Tuesday, 28 February 2012

{Author Interview} Cat Hellisen

Bio: Cat Hellisen lives by the sea and writes about people. She accepts gifts of alcohol and truffles.
Contact: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.  

 1) Describe When the Sea is Rising Red in a single sentence.
This one always throws me, because my brain just goes HOW? But I'll do
my best.  A fantasy about a girl who has to choose between her family
traditions and privilege or freedom and and the harsh reality that
comes with it.

2) What inspired When the Sea is Rising Red?
Originally I wrote another book set in the same universe, and an adult
Felicita and her husband are two of the side characters. There was
something about their relationship that made me want to explore how
this woman of rank turned out the way she did, why she made her
choices. So I wrote When the Sea is Rising Red to work it out.

3) If you could re-title When the Sea is Rising Red, what would you
call it and why?

Before this is was called The Alchemy of Falling Girls, from a line in
the book. I still adore the title, but for various reasons we decided
to use When the Sea is Rising Red. The final title comes from one of
the skip rope rhymes that the Hobs use to communicate their plans for
revolution through the city, so I quite like the idea that there will
be an AHA! moment for the reader.

4) How does it feel to be a South African author, published by an
American Publishing House? It's pretty amazing!

when I first started writing there seemed to be no local publishers
interested in fantasy. Things have changed since then, and I think if
you write a very specifically South African fantasy or SF, then local
pubs will be more interested, but for secondary world fantasy (which
is primarily what I write) the best path seems to be to approach UK or
USA publishers and agents.

5) The cover for your book is both eerie and gorgeous, do you think
it accurately represents When the Sea is Rising Red?
The image on the cover doesn't relate to any particular scene in the
book, but was designed to capture more of the mood - ominous and
dream-like. I love the grey feel because so much of the Pelimburg
setting is about weather, and that particular kind of sea-town weather
filled with rising mist and storms and unexpected rains.
6) What book would you recommend to all of those people who are floating out there in the universe and why?  Eep, now you've got me. I normally recommend Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones, because it's one of my all-time favourite books, but I'm going to mix it up a bit because I just finished Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn and it was so beautiful and sad and comical and pointed and human. It's fable and allegory and observation on human behaviour, and it's wonderfully written.
 Thank you so much for stopping by Cat!

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