The Clockwork Crow: An interview with Catherine Fisher

Catherine Fisher is an acclaimed poet and author. Her books include The Relic Master, Incarceron and Sapphique. Here she talks about her latest mysterious, snowy, gothic book The Clockwork Crow

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Find out more about Catherine Fisher here! Photograph by Rachel Davies

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about your new book The Clockwork Crow?

Its a mystery story about a girl who finds the pieces of a clockwork bird.She is on a journey to a new home in Wales but she finds it very strange when she gets there!

The story is set in Victorian times. Is this a period of history that has always interested you? Why did you decide to set it during the Victorian era? What research did you carry out?

I didn’t really do any research. I chose that era because it’s perfect for the sort of gothic, mysterious story I wanted to write.

The rhymes at the beginning of each chapter add a magical fairy tale quality to the story. Why did you decide to begin each chapter with these rhymes? How did you go about writing them? Were they written before or after each chapter?

Some were written before but most were written after, as then I knew what the chapter was about. I like to have chapter headings and quotes that add a little background of intrigue.

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The Clockwork Crow is published by Firefly Press. Find out more about the book here!

Seren is a wonderful character – brave, determined and witty. Who or what inspired her? How important do you think it is for children to read about brave female leads?

Very important! She isn’t based on anyone, but she is very stubborn and determined. I wanted her to be the leading agent in the book.

There seems like there could be more to explore with Seren and the Crow. Will there be a sequel? What are you working on next?

I am working on the sequel now. It’s called The Velvet Fox and will hopefully be published in October.

Did you have a favourite story when you were younger?

Alice Through the Looking Glass. So you can see where my inspiration began!

What advice would you give to teachers about how to develop reading for pleasure in their classrooms and schools?

Just to let children read what they want and not to test them on it or make it seem like work. Pleasure is the key word here.

How would you envisage teachers using your book in their classrooms? Do any activities or ideas spring to mind?

I don’t mind as long as it’s fun.

Apart from your own book, is there another book or author you would recommend to children that you’ve enjoyed recently?

The Boy at the Back of the Class is excellent.

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The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf and illustrated by Pippa Curnick

Finally, can you describe your new book The Clockwork Crow in three words?

Snow, stars and strangeness.

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