Interview With Catherine Fisher

Now, for the interview portion of Breathless Reads week!

If you spend much time around this blog, you probably already know how the contest works: all you have to do is comment here and you’ll be entered to win a finished copy of Sapphique. On Sunday, after 8:00pm Eastern, I’ll draw two names—one from the comments on this post, and one from Wednesday’s post—and announce the winners next week. Quick reminder: if you don’t have a livejournal, be sure to include a name and your email address and also, the contest is US-only.

Today I’m interviewing Catherine Fisher, who gives us some really wonderful thoughts on imagination, craft, and finding inspiration in all kinds of places.

1) Are there any scenes in Sapphique that you’re especially pleased with, and can you talk about them without sharing too much?

Hi Brenna and thanks very much for your questions. There are a few scenes involving Jared which I really enjoyed writing, especially the one where the Queen attempts to blackmail him (Can’t say too much here).  I loved writing her exquisitely polite and utterly ruthless character. Also there’s a fight between Keiro and a certain monstrous chain-gang which was fun, though action is always tricky.

2) I know that some authors don’t like to read while they’re drafting, but I find it essential. Do you read while you write, and if so, is it similar to what you write, or entirely different?

Like you I have to read. I’m always reading at least two different things. But if I’m working on a book I tend to read things that are totally different- crime novels, or literary fiction. No YA and probably not much fantasy, unless it’s classic stuff like HG Wells. I also read a lot of history and archaeology books, and things on myth and legend. I always have a backlog!

3) Was there any particular inspiration for the world of Incarceron and Sapphique?

The inspiration came from many things, but certainly Piranesi’s designs for Imaginary Prisons. Huge empty halls, hanging with chains and torture chambers. I think they must be behind a lot of Western fantasy and imaginative literature. Maybe he was the first fantasy artist.

4) The world you’ve created is filled with wonderful details and is incredibly visual. Did you see any of your scenes in your head before you started?

Thanks very much. I like descriptions to be really vivid and tactile; I feel it helps the reader to live in that world, and the stranger the world the more real it needs to feel. I don’t visualize anything beforehand though; the details come as I write, or are sometimes added in later, when I understand where the scene is and what it’s about. I don’t know if it’s true for you, but I find the plotting harder than the descriptions.

5) A lot of the readers who stop by my blog are also writers and I know they would love to hear any wisdom you care to share. Do you have a particular piece of advice for writers?

My only advice is read, write what you want to, and don’t give up. Take advice, but don’t always follow it. Read your stuff aloud. Be bold, take risks. Craft the book as if it was a piece of carving- the reader will only see what you show them. Above all, don’t think you have to know everything in the story at the start- I never do. Just begin, and see where it leads you. Amazing places, very often.

Thanks for stopping by and giving us such great answers, Catherine!

Thanks again Brenna, and I very much enjoyed The Replacement!

17 thoughts on “Interview With Catherine Fisher

  1. It’s funny, I do have very vivid memories of the places and people involved. I never noticed how visual all that was.
    A random thought, though… I kinda feel like the images in my head might have turned out differently if the book had a different cover. Like, in a way, the book’s cover set the theme for how I imagined the rest of the book.

  2. Loved Incarceron
    Great interview. I was really interesting to see where she got the inspiration from. Thank you. I cannot wait for Sappique.
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  3. I love author interviews. :) These books sound fantastic, to boot.
    I found it interesting that both you and Catherine read while in the midst of a draft. I do too, though I’ve heard a few authors say they absolutely can’t/ If I’m not injecting myself with other perspectives and worlds and inspiration, I find my writing start to flag. Though I have found a great way to boost my productivity–read a really bad/boring book! That way, when I think of reading, I will be put off, and turn to writing instead!
    zandila at gmail dot com

  4. Great interview! Love the answers, and the sound of this series, too! :)
    I’m also someone who needs to read while writing–if I don’t, I’ll experience a bigger bout of writer’s block than I would have otherwise! Other people’s books are such a great way to help keep me motivated to create my own. :)

  5. Thanks for the interview, Brenna, and thanks for the advice, Catherine. I found ‘don’t think you have to know everything in the story at the start’ particularly pertinent, as I think I’ve got a bit too controlling of my work recently, and have had to remind myself with my new WIP that it’s okay to still be exploring the world in the first draft.

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