Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guest Post: Catherine Fisher!

Today I'm delighted to welcome Catherine Fisher, author of Incarceron and Sapphique!

Twists and turns.

I don't know if this goes for everyone, but as a reader I enjoy being made to work. I like books where things are going on that I can't quite grasp, and I have to stop and muse a bit sometimes. I like it when the writer plays tricks on me. One brilliant example is a book I really admire, Christopher Priest's novel The Prestige. About a third into it I gradually began to sense that I was being hoaxed, or manipulated by the author. Read it, and you'll see what I mean. If you manage to work out what's happening, you, as reader, feel good about yourself and about the book too. And if you don't even notice, and the author completely floors you with some revelation later on, there's a strange pleasure in that too, I think.

With Incarceron and Sapphique I wanted to set up parameters and then blow them up. I wanted to place a few small explosive charges that would stun the reader as they travel through the book. If you've read them, you might guess which things I mean. Sometimes even I can't see these coming, which is good, as it means I can't give them away by leaving clues. What Attia announces about Claudia is one of those. I was as surprised as I hope the reader is.

It's probably quite perverse to enjoy leading the reader down one path and then whisking the very ground from under his/her feet, but it's fun.

The danger is that there's a fine line between being pleasantly puzzled or surprised and being totally lost and therefore bewildered. I know I tread that line sometimes, maybe at the end of Sapphique. I just hope readers still with me by then will be prepared for anything. I really

think that books should be an adventure, and challenge the reader and make them engage. That things which seem true may not be. That the boy tied across the transit lines may actually be part of the ambush. That the writer, who seems so nice, and to be telling a straightforward story, may be spinning you a whole sticky web of lies. Just like Finn.

3 comments:

  1. Hi :)
    I'm glad you had Catherine here to share today.
    I like how she thinks!
    :)
    Merry Christmas,
    Rob

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  2. Thanks for the post, Catherine! I agree with you - I love it when a writer makes me work, and then absolutely blows my mind at the end or even in the middle of the novel. That's part of the reason I loved REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier so much. There was a lot in that book that I didn't like, but the twist I never saw coming. This post has made me want to read INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE even more now! =)

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