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sapphique: guest blog post by catherine fisher

The Key, the Glove and the Stars.

I like symbols. Metaphors are the heart of poetry, and of stories too. Often when I write a book I have a magic object at its centre, an object that can not only do amazing things, but which holds a secret symbolism just because of what it is. The major symbol in my novel INCARCERON was pretty clear to me from the start. The one object you would never find in a prison is a key. So when Finn comes across the crystal ‘artifact’ he is the only one who knows what it is. A key is the ultimate symbol of escape. Of unlocking, opening up. Getting out.

In the sequel, SAPPHIQUE, I needed a new object, something that could be worn. I settled on a glove, because I’ve always found gloves rather sinister. Collapsible hands that you put your own hand into. I once wrote a short story about a pair of red opera gloves with a murderous mind of their own.So the Glove that was once the Prison’s, and then Sapphique’s, becomes the way of joining them both again. The other image that glitters through both books is that of the stars. For the inmates of the prison, the stars mean everything good, remote, unreachable. They’ve forgotten what the stars look like, only knowing they are Outside, and they shine. When Finn sees them he is overwhelmed with joy.

I borrowed this symbol from Dante’s stunning poem The Divine Comedy. For him the stars are the ultimate symbol of love and good. He ends each of his three parts – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso with the word ‘stellae’- stars. Which is why I ended Sapphique (almost!) with that word. And why I quote Dante’s final line at the front of SAPPHIQUE.

After all, even writers should pay their debts.

Thanks for the wonderful post, Catherine! To win one of two hardcover copies of SAPPHIQUE, leave a comment on this post by midnight New Year’s Eve (MST). I’ll announce the winner on Monday, January 2. Sorry, this contest is open to US only. Many thanks to Penguin for providing the books!




+ comments (56)
  • Shari
    December 29, 2010

    I find the idea of symbolism very interesting. I would enjoy finding out more.



  • Audra
    December 29, 2010

    I recently had a friend recommend Incarceron to me, and I’m going to be going out this week and pick it up with some of the Christmas money I got!



  • Rose Green
    December 29, 2010

    Cool. I came here to check out your web site after reading and enjoying MATCHED, and I find a giveaway for SAPPHIQUE, which I’m also looking forward to! Double goodness. šŸ™‚



  • Ivy
    December 29, 2010

    I’ve read the synopsis and it sounded great! I would love a copy! šŸ™‚



  • FloeticFlo
    December 29, 2010

    I’m reading Incarceron with my friends next month! Looking forward to it!



  • angie
    December 29, 2010

    Symbolism is what I love in stories—makes re-reading more fun as well!



  • Nathan S.
    December 29, 2010

    Yay giveaways!! šŸ™‚



  • Maggie
    December 29, 2010

    I’ve always been a sucker for symbols, and it’s great to get some insight into their role in the book. Also, I couldn’t agree more with gloves being sinister…but also necessary if you live in Minnesota like me! =) Thanks for the giveaway!



  • Sam S.
    December 29, 2010

    Sounds like a great book. Please count me in!



  • Ivy Hawthorn
    December 29, 2010

    I really love symbols too and that’s cool to know because I haven’t read the series yet. Can’t wait! Thanks for the giveaway!



  • V Rossi
    December 29, 2010

    What a treat to see Catherine Fisher guest blogging! Two writers I greatly admire under one virtual roof! Fantastic! A lovely blog post, too.



  • Kristina D
    December 29, 2010

    Great post, very interesting, I like learning what the authors were thinking when they were writing certain things. Thanks for the giveaway also.



  • Barbara Maguire
    December 29, 2010

    I’ve just started Incarceron–just in time to have the sequel waiting for me, which is good because I don’t like waiting for the next book when I’ve loved the first. I will look at things a little differently having read this post. Thank you.



  • Charlee
    December 29, 2010

    Sounds fun! I’ll enter.

    CV



  • Angie O
    December 29, 2010

    Interesting. Loved Incarceron and am so looking forward to picking up Sapphique. Great to get a little sneak peek.

    PS Loved Matched, too!



  • Amy B
    December 29, 2010

    I see Incarceron in the store every time I’m there but I never have enough money to get it! Definitely need to check it out now šŸ˜› I love how much thought is put into the symbolism <3



  • Christi Aldellizzi
    December 29, 2010

    Now that you mention it, gloves do seem evil. Thanks, I’ll never look at my gloves in quite the same way again!



  • Minas
    December 29, 2010

    I loved Incarceron. I’m really looking forward to reading Sapphique. I would love to win.

    Thanks for the giveaway!



  • Christina G
    December 29, 2010

    Incarceron was awesome & I’ve been anxiously awaiting Sapphique.

    Matched was fabulous btw šŸ™‚



  • Kira
    December 29, 2010

    Thanks for the giveaway! Would love to read this.



  • Hafsah
    December 29, 2010

    I am dying to get a copy of Sapphique! I know I can buy one, but I can’t afford it šŸ™
    Incarceron was awesome and the US cover of Sapphique is the prettiest I’ve ever seen!

    Thanks for the chance to win!!



  • Shar
    December 29, 2010

    i’ve always been intimdated by symbolism and more by how to write it into my own work. i loved reading a little about catherine’s methods of deciding on symbols. maybe i’ll get brave and try it out. and now i really want to read that murderous gloves story.



  • HeatherParker
    December 29, 2010

    I read Incarceron & loved it! And I’ve been waiting for Sapphique, cannot wait to see what happens!!! šŸ™‚ And I just ordered Matched & I’m waiting very impatiently for it to come in the mail.



  • Taryn
    December 29, 2010

    I bought Incarceron during my Christmas shopping spree and would love to have Sapphique along with it!



  • Taffy
    December 29, 2010

    I just picked up this book at the library today! I was surprised at how much I LOVED the first book. I would like to win this one!



  • Amanda
    December 29, 2010

    I loved Incarceron and can’t wait to read Sapphique! Thanks for conducting the interview!

    Amanda

    amandatheaker@gmail.com



  • KM
    December 29, 2010

    I love symbolism in fiction. I will forever think of Nathaniel Hawthorne when I think symbolism, not only for THE SCARLET LETTER but also for all his amazing short stories like “The Birthmark” and “The Minister’s Black Veil.” He was a master of symbolism.

    I loved INCARCERON and can’t wait for SAPHIQUE. My interest is certainly peaked *again* after reading this guest post. Super interesting! Loved it! šŸ™‚



  • Jessica Tapia
    December 29, 2010

    Oh gosh loved this guest post! Adding Incarceron to my list of books to read! Thank you!



  • Julie Hughes
    December 29, 2010

    I would love these books! I got Matched for Christmas an I’m dying to read it, but I can’t find it anywhere! Argh!



  • Tasha
    December 29, 2010

    I love someone who can work Dante into a modern text – can’t wait to read this!



  • Pam Vickers
    December 29, 2010

    I would love a copy of Sapphique!



  • Vivien
    December 29, 2010

    Sounds fantastic! I cannot wait to read the sequel since I loved Incarceron.



  • Emily C.
    December 29, 2010

    My dh received Incarceron for Christmas and it’d be so fun to win the next book for him. Thanks!



  • StephSu
    December 29, 2010

    Mmm, now that you mention that about the gloves, they ARE very sinister. Hooray for symbolism!



  • becca
    December 29, 2010

    Oooh. I loved INCARCERON. I just read it this month (I’m a little behind the curve…) I”m looking forward to SAPPHIQUE – and murderous gloves.



  • kreagsheehan
    December 29, 2010

    well, i look forward to reading Incarceron. I’d love to win Sapphique



  • Renae
    December 29, 2010

    I’ll go right out and by INCARCERON because I just KNOW I’m going to win SAPPHIQUE!

    And here is a symbol for HAPPINESS – which state I will be in when I win! =D



  • Schuyler
    December 29, 2010

    Wonderful post on symbolism and metaphor, which is something I love identifying in stories. The meaning behind the meaning of it all. Then a story leaps from the page into my mind and heart, and into how I think about and live my life.

    INCARCERON is an excellent read, one that reached out from the paper and grabbed me. I know SAPPHIQUE will do the same.

    Thanks for the giveaway!



  • Sara B. Larson
    December 29, 2010

    I loved Incarceron and can’t wait for Sapphique! I’d love to win one. Here’s hoping for luck to be on my side… šŸ˜‰



  • 52 Faces
    December 30, 2010

    Oh how wonderful? I’ve got Incarceron queued up on audiobook so this would be fantastic!



  • 52 Faces
    December 30, 2010

    Darn that pesky question mark…:P



  • Morgyn J.
    December 30, 2010

    I enjoyed Incarceron and would love to continue the story of Finn and Claudia. Thank you so much for these books.



  • Mikala
    December 30, 2010

    Omigosh, Dante! The Inferno is the most genius thing I have ever read.. I loved the symbolism Dante used in his stars! I can’t believe you used them, that sort of symbolism and allusion sound so perfect for your book series. I am so excited someone else knows Dante!



  • Deepshikha
    December 30, 2010

    Awesome! I hadn’t realized that the stars were so important.



  • Carmen Oliver
    December 30, 2010

    Intriguing post on symbolism and the role they play in story. I never thought of a glove as a collapsible hand or sinister. Revealing! Your series sounds like a page-turner and yet deep and emotional.



  • Kat
    December 30, 2010

    Hmm, gloves *are* somewhat sinister when you put it that way. I like using symbolism in writing, too, sometimes to the point where I think it is too much! I’m dying to read Sapphique, because I loved Incarceron earlier this year.



  • Analea Rose
    December 30, 2010

    I’ve been wanting to read Incarceron for so long, because I love dystopian fiction, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I like the incorporation of simple symbolism in the books.



  • Gabrielle
    December 30, 2010

    i just heard about SAPPHIQUE. so now i have to go back and read INCARCERON. it sounds really good and i could already tell i am going to be hooked on both!



  • Melissa L
    December 30, 2010

    So excited about Sapphique! I love the use of symbolism and I can’t wait for it to finally come out!



  • Liz
    December 30, 2010

    I love books with metaphores and sybolism, they’re really what makes a story good. I can’t wait to read your new book, it looks incredible!



  • Liniel P.
    December 30, 2010

    Incarceron was a fabulous book and was completely wonderful! I know Sapphique will be just as great!



  • Aimee
    December 30, 2010

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. It seems absolutely amazing.



  • spain108
    December 30, 2010

    I’m excited to read Sapphique and find out just who the heck that guy really is!



  • Susan
    December 31, 2010

    I would love to win! (: I admit that I have yet to read Incarceron, but I’ve been meaning to. It would by awesome to already have the sequel ready and handy for me to read!



  • Emy Shin
    December 31, 2010

    I have begun reading Incarceron (and love the symbols in it) and can’t wait to read Sapphique.



  • SheriCopier
    January 16, 2011

    Is this book digital?




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