S.A. Chakraborty is a speculative fiction author that is best known for ‘The Brass City’. Shannon has garnered a reputation for writing fantasy centered on and around Islamic mysticism and the legends of the Middle East.
S.A. Chakraborty came onto the scene at a time when Middle Eastern fantasy fiction was a rarity on the literary stage. A native of New Jersey and a wife and mother, Shannon has loved fantasy for as long as she can remember.
To be more precise, Shannon has loved reading for as long as she can remember. Over time her interests have transformed. The author has a thriving interest in Middle Eastern matters.
You are likely to find her on social media engaging in discussions about politics, Islam, history and their relation to art.
A history buff, ‘The City of Brass’ put S.A. Chakraborty on the map, showcasing the storytelling potential that lay dormant in Middle Eastern culture.
Shannon A. Chakraborty started her journey to publishing success as an author of short fiction. She garnered the attention of curious readers via stories published in resources like ‘Fey Visions of the Mediterranean’ and ‘Crossed Genres’.
She also started a Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group through which she gained access to a litany of creative minds that helped her refine her craft. The author’s big break came when she decided to participate in DVpit.
DVpit is a Twitter event designed to bring to light the works of voices that have historically been marginalized in literary publishing. S.A. Chakraborty admits that she didn’t expect much from the event.
And yet DVpit eventually yielded results, giving the author’s manuscript for ‘The City of Brass’ some much-needed exposure.
Shannon’s book seems to strike a chord in the hearts and minds of readers because it is so earnest. And the author admits that she wrote the book, first and foremost, for herself and for her community.
She didn’t think major publishers would ever show interest in her brand of fantasy fiction. So when she learned that she was on her way to securing a book deal and that major publishers were engaged in a bidding war over her book, the author was astounded.
Shannon didn’t think the western publishing arena had the stomach for a book about the Islamic Golden Age. And even when she heard about the auction of her manuscript, she was afraid that she would be asked to heavily censor her story, cutting out prayers, eliminating the Arabic language and inserting all those tropes of Western fiction that made manuscripts more palatable to major publishers.
But none of those requests ever came. If anything, Shannon was encouraged to dig deeper into the Middle Eastern roots of her story.
S.A. Chakraborty imputes her success to Voyager (the publisher) and Priyanka, her editor. Chakraborty and Priyanka were a perfect match for one another. The editor was passionate about the culture in Shannon’s stories.
She understood what the author was trying to achieve and her advice pushed Shannon to refine her story until she finally had a quality piece of fantasy fiction ready for publication.
Shannon doesn’t relish returning to the desperation of her earlier days as an aspiring author. She didn’t like the manner in which social media consumed her as she went querying for interest in her stories.
S.A. Chakraborty started writing fantasy because it was a hobby she was especially passionate about. Over time, she came to view it as an artistic pursuit. But writing didn’t feel like it was any of those things for a while because she was spending hours making pitches and following up on queries.
Shannon’s only advice for aspiring authors is for them to always be prepared. Shannon had her novel written and her synopsis, query and every other requirement ready by the time requests from DVPit came her way.
S.A. Chakraborty wasn’t exactly bitter that there was no fantasy fiction of note in bookstores that represented her history and her culture. But she was excited by the prospect of adding that Middle Eastern element to the fantasy fiction landscape.
Or at least, those are the thoughts that occupied Shannon when her book deal was secured. Before that, the author just wanted to write a story for herself. As a history buff, she was enthusiastic about writing a story that delved into the Ancient Islamic world. Shannon wrote the book quietly for a very long time.
Once she got over her nerves and showed it to her writing group, they helped her perfect it.
For all the writing talent she brought to the table, Shannon knows she might not have gotten so far if it wasn’t for Jennifer, her agent. Jennifer was immediately impressed by the author’s manuscript because she knows how difficult fantasy can be to write, especially Epic Fantasy.
Jennifer was surprised to find an author like S.A. Chakraborty who not only balanced numerous complex characters but also wrote beautifully.
+The City of Brass
Nahri doesn’t have magic. Sure, she’s survived for a long time on the Streets of Cairo using what other people perceive to be signs of magic like healings and palm readings. But Nahri knows the truth.
She’s a con woman. She knows all the necessary skills to make people believe whatever she wants them to believe. That is the sort of person she needs to be to survive in the 18th Century.
And she doesn’t necessarily feel terrible about taking from Ottoman nobles. But Nahri doesn’t believe in actual magic. Or rather she did not. Then one of her cons went wrong and she brought an actual djinn warrior into the world.
Now Nahri knows the truth. Magic is real and all the tales she used to hear as a child might be true. The discovery drags Nahri into a new world, one filled with mythical creatures and ancient wonders.
Nahri begins an adventure that reveals her connection to Daevabad, the so-called city of brass. In entering Daevabad, Nahri must deal with the fierce and brutal power waiting within.
Even in the world of magic, there is no shortage of politics, scheming and betrayal.
S.A. Chakraborty’s debut novel takes readers to the Middle East, revealing an aspect of fantasy that has yet to be explored.
Books in order of publication by series:
Daevabad Trilogy Books
|The City of Brass||(2017)|
|The Kingdom of Copper||(2019)|