Haunting, intense, heartbreaking, hopeful, romantic
Tell us a little bit about the photos that were included in the book:
Throughout the novel I’ve included images from WWI, the Spanish influenza, and early- twentieth-century spirit photography. During the book’s time period, spirit photographers
were people who invited customers into their studios, had them sit for a portrait, and in the developed photograph, customers would find the spirits of their departed loved ones standing behind them.
I wanted to include historical photos throughout the novel because (A) photography plays an integral role in the plot, (B) I felt compelled to prove that the strange, sad, and surreal events of 1918 actually occurred, and (C) the images from the time period are so chilling, they seemed the perfect way to bring the troubling era further to life.
Can you tell a little about how you got interested in writing?
I became interested in writing pretty much as soon as I learned how to read. My parents filled our house with children’s books, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with storytelling. I began writing down poems in a little spiral notebook when I was seven or eight, and by the time I was nine I was attempting to write novels. Writing has always been a part of who I am.
Where do you escape to write your stories? Tell us about your ideal writing space: When my kids are in school and my husband is at work, I typically write at home. When everyone’s around or I need a change of scenery, I head to my local indie coffeehouse or the library. I consider the coffeehouse one of my ideal writing spaces because I somehow find the white noises of people chattering around me and eclectic background music less distracting than the stark silence of home.
Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading right now?
Some of my all-time favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, T.C. Boyle, Daphne du Maurier, Sarah Waters, and Ruta Sepetys. I’m in between books right now, but the novels sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to read them, include GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, POISON by Bridget Zinn, OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys, and THE FLAME IN THE MIST by Kit Grindtsaff.
What kind of books did you love to read as a teenager?
I adored classic Gothic literature, such as WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë, JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë, REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
What are your favorite things about your main character, Mary Shelley Black?
I’ve always loved her curiosity. When she first came to me as a character, she was already brimming with interest in science and technology, and she seemed the perfect narrator for a novel about a highly illogical time period. If you’re experiencing your darkest moment in life, she’s the type of person you’d want to have by your side.
A few fun questions now! :)
Favorite snack while writing?
Quaker Chewy Dipps granola bars (chocolate chip)
I’ve been a huge movie buff all my life, so it’s really hard for me to pick just one. Some of my favorites include the original WILLY WONKA, A ROOM WITH A VIEW (starring a young Helena Bonham Carter), ED WOOD, and ELF. I love everything from fantastical childhood movies to subtitled foreign films.
I used to always say pink, but these days I’m drawn more to burgundy.
Favorite band and song right now?
I never get tired of listening to “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men when it comes on my car radio. The lyrics remind me of Mary Shelley Black and her ghost, Stephen.
Favorite teacher from your school years?
Mrs. Martin, my teacher for both second and third grade.
And everyone who visits Stories & Sweeties answers this one: Do you like cupcakes? J
Frosting or cake better?
Yes, I LOVE cupcakes! The frosting is my favorite part.
Check out these GORGEOUS yummy looking cupcakes that Cat brought to her launch party in Oregon!! Love the gears and blackbirds!
About the author:
Cat Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing.
Her critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds—a YA ghost tale set during the World War I era—is now available from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.
Cat’s online haunts:
I've decided to give away one finished copy of In The Shadow of Blackbirds!
Open Internationally! Just enter below!
(must be 13 or older • contest ends May 9th, 2013)