The Night Circus
This week, we are delighted to launch The Night Circus, our new interactive narrative set in the world of Erin Morgenstern’s acclaimed, exquisite debut novel of the same name. Paul, Henry and I have spent most of the last couple of months building the site, and this is a bit of an emotional moment as we finally send our baby out into the world.
When Random House brought the book to us several months ago, we were immediately excited by the possibilities Erin’s world offered. There’s this vast, weird, constantly evolving circus, Le Cirque des Rêves, which is made of firelight and shadows and chiaroscuro magic. It has a cast of mysterious eccentrics and a sweet, poignant love story at the heart of it all. What was most interesting for us, though, was the space that opened up in Erin’s lovely world for our own storytelling. The Night Circus has been like a playground for us – we’ve added new acts and moved the circus to five different cities around the world, and illustrated it with Paul’s beautiful, enigmatic artwork. Above all, we’ve tried to tell stories that draw you-the-reader into the centre of your own narrative while meshing into the background fabric of the novel.
This was an especially interesting prospect because Erin’s novel is already halfway there. It’s punctuated throughout by scenes that invite the reader directly into the circus – curious, spare, second-person vignettes that interrupt the narrative and guide you through various experiences that are just for you. All we needed to do was create lots more similar scenes and develop a narrative system that allows you to choose your own path through them. These vignettes are outside the plot of the novel, but they’re part of the story of the circus itself – it has its own independent existence, and this is what allowed us so much imaginative space to play with.
There’s a long-established tradition of telling stories in other people’s worlds, of course, and we’re proud to have had the chance to continue this with The Night Circus. We hope we’ve managed to occupy Erin’s circus with the love and respect it deserves. And we hope you enjoy visiting it with us.