Author Interview: When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

Welcome to Author Cat Hellisen

Cat Hellisen is an author of fantasy for adults and young adults. Born in 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa, she has also lived in Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham.


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rum and raisin. Which is pretty odd because I hate raisins. And rum. But together in a dairy format they make me happy.

One food you would never eat?
I’m pretty open to new foods, so I’ll tell you what food I’ll never eat *again*. Tripe. Just. No.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
My sheer inability to do anything else? I mean, it was this or waitress for the rest of my life.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
This predates being published, but thanks to writing I met an amazing circle of friends. It can be lonely and weird being a writer, so it’s nice to know I have a bunch of wonderful people I can talk to about stupid-writer-stuff, and they don’t make me feel crazy. They’re the best – I love them.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Howl’s Moving Castle.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Another Diana Wynne Jones book called Dogsbody, and it’s on my list of top 3 favourite books of all time.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Where I live right now, just in a better house. (I live in Cape Town, and I can’t imagine ever moving again)

How do you react to a bad review?
I’m weird because I can read the most positive review and only see the one negative thing they pointed out. It’s a dreadful habit, and it really does me no favours. So you can imagine my reaction to a bad review. Basically I flail around for a bit and cry and eat cheese.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
“Darling, do you ever get off the internet?”

Cats or Dog?
Cats! Although I love my dog. And for some reason there are always dogs in my books and never cats. Hmm, maybe I’m a liar.

When the Sea is Rising Red

After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.