The brilliant School for Good and Evil trilogy comes to a close in July with The Last Ever After! Here we catch up with the author Soman Chainani, to find out more about what awaits Sophie and Agatha in book 3.
What types of challenges wait for Sophie and Agatha in book 3?
Without giving away too much of the first couple books in the series, it’s safe to say Agatha and Sophie have an irresistible pull towards each other. They can try to find happiness without the other in their life, but it’s only a matter of time before they come back together. The challenge is whether they can, in fact, truly be friends given they’re fighting for opposite sides. Each of them thinks they’ve found their true love in someone else. Can it last?
If you had to live in a classic fairytale world (from books or movies), which would you choose?
What a wonderful question! I’d have to say the world of The Phantom Tollbooth. As a writer, words become your toolkit to try to express the images and feelings of your soul. What was remarkable about that book is it managed to make words a visual world in themselves. It’s like every writer’s secret dream world.
Why do you think these books have found such a strong international audience? Have you gotten to engage with any international fans? Any memorable fan reactions?
The fans of the series can probably answer that better than I can, but from being a keen observer of the Ever-Never Army, as they call themselves, I think they love the intensity of the books, most of all. There is an unbridled fervor to the relationships between Sophie, Agatha, and Tedros — three characters as hormonal as they come — and whether a reader is young or old, they tend to connect to that teenage moment where everything about first love feels so high-stakes and miraculous.
I’ve toured in the UK and Canada and hope to tour in Europe more soon. I love nothing more than being on the road and meeting fans; I would do it all year if I could. On the website, www.schoolforgoodandevil.com, there’s an incredible community of thousands of readers from all over the world who’ve become friends and created a literal replication of the school. So I keep in touch with many of my fans in more distant countries over the website, as well as trying to answer every letter I get.
As for memorable fan interactions, what’s the most amazing about SGE fans is the artwork and other tributes they produce for the series. We’ve had over 10,000 pieces of fanart appear online for the series, mostly at the Reader Gallery on the SGE website. And the talent! It’s breathtaking and continues to inspire me every day to make the best books that I can.
How about 3 words to describe Sophie, and 3 words to describe Agatha.
Sophie: diva, irrepressible, naughty
Agatha: deep-feeling, edgy, open-hearted
Which countries would you travel to if you could go anywhere in the world?
I’ve never been to Italy, the Netherlands, or Denmark, so those are the next three on my list, I hope!
Soman Chainani has written numerous screenplays and his recent work includes the upcoming feature musical MUMBO JUMBO for Aardman Animation (WALLACE & GROMIT, FLUSHED AWAY, CHICKEN RUN), and the adaptation of children’s book THE PUSHCART WAR for Jane Startz Productions.