There was nothing fundamental that changed between first publication and the re-issue in the US. I had the opportunity to re-read and edit the books lightly, but I feel they represent a phase in my writing that was important to me, so I didn't change very much. If you start playing around with your work you might lose the spontaneity it had at the time of writing. Of course my style has changed a little - it seems sparser to me now - but I really enjoyed revisiting Anara, and reliving Raffi and Galen's adventures with a new readership in mind.
2. Which of your books was the most challenging for you to write?
Each book is challenging in its own way. Some have difficult or complex plots that have to be worked out- such as Oracle, or Incarceron; in others the characters are hard to pin down, or are not what I expect them to be, such as perhaps, Corbenic, or my current project, which is still under wraps! In some books, like Crown of Acorns, the challenge is writing in the first person voice of an 18th-century young man, and also jumping between three stories and trying to give equal weight to all of them. Some books have pacing problems - the action drags, or goes too fast. So none of them are easy. I did find the Relic Master books a challenge, as they are very complex in both ideas and plot. But perhaps Incarceron was the most difficult book I've ever written.
3. While fantasy is not as explosively trendy as paranormal romance or dystopian, it has enjoyed steady readership over the years. Why do you enjoy writing fantasy? Why do you think fantasy has had consistent readership over time?
I don't really categorize what I write as fantasy, or dystopian or anything really. Actually I invented a term /mythic fiction/ a while ago to use when people asked what sort of books I write. It baffles people, at least! I just like to write stories with a strong element of the metaphysical, the strange, the unearthly, and that manifests in various ways - ghosts, sci-fi, elemental beings, gods. I think such stories have a consistent readership because they, like myths, appeal to some very deep need in us; they try to explain the workings of the world, and they give readers the ability in some way to control fate and nature. Which is what we all want.
I do find first person a bit limiting, but only in the sense that one character must see or take part in everything - if that character is not there, the scene can only be reported. It's a challenge and I am using it more often now, mostly in the form of diaries and journals. It also, of course, has huge advantages; the character can really express their depths, you can get into their feelings. But I think a third person narrator can do that too. All things are good. (Except stories told in the present tense, which I don't like.)
5. How much do you feel like your college studies and degree contributed to your current career as an author? What advice would you give college-bound students who are interested in becoming writers?
Things are different now. When I was in college there were no creative writing degrees or any way of getting professionals to look at your work without sending it to publishers. So people have a lot more opportunities for that now. But I still think you can't beat studying the greats of English Literature. If you don't know what is possible, how can you find your own limits? So I suppose my advice would be, study Shakespeare, study great literature of all languages, but don't despair and think I can never do anything like this. You can do something, and you will enhance your own work. Also the truth is it takes time to develop as a writer. As a student you are unlikely to be anywhere near your best work yet.
I hope everyone enjoys the final episode of Relic Master, THE MARGRAVE.
My favourite. And possibly, the best.
Thank you, Catherine! Be sure to check out the Relic Master series, starting with THE DARK CITY, and visit the Relic Master series website. And here is the fourth piece of the map of Anara! Each book in the series contains a portion of the map:
About the Relic Master series:
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.RELIC MASTER is a four book series. Each book will be released over four consecutive months this summer:
Book One: The Dark City, May 17
Book Two: The Lost Heiress, June 14
Book Three: The Hidden Coronet, July 12
Book Four: The Margrave, August 9
Each book will include a piece of the map of Anara, the world of RELIC MASTER, on the reverse of the jacket. Collect all four books and you will have the complete map.
Visit Catherine's author website. And thank you, Big Honcho Media, for organizing this Q&A!