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Tamzin Merchant discusses her debut fantasy novel 'The Hatmakers' and 'Carnival Row' season 2 - EW.com

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While Tamzin Merchant is heavy into filming play 2 of Amazon's Carnival Row, she's besides astir to rotation retired a caller phantasy satellite that's wholly of her ain creation: her debut phantasy novel, The Hatmakers.

The young-adult tale, which precocious garnered a rave advance review from Kirkus, follows a miss successful an alternate 18th-century London who comes from a agelong enactment of hatmakers who imbue their headwear with magical attributes. When an past rivalry begins to aboveground and the menace of milliners' magic is utilized to commencement a war, it is up to the young miss to find retired who's down it and why.

EW chatted with the British histrion (who has besides appeared successful Salem and The Tudors) by Zoom from London astir her caller publication and what Carnival Row fans tin expect from play 2.

Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So I cognize you've told this communicative before, but it's a bully one: How did you travel up with this idea?

TAMZIN MERCHANT: The thought for the publication came to maine arsenic a dream. I was shooting Carnival Row successful Prague, and I had a costume fitting the nighttime earlier with our astonishing costume department. So I've been surrounded by these astonishing costumes and having a fitting, and they were talking astir a peculiar hatmaker. They had to get a peculiar chapeau to spell with David Gyasi's horns (he has horns successful the amusement due to the fact that helium plays a faun). That nighttime I had this dream, and it was similar a full book. It was a communicative astir these magical hatmakers that made these peculiar hats successful London, and determination was this shipwreck and a rivalry with the bootmakers. And I woke up astatine 4:30 successful the greeting and woke my fellow up and told him astir the dream. He told maine to constitute it down and I was truthful wired and excited. I saw the book. That was 3 years ago. It took 7 drafts.

So present that it's done, what excites you astir astir it?

What excites maine is this thought that the handmade things made with emotion and attraction and attraction tin person their ain magic wrong it. The things that are made from quality tin person their ain power, 1 that humans request to look aft and tin besides payment from.

Was determination thing successful your probe of 18th-century London, oregon astir hatmaking for that matter, that that peculiarly amazed you?

Well, I did larn to marque hats, similar with chestnut carved chapeau blocks, and you marque it by manus and it takes ages and ages. You get felt and get an old-fashioned flatiron and cloth, and past you steam the chapeau by hand. I did that erstwhile I was penning draught 3, and that truly showed maine however peculiar and however overmuch attraction goes into making thing truthful small. It's benignant of the other of sweatshops, this emotion of the instauration of things by hand. And I researched a batch of alchemy arsenic well. I got immoderate books and determination are immoderate precise bizarre illustrations which are symbolic representations of science. It truly made maine rethink my chemistry erstwhile I was from precocious school.

It's pugnacious to participate the young-adult phantasy abstraction without astatine slightest reasoning astir oregon acknowledging Harry Potter. Was determination thing astir that publication bid that was either influential oregon had tropes that you were benignant of deliberately trying to avoid?

Harry Potter is an astonishing bid due to the fact that of the mode [J.K. Rowling] weaves successful her world-building. One constituent that I wanted to gully connected was however it's not acceptable successful an alternate world. It's not similar successful Narnia. What I emotion astir Harry Potter is the thought that conscionable astir the country could beryllium Diagon Alley, oregon if you mislaid your mode successful the Highlands of Scotland, you mightiness stumble crossed Hogwarts. So for kids speechmaking this book, I weave successful existent past with invented magical history.

The publication ends connected a cliffhanger. Did you person immoderate interior statement astir whether you were going to stake connected getting a sequel arsenic a first-time author?

Well, really I got a two-book deal. So it was precise overmuch like, yes, I got plans for the adjacent book. I'm making the communicative full to marque definite that it's satisfying for publication 2. I wanted it to consciousness similar a self-contained story, past I person ideas for further books down the line. Writing publication 2 has felt similar playing that crippled Snakes and Ladders — I deliberation you [in the U.S.] telephone it Chutes and Ladders? — wherever there's that 1 large snake that takes you each the mode backmost down to the bottommost and you're starting each implicit again.

I would person played Chutes and Ladders truthful overmuch much arsenic a kid if it was called Snakes and Ladders. It sounds truthful overmuch much breathtaking and perilous.

Right? A chute isn't precise scary.

It sounds similar specified a insignificant setback. Anyway, you besides person play 2 of Carnival Row coming up, which I work wrapped filming successful August?

We finished the archetypal 5 successful August. We're not wrapped. I don't cognize erstwhile it's going to beryllium out, it's been specified a weird twelvemonth for that. If not for COVID, it would person been retired ages ago.

What tin you tease astir Imogen Spurnrose's communicative enactment successful play 2?

Imogen and Agreus [David Gyasi] get connected the vessel astatine the extremity of play 1, and everything is expansive for the archetypal 5 minutes of play 2 — and past things spell precise severely incorrect for them. The happening that I wanted was, I asked the costume department, "Can I delight not deterioration a corset for the full of the season?" Eventually, it does hap that Imogen is called upon to not deterioration a corset, which was wonderful.

You've been successful truthful galore play dramas, you were astir apt like, "Oh great, different corset."

You conscionable don't get the close magnitude of oxygen that your assemblage needs to get done a day! But what I emotion astir Imogen and conscionable truly spoke to maine astir that quality is however overmuch connected her precocious equine she is, and past she gets knocked disconnected her precocious horse. She gets taken down a full caller level by the radical she meets successful play 2. Because we haven't finished the season, I can't truly accidental however that volition go. But it's been truthful amusive truthful acold to play the challenges that she's met, and however her aristocratic property who's profoundly successful emotion with Agreus faces the challenges she's dealt.

And finally, is determination immoderate benignant of wide oregon wide mode the caller play seems antithetic from the first?

Erik Oleson came connected committee arsenic showrunner, and his squad of writers person been creating immoderate truly absorbing stories astir the motivation scenery — what happens erstwhile you physique a partition astir the ghetto, arsenic they did astatine the extremity of play 1, and what happens and what rises retired of that. And to me, that's the amusement astatine its best.

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