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Cat Hellisen Joins the Luna Family!

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

I am delighted to announce that Cat Hellisen has joined the Luna family! Welcome!!!

Open submission windows are times of great excitement here at Luna, a view into the world of talented and passionate writers, able to transport you into their world and take your breath away. In the November 2020 opening, Cat submitted her dark fantasy novel, Cast Long Shadows, and as soon as we read those first three chapters, we were hooked and immediately requested the full manuscript.

A story speaks to you in many ways and for many reasons. Cast Long Shadows is captivating on different levels: the words flow beautifully, the world takes you in subtly, bleak and hopeful at once, and treacherous; it's build on a story you think you know, the tale of Snow White, but it is looked at in such an original way, that it shakes your standpoint and makes you look at each character from different point of views.

The book is with the editorial team, right now, and we are planning a release for June 2022. We will keep you posted in the newsletter, as we do with all our books in the making.

Insights from the Author:

I've always been drawn to folk song and fairy tale retellings, partly because I like to shift things around within the structural framework to see how much I can break before the whole story collapses completely, and partly because I think folk tales are what happens when the mythology of humanity is simmered away until all that is left are our base symbols: the cut-out heart, the reflection, the poisoned apple.

When I started writing Cast Long Shadows I was digging into the overused trope of the Evil Stepmother, and what it might really have meant to be the witch in Snow White: a replacement bride, the shadow of the dead and perfect wife, the mother of a step-daughter she'd never planned for. The more I thought about her, the more I imagined her to be a girl out of her depth, alone and afraid in a court full of enemies. And what if she was never a witch? What if other forces were at work to bring her down?

And so, sliver by sliver, Marjeta Petrell was formed, and her web of stories spread out from those initial concepts of the witch with her mirror, her open hand offering death. She went from Evil Stepmother to something far greater than a sum of fairy tale images. She became a person.

I wanted to write a book that explored female friendships, family, their connections which bring both kindness and pain. And it turned out Snow White was the perfect template for that, odd as it might have seemed at first. There is still magic woven through the story, but I like to think the magic runs darker and deeper, and perhaps a little stranger for it.

About the Author:

Cat Hellisen writes fantasy inspired by mythology, the role of the outsider in society, and the broken beautiful. She has lived in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna, and Nottingham, and currently lives in a small town in Scotland, where she spends her non-writing time running around with a Ridiculous Dog, and figure skating (without the dog).

Cat Hellisen's novels include When the Sea is Rising Red, Beastkeeper, House of Sand and Secrets, Empty Monsters, Bones Like Bridges, and King of the Hollow Dark. Her stories centre around the interplay between blood family and found family, class and magic. Her short stories have appeared in, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, and Something Wicked, and in several anthologies ranging from Lovecraftian to Steampunk to African fiction. She won the Short Story Day Africa award in 2015 for “The Worme Bridge”.

Welcome to the family, Cat!


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