I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for The Radiant Road blog by Katherine Catmull. I had the pleasure of asking Katherine a few questions as part of an author interview.
Title: The Radiant Road
Author: Katherine Catmull
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Publishing Information: January 19th 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.
After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.
Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.
“A stunningly atmospheric, gorgeously complicated dream of a book.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An unforgettable tale . . . that contains all the darkness and light of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” —School Library Journal, starred review (less)
1) How did you come up with the idea for The Radiant Road?
Several things converged. My young niece told me about a recurring dream she had that had to do with fairies; and I was also obsessed with the art of Andy Goldsworthy around that time. I loved particularly his aesthetic of working only with the materials on hand, and also working with time— his pieces are intended to shift and decay in interesting ways. I thought, Boy, if I came across one of those pieces in the woods, I would think it was made by fairies or something like fairies.
Also, although I share my heroine’s distaste for some of the baggage that comes with the word “fairy,” I’ve always been interested in the Irish conception of them as a race who live beside us yet apart.
2) The Radiant Road is full of magical and dreamy scenes — if you had to choose three Pinterest images that captured its dream-like nature, which ones would you pick?
Actually, I made a whole Pinterest page for it while I was working! I made it only for myself, so some images won’t make any sense to others, but it’s here: https://www.pinterest.com/kcatmull/book-2/
You can see models for Balor, the villain; examples of bioluminescence, which is important in the story; photos I took of places that inspired me there; fairy cattle (tragically almost entirely cut from the final draft); and LOTS of Andy Goldsworthy.
If I were to pick just three of those images:
3) Did you go to Ireland to conduct research for the book? If yes, what was your favorite part of the research excursion? Also, what was the most interesting thing that you learned that made it into the book?
I did go to Ireland! The driving was pretty hair-raising (memo to Ireland: an ostensibly two-lane road needs to be at least two cars wide), but otherwise it was marvelous, eye-opening, exciting. My favorite part was probably a walk I took through a sheep field in Clifden on the west coast: among the dayglo-painted, black-faced sheep, I found an ancient dolmen that became an important part of the book; and I ended my walk on a rocky cliff looking over the Atlantic, which became the site of Clare’s home.
I learned so much in terms of tiny details I’d never have known otherwise. For example, here’s a picture I took of yew bark, like the yew in Clare’s home. I’d never have seen how much it looks like a skinned knee if I hadn’t gone to Ireland.
4) Were there any fairytales that inspired you to create certain scenes or characters?
Not exactly, but I did play around with the idea of fairytales in the scene where a path of stones appears in the lake, and Clare runs across them. I was interested in the idea of how fairytales sort of skip the details, so it always sounds so easy. But when you’re down on the ground living it, it never, ever is.
5) If The Radiant Road were being turned into a film, who would you cast as Clara and Finn?
Ah, that’s SO hard/ Colby Minifie—the actress who plays Robyn the crazy upstairs twin in Jessica Jones?—did the (wonderful) reading for the audio recording of The Radiant Road. When I heard she was cast, of course I Google-stalked her immediately. I was amazed at the coincidence of how Clare-looking she was. It seemed like a good sign. So let’s say a slightly younger Colby Minifie, for Clare? And for Finn, holy smokes . . . maybe a teenage Colin Ferrell? Although I pictured Finn as darker-skinned, so I don’t know. Choose your own favorite black-haired, brown-skinned Timeless boy.
Thank you so much Katherine for your wonderful responses and for sharing all of your brilliant pictures. Your Pinterest page definitely made me want to visit Ireland!
About The Author
Katherine Catmull is an actor, freelance writer, voice-over artist, and sometimes playwright. Her first novel,Summer and Bird, was called “a stunning debut” that “thrills with complex storytelling” byBooklist. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!