Wednesday, January 30, 2013! Cover Jacket Photos! Interviews! Book Trailers!

This upcoming Saturday (2/2/13) will mark the two-month countdown point before the release of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, which means a whirlwind of pre-publication activity seems to be happening on a daily basis.

To help celebrate the book's rapidly approaching publication date, I just launched The new website contains info about the novel's historical world, 1918 photos and film clips, links to early-twentieth-century spirit photography galleries, an In the Shadow of Blackbirds soundtrack, an interactive map of San Diego with excerpts from the novel, and other extras.

I'm currently offering an international giveaway at the website: two winners will receive a custom-made In the Shadow of Blackbirds charm bracelet and a signed swag pack. Details can be found on the home page.

The charm bracelets, made by my sister, Carrie.

In other news, my editor sent me samples of the book's finished jacket. Here are some sneak peeks:

The full jacket.
Front cover and inside flap.
Bottom half of back cover.

For a larger view of the text, click on the photos.

And for more info about my novel and me, check out these recent interviews:

Next week, on February 7, my book trailer reveal tour kicks off, thanks to Mod Podge Blog Tours, and the trailer will debut on Valentine's Day. More giveaways will be offered, so please stop by and join the festivities.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Photos and News from my First IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Appearance

Photo by fellow 2013 debut author,
Amy Tintera (Reboot).
I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, and I was overwhelmed by the excitement brewing for In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

On Saturday afternoon, I signed advance copies of the novel in the ABRAMS booth from 2:00-3:30, and I was stunned to see actual lines forming to meet me. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by! I met librarians, bloggers, teen readers, fellow authors, college students, and numerous other avid book readers. It was absolutely wonderful.

In the afternoon, I met fellow Lucky 13s members Kristen Kittscher (The Wig in the Window), Amy Tintera (Reboot), Lenore Appelhans (Level 2), and Sarah Skilton (Bruised, also by Amulet Books/ABRAMS). Plus I had coffee with fellow Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks author Katherine Longshore (Gilt, Tarnish). All these authors are highly talented and as nice as can be.

Sarah Skilton and me.
I ate a lovely dinner with ABRAMS staff members and authors, as well as Seattle-area booksellers. Then I was back to signing at the booth the following morning.

I also had the opportunity to speak about In the Shadow of Blackbirds twice, once in the conference's Book Buzz theater, and once at a librarian luncheon, at which I met nearly fifty enthusiastic librarians from across the U.S. Here are some photos from Book Buzz:

Tom Angleberger chats about Art2-D2.
Sarah Skilton discusses Bruised.

My In the Shadow of Blackbirds talk (with Jason Wells, Cecily Kaiser, & Maggie Lehrman of ABRAMS).
Photo by Sarah Skilton.

And here are photos of some of the talented people who have been helping me turn In the Shadow of Blackbirds into a reality.

My editor, Maggie Lehrman (left), and my ABRAMS publicist, Laura Mihalick.

A shot of me in the booth with Maggie Lehrman.

Thanks so much to ABRAMS Books for allowing In the Shadow of Blackbirds and me to be a part of ALA Midwinter 2013!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My ALA Midwinter Meeting Appearances

I'm heading up to the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle this weekend!

If you'll be there, too, please stop by and see me at the ABRAMS Booth (#2320) I'll be signing advance reading copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds during the following days and times:

Saturday, January 26

Sunday, January 27

On Sunday, January 27, I'll be giving a short talk about the novel in the Book Buzz Theater during the ABRAMS hour (10:30-11:30 am). Also speaking: Tom Angleberger (the Origami Yoda series), one of my 2013 debut author buddies, Sarah Skilton (Bruised), my wonderful, talented editor, Maggie Lehrman, and other ABRAMS staff.

This is just one of several in-person events I'll be attending this year. Keep an eye on my events page for other upcoming appearances.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blurbs from Lauren DeStefano, Saundra Mitchell, and Katherine Longshore!

I'm thrilled and honored to announce that New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano and fellow historical novelist Katherine Longshore have now joined Saundra Mitchell in blurbing In the Shadow of Blackbirds. I'm revealing their entire quotes for the first time right here!

“Words like ‘unputdownable’ and ‘irresistible’ are simply not enough for Cat Winters’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Days after finishing this story, it remains the first thought I have in the morning, and the thing that haunts me until I sleep.”
New York Times bestselling author
of The Chemical Garden trilogy

Part history, part mystery, part post-apocalyptic paranormal romance, In the Shadow of Blackbirds bundles everything in a spookily atmospheric and almost otherworldly early-twentieth-century San Diego. From the first page, I was captivated by Mary Shelley Black—by her spirit and by her capacity to love and hope amid the horrors of war and the hysteria of pandemic.
Katherine Longshore
Author of Gilt

“Cat Winters deftly captures the darkness and the light of human nature. I swear, I can smell the smoke from the flashlamps and taste the electricity in the air—This dark and startling story lingers long after the final page.”
    —Saundra Mitchell
      Edgar Award-nominated author of Shadowed Summer
and The Vespertine series

Thank you, Saundra, Lauren, and Katherine! I'm so incredibly grateful for your kind words.

Lauren DeStefano also sent me the link to a video containing the perfect theme song for my novel's protagonist, Mary Shelley Black: "Trouble Is a Friend" by Lenka. In fact, the video could work well as an In the Shadow of Blackbirds book trailer (the official trailer is coming Feb. 14). Imagine a lower ponytail on the girl and a slightly longer dress, and the video becomes a musical interpretation of Mary Shelley Black and all the troubles she encounters in her dark and dangerous 1918 world.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood (Viking/Putnam, Fall 2013), tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop—a meme involving a set of questions for writers about what they’re working on. Because details about my work-in-progress are being kept under wraps, I'll answer the questions based on my April 2013 release, In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

The working title was Blackbirds; the final title is In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In 1918 San Diego, sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black must face a world war, the deadly Spanish influenza, and the ghost of her first love.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The earliest seeds for this story were planted way back when I was twelve. I watched an episode of the TV show Ripley's Believe It or Not and learned that during the World War I period two girls in Cottingley, England, claimed to photograph fairies in the countryside. Adults who were devastated by the war wholeheartedly believed the photos were genuine, including scholars and expert photographers. That struck me as a sad yet fascinating nugget of history.

It took nearly three decades, a couple manuscript attempts, and a conversation with my agent, Barbara Poelle, before the plot of In the Shadow of Blackbirds fell into place, but that show about those phony fairy photos and the widespread grief during the WWI time period is where everything first began.

What genre does your book fall under?

It's a YA historical, paranormal, apocalyptic, romantic, coming-of-age mystery/horror story. Is that a genre yet?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hailee Steinfeld
First of all, let me clarify that no movie rights have yet been optioned. But if we're talking pure fantasy casting, I'd probably pick Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit to play Mary Shelley Black. I watched that movie after I finished the first drafts of the novel and felt that Steinfeld's ability to handle an articulate, precocious character at such a young age would work well for my Mary Shelley.

I don't have any suggestions for the love interest, Stephen Embers (a young, dark-haired, budding photographer who enlists for war when he's seventeen), or his older brother, Julius (a troublemaking fellow who claims to photograph the spirits of his customers' loved ones). For Mary Shelley's aunt Eva, I sort of imagine a cross between Michelle Williams and the teacher Miss Wilder from the old Little House on the Prairie TV series.
Michelle Williams +
Eliza Jane Wilder (Lucy Lee Flippin) =
Aunt Eva
And I always picture a character named Mr. Darning, a man who exposes fake spirit photographers, as looking like a cross between Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes and Michael Fassbender in A Dangerous Method.

Jude Law +
Michael Fassbender =
Mr. Aloysius Darning
 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and In the Shadow of Blackbirds will be published by Amulet Books/ABRAMS. My editor there is Maggie Lehrman.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six to seven months. However, I had thoroughly researched the time period for other potential book plots before I even started writing this novel.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

After I finished writing In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I discovered Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown's Picture the Dead, a YA novel that deals with the spirit photography craze during the Civil War (mine deals with the WWI version of the craze). Other books with themes in common with In the Shadow of Blackbirds include Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, Libba Bray's The Diviners, Teri Brown's upcoming Born of Illusion, and even Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The more I researched 1918 America, the more similarities I found with our modern, post-9/11 world. It's often hard reassuring my own kids that we're living in a country that's safe and good, and I really feel for today's youth, who are subjected to images of terrorism, random acts of violence, and fear all the time. One of my driving forces for writing this book was to show teens that young people have been surviving and overcoming the world's darkest moments throughout the ages.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book contains actual photographs from the time periodimages that are both haunting and mesmerizing.

I included the pictures for three reasons: (1) Photography plays an enormous role in this plot. (2) The history of 1918 (the fear and paranoia from the war, the lethal flu pandemic, and the desperate search for spirits through séances and photographs) is so surreal and stranger-than-fiction that I felt the need to prove that I wasn't making up those particular details. (3) I want to invite readers to step completely inside this dark and incredibly fascinating era.
For a future Next Big Thing post, I'm tagging Sharon Biggs Waller, a fellow member of Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks and the author of A Mad, Wicked Folly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Appearances (In Person and Online)...and a Giveaway

Happy New Year! In the Shadow of Blackbirds will be hitting bookstores three months from today, so I'm extremely excited about ringing in 2013.

Here is a list of where I'll be in person and online in the coming months.*

January 3: Me, My Shelf, and I - 25 Things You Might Not Know about Me and My Book

January 9: Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks - How to Dress like Mary Shelley Black

January 16: In the Shadow of Blackbirds blurb reveal day

January 26: ALA Midwinter, Seattle, WA - I'll be signing advance copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds in the ABRAMS booth (#2320), 2:00-3:30 pm

January 27: ALA Midwinter, Seattle, WA - I'll be signing advance copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds in the ABRAMS booth (#2320), 9:00-10:00 am, and speaking in the Book Buzz Theater with my editor, publicist, and other ABRAMS authors, 10:30-11:30 am

January 30: launch - Giveaways included!

February 7-14: Exclusive In the Shadow of Blackbirds Trailer Reveal Tour, hosted by Mod Podge Blog Tours

February 14: The Mod Podge Bookshelf - Exclusive Trailer Reveal Day!

March 25-April 6: Book Release Tour, hosted by Mod Podge Blog Tours

April 2: In the Shadow of Blackbirds Book Release Day!

April 6: Launch Party! - Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR, 4:00 pm

1/3/13 addition: Also...I'm running a Goodreads giveaway for an advance reading copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

by Cat Winters

Giveaway ends February 02, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

*Dates are subject to change. More events coming soon.