Friday, June 29, 2012

Author's Pie: Cat Hellisen

During the winter months, there is nothing better than a good crispy pie and a good book.  Welcome to another glorious Author's Pie. This week we are baking up a pie that will leave you dooling.  So sit back, and have a slice!

Cat Hellisen is an author of fantasy for adults and young adults. Born in 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa, she has also lived in Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham.
You can find Cat roaming twitter, on goodreads and on her website.


What inspired the theme for When the Sea is Rising Red?

Someone once told me that my stories have recurring ideas of magic as a drug, and boys saving each other with their love. Um. I think she was right, because those do both crop up, although When the Sea is Rising Red is a bit low on the second one, sadly.

I'm fascinated by making the mundane magical and the magical mundane - sand into glass, drugs into magic, unicorns into goats – and with the idea of “found family” being stronger and more important than biological family. So these ideas all fed into the storyline.

What is your favourite thing (be it theme, plot, covers, etc) about Young Adult novels?

I love that coming-of-age feel that typifies YA; that standing on the cusp of childhood looking out over this strange new world of adulthood, and being both desperate to be a part of it, but being terrified at the same time.

Young Adult is a catch-all term really, there's no major defining genre – YA can be paranormal, high fantasy, contemporary, stupid, brilliant, shallow, intense, told in verse, a quick read or a massive tome. YA can tell you the same tired story you've heard a million times, in the same tired language, or it can thrill you, pick apart humanity, and make you see things differently.

So I tend to hate the term Young Adult because I feel it's more a marketing ploy than anything else, and readers unfamiliar with the diversity of work out there may be tempted to make a flash judgement.

It all for me comes back to that liminal state of not-an-adult-not-a-child, but instead some dreamy half-formed thing between. When YA captures that, it rises above and really shows what it's capable of.

Which character would you most like to be best friends? (Either in your novel or from any other novels?).

Patrick Bateman. 

On a more serious level, I never want to be friends with book characters. I like seeing them suffer, and I mean, if you want your friends to suffer for your entertainment then I think maybe you're just possibly not best friend material.

Just possibly.

What is the oddest book on your bookshelf?

Fiction or Non-fiction? The Jewish Study Bible, probably covers both. No seriously, I have no idea how to answer that. I'm stumped. What do you mean by odd? Oddly written? Odd content? I'm panicking over this question now.

 What is your favourite pie?

YAY AN EASY ONE! Steak and Guinness Pie. It used to be steak and kidney, although when I was younger I wouldn't touch it because my dad told me it was snake and pygmy pie and I believed him.

Cat's Book


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.

Check out my review

Published by Farrar Strauss, distributed by Pan Macmillan South Africa.  You can buy Cat's Book at your nearest Exclusive Books


cat_hellisen said...

Hey Kelly, thanks so much for having me in your space. :)

Anonymous said...

I love your answer for the best-friend question Cat :)
I have The Jewish Study Bible too, which is odd for me too, since I'm not Jewish or even religious.
Great interview guys!

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