Author Roshani Chokshi chats with Culturess about her latest Gilded Wolves novel, The Silver Serpents, and where the series might go next.
The latest installment in author Roshani Choksi’s Gilded Wolves series hit shelves this September, and The Silvered Serpents was a much darker and more complicated sequel – a second heist saga that asked our heroes to make increasingly difficult and fraught choices as the story went on.
The series follows a ragtag group of misfits who steal things together on another adventure into Russia, where they discover hidden ice palaces, living sculptures and the sorts of complex mysteries and plot twists that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the final book in the trilogy.
It’s a difficult choice to make your leading man fairly unlikeable for a large chunk of any sequel, but Chokshi owns the necessity of her decision, and how difficult it was for her, as a writer. (In addition to us, as readers!) Yet, despite this twist, the story remains compelling from start to finish and will leave you eager to see where things go in the sequel.
Culturess got the chance to chat with Choksi herself about what this highly anticipated sequel, making difficult choices for several of its lead characters, and where the story is headed in the next Gilded Wolves novel.
Culturess: How would you describe The Silvered Serpents as a story compared to The Gilded Wolves?
Roshani Chokshi: Colder, darker, sleeker.
Culturess: You probably love all your fictional children equally but do you have a favorite character to write for?
Chokshi: I really enjoy wandering through Enrique’s perspective.
We’re very similar. Both extremely excitable about sharing random pieces of knowledge that no one asked for and rather sensitive.
Culturess: One of the most interesting things about this novel for me was the change in Severin’s character – though I absolutely understand why he’s making the choices he’s making, it’s still so hard to read. How hard was it to write?
Chokshi: I know 🙁 It was extremely hard to write!
Truthfully, I wanted to punch him at every turn but I also remember how much grief I put my own loved ones through when I was going through something (and vice versa). He could not emerge from what happened at the end of Gilded Wolves unscathed, and his reactions are — at their core — rooted in fear and love.
Fear that he can’t protect the people he loves. Fear that perhaps he’s fundamentally undeserving of the love they offer.
Culturess: Plus side, I loved Laila’s journey in this installment and getting to see how brave and capable she can be. How do you feel like she has grown over these two books?
Chokshi: Thank you! She really has grown a lot. One of the ugliest adult things about romance that we don’t celebrate is the fact that you can love someone and yet loving them is not enough to make something work.
Acknowledging that and forgiving yourself is extremely hard to do, and yet Laila never puts herself and her own needs on the backburner and I love that.
Culturess: There’s so much rich world-building in this series – I thought all the stuff set in Russia in Silvered Serpents was just gorgeous. The Sleeping Palace was gorgeous! How do you go about researching and keeping all these historical influences and tidbits straight?
I’m glad to hear it! When it comes to researching, I think it really just comes down to (for me) getting joyously bored and letting mind drift as I rifle through sources and pictures found on Atlas Obscura, Wikipedia, podcasts (Noble Blood is a particular favorite). I use the program Scrivener to keep all my information straight 🙂
Culturess: Can you give us any hints about where the next novel in the Gilded Wolves series might go?
Chokshi: I can tell you right now! The kids are heading to Venice. And there is much they will find…
Culturess: What are you yourself reading these days? Not like my TBR pile needs to get any higher but I am always curious to know what authors think is worth checking out!
I just finished Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and loved it.
On the nonfiction side, I’m reading Gods and Robots by Adrienne Mayor (I loved her biography of Mithradates, The Poison King). And for the first time, I’m reading the works of Tanith Lee, whose voice I find sinister and gorgeous.
The Silvered Serpents is available now. The as yet untitled third installment in the Gilded Wolves series will arrive in 2021.