Isle of Avalon. Getting to really imagine that world from the ground up, not to mention dream up a dark scenario to test its inhabitants down to their very souls–was an absolute blast.

Of my past work, this book is probably most like Lore, as it takes familiar mythology and legend and brings it into the modern world to tell an entirely new tale.

What was your favourite scene to write?
The athame scene at the lake, you’ll know it when you read it!

If you could take one of the characters from the book out for a drink, who would it be, and what would you say to them?
I feel like I owe the entire Isle of Avalon a round of drinks on me, honestly! From the main cast, I definitely want to take Tamsin, mostly so I can apologize for what I subjected her to in this book.

How would you describe your writing process?
I’m what some people call a headlights plotter, meaning that I don’t do massive, detailed outlines, but I don’t completely pants my stories either. Once an idea comes together in my mind, I know I’m ready to dive in when I know the main character’s arc, as well as the midpoint and the ending. Everything else is discovery as I’m drafting. So… lightly chaotic?

Which writers inspire you?
I’m continually inspired by so many of my author friends as they push themselves to hone their craft and write better and better books! I also love how Holly Black incorporates fairy tales and folklore so seamlessly into her work.

When you’re world-building, how does magic change a society?
When I’m thinking about magic and worldbuilding, I always start with how it has directly impacted the main character, and I let it all grow organically out of that. For example, in Silver in the Bone, Tamsin doesn’t have any magic of her own, and it intensifies her need to prove her worth beyond it, as well as makes her feel like an outcast from the hidden world of treasure hunters she’s part of. Like any concept of power, I think magic can absolutely bring out the very best and worst in people. I think a lot about how it defines different characters’ identities, what they believe about it, and, most important of all, its limitations.

If you weren’t writing books, what would you be doing?
Good question! I would probably have gone on to teach history, or I would have worked in historic preservation.

What’s your next big project?
I wish I could tell you, but it’s still a secret! Right now, though, I’m editing the sequel to Silver in the Bone and can’t wait to share the title of it with everyone soon!

Silver in The Bone is available now from all good bookshops.