Tag Archives: Beastkeeper

New Paperback Cover for Beastkeeper

Beastkeeper is getting its paperback release in February 2016 and I am very happy with the new cover direction.

As much as I love the hardcover illustration, and holy hell is Béatrice Coron a great artist, the new cover has a stronger Middle Grade feel to it which I really hope will get it put in the right place in bookstores.


The more I look at it, the more I like it. 😀


Signing Stuff.

I’m not sure which strikes more terror into the heart of a writer – editor’s letters or book signings.

So far, my only experience has been with the former. I shall now be donning my Stompy Boots of Doom, and heading out into the real world where humans live, and finding out what the other is like. It’s all in the name of science.

Cavendish Exclusive Books is hosting moi at a book signing. Obviously, you want to be there because there is nothing more hilarious than a writer out of its element, staring wide-eyed with fear at shoppers. This is how you will get your kicks on Saturday the 29th of August. After which you will go have lunch and wonder if it would have been kinder to shoot me.

I’m kidding. 😉 A little.

In all seriousness, you’re invited, and if you’d like to come join me there please RSVP cavendishdeputy at exclusivebooks dot co dot za.


Fourth Star for Beastkeeper

The release of Beastkeeper has been something like amazing.

Four starred reviews. Four. that’s like…wow. I have to slap myself a little to make sure I’m not dreaming this.

Many thanks go to my amazing editor at Henry Holt, Noa Wheeler, for giving this book the thought and care in editing that pushed it to this point.

“In this elegant, lyrical, and startling original fairy tale . . . While there are hints of “Beauty and the Beast” here, this is a story all its own, and older fans of fairy tales and their retellings will revel in this poetic, tragic, epic story of a girl who is faced with the worst of what people can choose and instead decides to step outside of the curse and make her own way.”  – BCCB, STARRED REVIEW

“Beastkeeper is a bright, beautiful sliver of a novel . . . Every page shimmers with magic.” – VOYA, STARRED REVIEW

“Blending modern-day problems and ancient magical curses, Hellisen’s novel sparkles like a classic fairy tale, even as it plumbs unpleasant truths.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This tangled tale of jealousy and revenge retells the classic “Beauty and the Beast” story, but with a twist . . . With lush, descriptive language and complicated familial relationships, this complex story line challenges readers to pay close attention to the details. Hand this middle grade/YA crossover to tweens and teens who enjoy dark fairy-tale retellings.” – School Library Journal

“Hellisen’s narration is thoughtful and lyrical . . . A wild, unique fairy tale.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW








by C.L. Hellisen


There are always three stories. The winner tells one; the loser tells another; and the third, the one we could call truth if we looked at it sidelong through a piece of shattered glass, that is the story that fades soonest, forgotten even as it tells itself.

There is no room for truth in love.

Here is the story that eats its own tail. We must tell it quickly in dreams and whispers, before there is nothing left of it but an eye that watches and a mouth too choked to speak. It starts in the forest, where all the wild things learn their sleights and magics, in a castle, where all the tame things learn their place.

Read More →

Release The Beast(keeper)!

I suppose if I were better at this kind of thing, I would have done a release day post but, ha. On the plus side, we’re still in the right week, so I get a noddy badge for that.


Which means you can buy it. Or loan it from the library, or your friend. Or hand-copy it in calligraphy while standing in the bookshop, I dunno.

So, on that note, places where you can buy my work of unparallelled genius…


Book Depository

Bakka Phoenix Books (Canada)

Barnes & Noble (USA)


Exclusive Books (South Africa)

Loot (South Africa)





I’ve had people ask me if I have a preference for where I’d like them to buy from, and really, whatever is easiest for you. if you can, the best would be to support a local indie, or a place that makes you happy.

The Art of Self-Distraction for Writers

Beastkeeper is coming out in 11 days. Naturally I am trying to distract myself because…eep.

To that end I have been busy:

Building up a sizeable collection of bruises at aikido

Painting all my furniture

smashing mirrors in my kitchen with a mallet

making tarot-art

shooting things legolas-style

cuddling guinea pigs

making weird cordials

gin gin gin

You’ll notice that writing is not on that list. Put it down to pre-release panic. I’ll pick it up again, someday.

My author copy arrived in the mail and lemme tell you, that art is gorgeous. The full wrap is going up on my wall, it’s that pretty.


Help support Zola Pigg! Keep her in (expensive) pellets and sweet meadow hay! Buy this book! Or a different one! Mmm tea!


So! Stuff has been happening. I’ve started my eldest Spawn at archery with me. She was rather upset at not being good but I pointed out she’s had 2 lessons. I’ve had way more and I’m still pretty terrible (though slowly getting better). The point is to have fun. You don’t have to be good at everything – that way lies despair because you will never be The Best or The Most Perfect. You just have to be the best you or else you’ll drive yourself to misery because other people are better than you.


Which brings me to running…. well walking. The Boy and I have been doing trail runs together, and by trail runs I mean we walk all the uphills because yeah… It’s been a fantastic good time though, and our last one is this Saturday and I can’t wait. Not because it’s the last – because they are so much fun, and I wish I had one every weekend.


In other good news, my story has made the longlist for the Short Story Day Africa 2014 anthology, Terra Incognita, which means it will be in the anthology, WOOH YEAH! The final judge is Nnedi Okorafor – so how cool is that?



And the cover for my very very very very loose take on Beauty and the Beast, Beastkeeper, has been revealed by The Book Fairy, so go check it out. I LOVE it, so I’m a very happy cat right now.

Beast- and plantkeeping

Come along if you’re going to come along, or go to your left and strike true, and you’ll find your castle, princess.”


After the general insanity of the festive season, I am doing a final sweep through Beastkeeper before I send this round of revisions off to my editor. I realised I quite like Alan and Sarah’s interactions. I would totally be drawing cute manga pics of them if I could draw cute manga pics.


I also had a little trawl through the garden to check the figs. Sadly, still not ripe.  But closer closer closer yes!


And I must be watering my plants again because this little guy is looking more green and less red (they turn red when they are Dying of The Thirst. I have no idea what it is, but I would put good money on Nerine Dorman being able to tell me its common and Latin name off the top of her head. Woman has mad botanical skills, yo.


Writing Goals for 2014

There’s no point in recording goals that are out of my control, but for now, the writing is still mine, and that’s what matters.

1: Turn in Beastkeeper before the end of January. BAM
2: Send in the 3rd Oreyn book to my editor.  BAM
3: Write one short story a month (and sub the good ones – that part is quite important since I tend to convince myself not to.)

  1. jan
  2. feb
  3. march
  4. april
  5. may
  6. june
  7. july
  8. august
  9. sept
  10. oct
  11. nov
  12. dec

4: Finish the rewrites on That Angel Poly Book by end May.
6: Finish the first draft of The Ghost Book By end August.
7: Write 100 words every day on The Shadow Book.
8: Look into smaller markets for The Book That Dare Not Speak Its Name.


My Super Exciting News of YAY

My lovely agent sold my upper-MG novel BEASTKEEPER.

WOooh yeah, you have no idea how happy I am, it’s pretty ridiculous.

Here’s the PW announcement:

Noa Wheeler at Henry Holt has bought Beastkeeper, a middle-grade novel by Cat Hellisen. It’s a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast and what might have happened if they didn’t actually live happily ever after, set two generations later when a girl discovers that the curse is hereditary. Tentative publication date is fall 2014; Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media sold the book at auction.

Tonight is KFC and Supernatural all the way, kids, because I know how to celebrate. 😀