Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Anna Smaill?
I’m the author of The Chimes, a dystopian novel about a world dominated by music. The Chimes is my first novel, though I’ve also published a collection of poetry – The Violinist in Spring. I spent many of my formative years studying the violin, and music has been a big influence on both my poetry and fiction. I also currently teach New Zealand literature in the English programme at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. My husband Carl Shuker is also a novelist.
Your World Fantasy Award-winning novel, The Chimes, published by Quercus in North America, is out now in paperback. It looks rather fascinating: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?
The Chimes takes place in a world where music has replaced the written word, has become a force of communication, and is the highest form of intellectual and spiritual pursuit. The book explores music as a totalitarian force, and asks how something so beautiful might also be a source of violence and control. It is a standalone novel. I haven’t entirely ruled out returning to the world of the book, largely because I would love to check in on the two key characters Simon and Lucien and see how they’re getting on. This is largely nostalgia, though. I felt a real sense of loss when I finished the novel, and I still miss the sense of immersion in that world. Continue reading