Alexandra Bracken on her Arthurian YA fantasy novel, Silver in the Bone

"I mean, a mysterious, mist-shrouded isle of magic ruled by powerful women? How could you not want to write about that?"


The stunning new paperback edition of Silver in the Bone has officially arrived. To celebrate, chatted with New York Times bestselling author, Alexandra Bracken, to talk everything from writing inspirations to Arthurian mythology and even got a little teaser for what to expect from book two in this gripping fantasy series.

Hi Alexandra! It’s great to get to chat to you today to celebrate the stunning paperback edition of your latest YA fantasy novel, Silver in the Bone. For readers not yet familiar with its story, how would you best describe it to them in one sentence?

Thank you so much for having me! If I only had a sentence to describe it, I’d probably say that it’s the story of a teenage treasure hunter who’s forced to race against her infuriatingly handsome rival to find a ring capable of breaking a terrible curse on her brother. To speak in tropes, it’s a contemporary portal fantasy inspired by some of the earliest Arthurian legends, he falls first, and there’s only one horse!

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story?

The very original seed for this idea came from research I did into my own family tree! I have an intriguing and apparently evil ancestor–Squire Richard Cabell, if you’d like to give him a quick Google! His death sparked a series of spooky local legends about spectral hounds on the nearby moors. I was so intrigued by his story that I ended up falling down a rabbit hole of British folklore, including black dogs and the Wild Hunt, and the fascinating way they intersect with some of the earliest Arthurian legends.

Those stories were shelved at the back of my mind for years, until one day Tamsin, the main character of Silver in the Bone, started chatting to me and telling me her story. I decided to honour the original inspiration by giving her brother the name Cabell, and as you’ll see, his curse is very relevant to that research I did!

 What was it about Arthurian mythology that enticed you to explore it within your own writing?

One thing I adore about Arthuriana is that the tales we all know and love have been told and retold over the centuries, building upon one another and shifting with the times. Each interpretation breathes new life into the canon. But my biggest complaint, even as a child, has always been that so many of the writers prior to the twentieth century would make references to the isle of Avalon without truly exploring it. I mean, a mysterious, mist-shrouded isle of magic ruled by powerful women? How could you not want to write about that?

So, I knew I wanted the bulk of Silver in the Bone to be set there, and to explore both its past and present. It ended up serving another goal of mine, which was to shift away from the more typical focus on the theme of brotherhood with the Knights of the Round Table to explore the idea of sisterhoodthrough the young priestesses who protect Avalon.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BKMRK (@teambkmrk)

Throughout your career, you’ve written everything from kids with superhuman abilities to time travel to Greek gods. Are there any genres, tropes or stories you’re itching to try your hand at next?

Oh, absolutely! My brain is constantly overflowing with ideas—I’d love to write something that feels very dark academia and uses American folklore, but I also want to write some lighter (and very romantic) fairy tale retellings. I love the challenge of shifting genres, but I also hope that readers can still see common threads of found family, romance, and young women exploring their power running through all my work.

Do you have any further fantasy retelling recommendations for readers desperate for more after loving Silver in the Bone?

I would be remiss not to recommend Legendborn by Tracy Deonn if you love Arthurian-inspired stories, Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim for a wonderful reimagining of East Asian folklore and fairy tale, and Threads that Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou if you’re looking for an absolutely dynamite use of the Greek Fates.

The Mirror of Beasts, the sequel to Silver in the Bone, releases this summer. Without any spoilers for book one, can you give us any hints as what we expect to see from the next instalment of Tamsin’s journey?

I’m so beyond excited for everyone to read The Mirror of Beasts because it gives you all of the answers to the questions readers were left with at the end of book one, as well as answers to questions they might not have known to ask! You can expect to see another Otherland, some major grovelling on someone’s part, painful reunions, and you’ll meet the Hag of the Moors, who really stole my heart!

Lastly, if Silver in the Bone were to have its own soundtrack, what would be its title song?

 The song I started each writing day with was an Enya song called “Aldebaran,” which is so mystical and beautiful that listening to it feels like leaving our world and entering one brimming with magic. Just yesterday, though, I was thinking that Taylor Swift’s “The Prophecy” was really giving me Tamsin vibes, so I’m tempted to go with that!

Get your copy of Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken here.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.