Book Nerd Interview
Catherine Fisher was born in Newport, Wales. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and a fascination for myth and history. She has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.
Catherine is an acclaimed poet and novelist, regularly lecturing and giving readings to groups of all ages. She leads sessions for teachers and librarians and is an experienced broadcaster and adjudicator. She lives in Newport, Gwent.
Catherine has won many awards and much critical acclaim for her work. Her poetry has appeared in leading periodicals and anthologies and her volume Immrama won the WAC Young Writers' Prize. She won the Cardiff International Poetry Competition in 1990.
Her first novel, The Conjuror's Game, was shortlisted for the Smarties Books prize and The Snow-Walker's Son for the W.H.Smith Award. Equally acclaimed is her quartet The Book of the Crow, a classic of fantasy fiction.
The Oracle, the first volume in the Oracle trilogy, blends Egyptian and Greek elements of magic and adventure and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Books prize. The trilogy was an international bestseller and has appeared in over twenty languages. The Candleman won the Welsh Books Council's Tir Na n'Og Prize and Catherine was also shortlisted for the remarkable Corbenic, a modern re-inventing of the Grail legend.
Her futuristic novel Incarceron was published to widespread praise in 2007, winning the Mythopoeic Society of America's Children's Fiction Award and selected by The Times as its Children's Book of the Year. The sequel, Sapphique, was published in September 2008.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Not that Easy
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
That an imagination is a great and secret place to be able to go. I wasn't that fond of school.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote it when I was in Uni and it was never published, but it taught me a lot. I must have been 19 or 20.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Clarity, concision, delighting in the use of vivid language. Forfiction, getting right inside the characters heads. The reader has to feel with the character, even if they don't like them. also to try andmake characters complex, not all good or evil.
For those who are unfamiliar with your series; Relic Master, how would you introduce it?
Its a four book set about the planet Anara, a vast teeming dissolving world where Keepers talk to the trees and the Watch hunt the Keepers and the catlike beings called the Sekoi are cleverer than anyone else. It's really about trying to preserve a world that is falling apart, and using power wisely.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Galen?
Galen is an irritable soul but I like the way a flawed character can carry a story. None of us are perfect.
Did you learn anything from writing Raffi and what was it?
Raffi grew as the story grew; he became an adult really in the 4th book, where he has to face the Margrave, a creature that he both despises and likes. That's hard for him to understand, that an evil person can be sometimes likeable.
The story for Relic Master brings to a world called Anara. What gave you the idea?
Lots of things, but really I just wanted to do something on a very big scale.A planetary scale.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Tolkien was a genius. Outside the genre?? All fiction is fantasy.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Read. Everything. Let it fill you up like a sponge. Then one day, sit down and start a story. Don't worry about the end. Just start.
Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.
The one thing that stands out with every Catherine Fisher books is the uniqueness of the worlds she creates. In Relic Master: The Dark City, Galen and his scholar, sixteen-year-old Raphael (Raffi), trek across the world of Anora searching for items of power called relics. Raffi is being apprenticed by Galen and has been learning sorcery. When a relic exploded, it left Galen with no power. Now they must look for a rumored relic that will cure Galen. In the process, they come across troubles and adventures and ultimately in The Dark City of Tasceron where the possible cure exist.
I have had my shares of fantasy reads but none of them comes close to The Dark City. Set in a dreary dystopian future, it is full of dark magic, turmoil and deception. The world the characters live in is truly fascinating. The intricate details laid out by Catherine makes imagining their world easy to conceive in the mind. Reside it with interesting characters and fill it with a compelling plot, it was the perfect combination to start the series. The secrecy that clouds around The Watch intensified the mystery. It leaves the reader wondering what the exact purposes of the relics and their power origins.
The Dark City delivered a strong knockout punch for the first book in the series. I’m expecting more knockouts in the next installments of Relic master. The world building is amazing and the characters are unforgettable. The plot is unlike anything and the ending will leave you wanting to read the next installment. It will appeal to any fantasy lovers and anyone who seeks out-of-this-world adventures of magic and sorcery.
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