Having LOVED The Obsidian Mirror, I’m delighted to be welcoming Catherine Fisher to Jera’s Jamboree today.
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.
Hi Catherine, please summarise The Obsidian Mirror in 20 words or less.
Time travel and scary fairies
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
To try and mix those two genres, and to have both sf and fantasy elements.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your books which would you be? and why?
Maybe Kari in The SnowWalker Trilogy because of his peculiar abilities.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Morning usually, and early afternoon. Sometimes late at night.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
I go walking in the woods of the Wye Valley a lot. They are deep and still and very strange.
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
The characters come in different ways, some straight away, others more gradually. I usually make notes for each of them but not a full biography.
The Obsidian Mirror is part of a series, what’s next?
The Box of Red Brocade is the second in what I hope will be a four book set, one for each season of the Year. So I am now writing the midsummer book, and it will all finished at Samhain, or all Hallows eve.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Machen, Alan Garner, Robert Holdstock, Tolkien, Le Guin.
Do you think movie adaptations do books justice?
If I really like a book I never watch the film. It’s just not the same.
Who is your targetted audience?
Most of my books seem to have a YA readership, though adults often read them too. * waves hand in the air *
What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
Read everything that interests you and write out of those interests.
Don’t strain after fashion or fame.
How do you launch your book?
I do some reading and festival events, usually, but there is no formal launch.
I’m really looking forward to The Box of Red Brocade.
Jake’s father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger …
The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn’s estate: Sarah – a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne – who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror’s power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.
On a mission to recover his father lost in time, Jake finds himself in 1940s London. From the rubble of the Blitzed city, a clue leads him to an eccentric seer of ghosts, three sinister children and three strange prophesies. Two of them soon come to pass, but what is the Box of Red Brocade? Does it hold the secret of destroying the Obsidian Mirror? A talking bird, an invisible girl, a walking wood; the second volume of Catherine Fisher’s Chronoptika series is packed with mystery, magic and sinister intrigue.