Friday, February 13, 2015

Cat Hellisen

Cat Hellisen is an author of fantasy for adults and children. Born in 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa, she has also lived in Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham.

She sold her first full-length novel, When the Sea is Rising Red in 2010. Her children’s book Beastkeeper, a play on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast, is now out from Henry Holt and Co.

Recently I asked Hellisen about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have three books on the go at the moment. On my ereader is Ruth Frances Long's A Crack in Everything, which is a wonderful YA urban fantasy set in Dublin, drawing on Long's love of mythology and fairy folk lore. Issy and Jinx are great characters, and the darkness of the sidhe and their world will appeal to fans of Holly Black. Long stitches in all kinds of mythological elements, but it is Dublin that makes the book really come alive, like a secret character that weaves the story lines together. It's also something of a relief to read a YA urban fantasy that is not set in either a major US city, or London. The main character Izzy feels real to me in a way that most US teens don't, but I'm not sure if that's because the author is possibly closer in age to me, or because of the cultural gap being smaller.

For trains and beach reading I stick to paper and ink. Plus I'm a huge fan of my local library, which is tiny and friendly and an excellent way to subsidise my ridiculous book habit. Currently I'm about half-way through Lady in Gil by Rebecca Bradley. Fantasy is my number-one love, though I hadn't encountered Bradley’s work before, which is a shame, as this is a fun tale of a historian forced into heroism and taking to it in his own...uh...unique way. It has dark elements, but it is not as po-faced and miserable as the current crop of grimdark fantasy. I'll definitely be reading more of her books.

And in non-fiction I'm slowly working through Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, because I find the whole attitude of Aikido fascinating, and I will eventually remember more than one word in Japanese. I just recently started going to classes, and reading more about the harmony of the physical body and mental state is not only interesting, but is sparking ideas for future writing.
Visit Cat Hellisen's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Beastkeeper.

The Page 69 Test: Beastkeeper.

--Marshal Zeringue