Catherine, welcome, and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
1. What are the top five things you’d like readers to know about you/your writing?
The five top things I’d like people to know about my writing? Tricky.
1. I often write with opera playing loudly.
2. I like to write poetry even more than prose.
3. I often read passages aloud ( to myself) to see if they work.
4. I never show anything to anyone until I’m sure it’s finished.
5. i never know much about the end of the story till I get there.
2. For me, some of the most intriguing parts of INCARCERON were the little snippets of the songs, legends, and laws at the beginning of each chapter. Does this multi-genre approach come naturally to you? Is it something you do often in novels?
Thanks. Yes I like the idea of having lots of different things-diaries, poems, songs, etc, rather like some of those Victorian novels all told in different letters and voices. (Dangerous Liasons is a great example.) It breaks up the writing process and gives me a bit of fun. It’s also a really useful way to get the back-story across to the reader in interesting snippets rather than long boring chunks.
3. Claudia is a fantastic heroine—flawed, feisty, and nuanced. Can you tell us a bit about how it was to write her character?
I’m very glad you liked Claudia. She was one of those characters who just walk right in and take over! She was very natural to write- her problem (the marriage) was clear to me and I knew she would be very determined about getting out of it. Her relationship with her father was more intense and tricky than I’d anticipated though.
4. Can you share with us one of your favorite passages from SAPPHIQUE?
Perhaps my favourite part is where Jared has an interview with the queen. He’s very wary of her, but he’s stunned by her cold cruelty. I really liked writing both sides here. And I enjoyed writing the duel scene, and the trial of Finn, where he is interrogated. I like dramatic scenes!
5. And finally, what are you reading right now?
As usual I’m reading a few things. I’ve nearly finished Pompeii, by Mary Beard, a Cambridge academic. It’s a really readable account of life in the ruined Roman city. I’m halfway through a new book of poems by Seamus Heaney, And I’m rereading an old favourite, The Third Man by Grahame Greene. I’ve also got Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ready to start- a historical novel that was shortlisted for the Booker prize here.
Thanks for the questions Ally and I really enjoyed reading MATCHED!
Thank YOU for the answers, Catherine! It’s been lovely to have you on the blog.
To win one of two hardcover copies of SAPPHIQUE, please 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!