Thursday, February 12, 2015


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

She sold her first full-length novel, When the Sea is Rising Red in 2010. Her children’s book Beastkeeper, a play on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast, is now out from Henry Holt and Co.

Hellisen applied the Page 69 Test to Beastkeeper and reported the following:
I wasn't exactly sure what page 69 would hold, but it comes after Sarah's father (who is slowly transforming into a beast after his wife left him) has dropped her off in a castle in the middle of nowhere and informed her that she has to stay with a grandmother she never even knew existed. She's trapped; alone with people who are supposed to be her family. Her grandmother is cold and severe, and, as Sarah has just discovered, keeps Sarah's grandfather in a cage. In a darkened hut, Sarah has just come face to face with him – a beast chained and rancid - and is expected to believe that this was once a man.
“I don't know what I believe,” Sarah said fiercely into her hands. I don't know what's real.
She's still trying to pretend that the magic around her is some kind of elaborate trick, searching for a way to escape the castle and the forest, and track down her father. I always feel a little sorry for her because she's so brave despite her situation, and yet everything is so hopeless. Somehow, she just keeps going. Because she's definitely more awesome than me.

Page 69 is something of a balancing act, where the main character is standing on a tightrope of disbelief. There are, as she points out, two truths, though they can't both be true at the same time. (She's wrong about this, of course). It's not long after that she commits herself to the reality of magic, and the curse that is destroying her family.
Visit Cat Hellisen's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Beastkeeper.

--Marshal Zeringue