(follow up to my Spread the Awesome post)
Okay, so do you all remember this ten-star review post? Yeah. Well, part of the deal was that I had to contact the author and let her know I was posting said review. Which I did. I also asked if I could interview her.
But here’s the thing. Catherine Fisher lives in England, and I don’t actually know her. Yes, I do know lots and lots of authors. Just not her. But that was the deal when I agreed to participate in this review-deal, so…I tracked her down. Well, sort of. She “isn’t on email”—whatever that means—so I tracked down either her agent or personal assistant (in case you’re wondering, I’m thinking agent) who very kindly forwarded on my post information, as well as interview questions.
NG: Hi Catherine! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I know you’re busy, but inquiring minds want to know more about you. So tell me, what were you doing when the idea for Incarceron first occurred to you?
CF: Looking at Piranesi’s engravings of ‘Imaginary Prisons’. I thought “what if…?”
NG: Ahh. So art inspires art. I love that. How long did it take for this story to develop into characters and a plot?
CF: At least a year. Much of the plot is worked out in the first draft.
NG: That’s actually quick for such a complex story. Very cool. What is your writing process? For instance, do you outline? Or are you more of a free-writer? Or something else entirely?
CF: I don’t plan very much but just start the story and see where it leads. It’s a difficult but interesting way to work.
NG: I totally get that, since my process is similar. I’m wondering, how long were you a writer before you found an agent or got published?
CF: I wrote three novels before getting one published, though I was publishing poetry.
NG: Excellent. What kind of education or training did you have at that time?
CF: A degree in English, but no creative writing courses or anything like that.
NG: Well, that’s more than I had when I got started. I hope it’s not too personal to ask this question, but everyone is dying to know. How many rejections did you gather before you got your first book deal? And what did you do with those rejections?
CF: Three novels which were all rejected. One I eventually re-wrote as BELIN’S HILL. The others are still in the attic.
NG: Got it. You aren’t going to tell us how many. That’s okay, it’s encouraging to know even the best of us have to try and fail before we succeed.What advice would you give other authors who are striving to be published in today’s competitive market?
CF: Write your own thing and don’t try to second guess the market. Believe in your work, but if good advice comes along, consider it.
NG: Thanks for the advice. We would all do well to follow it. And now for the most important questions, the ones foremost on the minds of my readers. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
CF: Mint or chocolate.
NG: Nice. Once again, chocolate rules the world of creativity. Now, who is your favorite author?
CF: Alan Garner. A brilliant fantasy writer.
NG: I have never read his stuff, but now I’m going to have to go find something by him and read it. Thanks for the recommendation. Now, what is your most favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
CF: Read, walk, listen to music. I like opera and ballet too – watching, that is.
CF: Fox. Clever, trustworthy. Always the outsider.
NG: The outsider, huh? I suppose that’s fitting. Writing is a very solitary work, so that makes sense. Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?
NG: So you’re a sparkler of a woman and author, then. Nice! Name one or two power snacks that keep you going as you write.
CF: Chocolate and opera.
NG: Opera? Seriously, that is probably the most original answer I’ve had to that question. Excellent! Especially since this week I’ve been listening to Phantom of the Opera to get me in the writing mood. I realize it’s not exactly opera. But still.
Catherine, thank you so, so much for taking the time to do this interview. I’m honored to be so privileged. From your answers, I can see that we have several things in common. I wish you the best of luck with sales for Incarceron and it’s sequel, Sapphique.
To learn more about Catherine Fisher and her works, click here.
To purchase your copy of Incarceron click here.
To pre-order the sequel, Sapphique, click here.