Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blogger Love for IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS (Thank You, Bloggers!)

My lovely UK publicist put together this amazing compilation of In the Shadow of Blackbirds blogger reviews. Blogger love for this book has been incredible, and I'm extremely grateful for everyone who's been helping me spread the word about the novel.


See below a list of quotes and links to full reviews that have hit the blogosphere so far . . . with many more still to come.

‘I don’t need to be a clairvoyant to see the future that lies ahead of Cat Winters and her debut: awards, critical acclaim, translations to more languages than I can name (and I can name a lot of languages). If you squint at the cover, you can already see the shiny William C. Morris medal in the top left corner, possibly even a Printz.’ Full review from The Nocturnal Library here

It is creepy and sad and amazing and so perfect.’ Preview post from: Carina and full review here

‘Cat Winters is a very promising debut author and one I have added not only to my favourite list but my auto buy list.’ Full review from Read, Write and Read Some More here

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is more of an experience than it is a book. It’s haunting, emotional and wonderfully written, but it’s also educational and thought-provoking. Some striking photographs from this historical period feature throughout, adding an extra special touch to this remarkable debut novel.’ Full review from A Realm of Fiction here

‘I was completely  lost in this story and read the whole book in two days. It is definitely one I want to hand out to people and insist they read. I absolutely loved this book and I was quite taken with how wonderful it truly is. Definitely a  dark horse that needs to be explored further.’ Full review from Serendipity Reviews here

‘I will definitely be checking out more by the author and will recommend this book, with its haunting images and brilliant storyline to every reader.’ Full review from Read-a-raptor here

‘It scared me to the point that at times I wanted to put it down & come back to it later...however much I wanted to I couldn’t, it has me wanting to read on even when it spooked me.’ Full review from The YA Bookshelf here

A gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking read. I can say without a doubt that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of my favourite standalone books of the year so far.’ Full review from The Page Turner here

Mary Shelley Black is a great narrator.’ Full review from Book Angel Booktopia here

This novel is one that will stay with you for days and one that I can imagine myself re-reading again at a later date. It is a novel with a strong heroine that many feminists would be proud to read about. But truly it is simply Cat Winters and her amazing talent that should draw people to this book. I just really don’t think you should be missing out on this hauntingly brilliant book.’ Full review from The Daydreamers Thoughts here

‘In the Shadow of Blackbirds completely surpassed all of my expectations – Cat Winters’ debut is absolutely magnificent.’ Full review from The Aussie Zombie here

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS is haunting, thrilling and very emotional. Full review from Kate Ormand’s blog here

‘The world building was haunting along with those photographs attached to the book which enriches the spookiness of the story.’ Full review from Pages from my Thoughts here

‘This book will definitely win the hearts of fans of YA historical novels like The Diviners or The Masque of the Red Death.’ Full review from Daydreaming Bookworm here

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters * 978-1419705304* Amulet

An added bit of news for readers of this post: an In the Shadow of Blackbirds audiobook will be available from Recorded Books later this year! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I'm thrilled to announce that I sold my second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, to Maggie Lehrman at Amulet Books/ABRAMS! Maggie is the same extraordinarily talented editor who helped me whip In the Shadow of Blackbirds into shape, and I'm ecstatic that I get another chance to work with her!

The book is slated to be published Fall 2014.

Here's the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Author of IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Cat Winters's THE CURE FOR DREAMING, where, at the turn of the 20th century, a seventeen-year-old is hypnotized into seeing people's true selves, illustrated with late-Victorian images, again to Maggie Lehrman at Amulet, by Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Agency (World English).
Foreign: Heather Shapiro at Baror International

I first came up with the idea for The Cure for Dreaming about a month before I sold In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It was September 2011, shortly before Halloween, and I was interviewing musician Kristen Lawrence, the  creator of Halloween Carols. The following song of hers, "Dark Glass," served as inspiration for The Cure for Dreaming's Gothic, dreamy, hypnotizing atmosphere. 

I'll let you know as soon as I have any more information about the novel. In the meantime, I'll be hard at work on the book, getting ready for Fall 2014!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Interview with Cover Photographer Symon Chow

Symon Chow and cover model Olive.
My guest today is the talented Symon Chow, the photographer behind the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover. Photography plays an enormous role in the plot of this novel, so I'm thrilled to feature someone who is both familiar with the art form and skilled at capturing the haunting look of the early-twentieth-century spirit photographs that are integral to this book.

Here is my interview with Symon.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Symon! As soon as my editor, Maggie Lehrman, gave me the link to your website and I saw your haunting, unique, vintage-style photographs, I knew you were the perfect photographer for the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover. When and how did you first become drawn to this particular style of photography?

I guess it would have had to be in college when I started learning how to shoot “Alternative Process” photography. I have always been fascinated by old cameras and lenses, though even before college, I was fascinated by turn-of-the-century photography. But back then wasn’t as much about the gear and the process as it was about the subject. I have always had an affinity for the fashion of the era. If I had to pinpoint its beginning, it actually came from a shirt that my mother wore when I was a child. The shirt had a very intricate Art Nouveau pattern of sirens swirling through ribbons of fabric. I still remember it fondly and it has stuck with me though all of my creative endeavors.

When ABRAMS designer Maria T. Middleton approached you about photographing the cover of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, what were the first steps you went through to design and prepare for the shoot?

The first step of most covers I have worked on is to, of course, discuss what the designer and editor envision. I like to get as much details about the feeling they want to convey, so that I can get an idea of what kind of lighting will be involved. Then I like to ask about what types of props they want to incorporate. With that information, and the actual story for reference, I try to get as much detail before I work on “sketches.” I present as many different options as I can, focusing on different key elements that we’ve discussed. When the sketch is approved I can then concentrate on putting together the actual elements of the composition and source props and setups. The process is very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. It can at times be very fun and at times a little frustrating, but in the end, ALWAYS super fulfilling!

Your online portfolio shows a variety of costumes and eclectic Victorian/early 1900s-style backdrops and props. For the In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover, did you provide the costumes and all the accessories, including the goggles? 

I did actually, but not as much as I normally would have. Maggie and Maria already had a very particular outfit in mind before I even got involved in this project and had the costume pretty much sorted out. The only thing they didn’t have were the goggles...which I just happened to have sitting around (I collect old military goggles). On the day of the shoot we also played with different shoes and accessories. We have a fairly large collection of turn-of-the-century, pre- and post-WWI outfits and props that we’ve been collecting for years.

Did you use various costumes and backdrops for this shoot, or was there one particular look that you wanted most?

I believe we did a number of set-ups for this cover. Mostly wardrobe changes, different lighting set-ups, and positioning. We wanted to keep the setup simple in terms of the pose, because we wanted to focus on atmosphere. We were going for haunting, but also at the same time, inviting. We wanted the reader to get sucked into Mary’s world, and actually want to stay a while

Early-twentieth-century spirit photography plays an enormous role in the novel. Decades before the Photoshop era, photographers used methods such as double exposures to create ghostly images in the developed pictures. Are you able to divulge how you and Maria created the spirit lurking behind the model on the cover? 

Smoke and Mirrors.

If you lived in the early 1900s, would you still have been a photographer and designer? Do you think it would have been easier or harder to make a living with that art form back then?

I believe I would absolutely be working in photography and/or design in some shape or form. Especially in my photography, I use much of the same equipment, technics, and chemicals that were being used back then. It would be a toss-up as far as ease goes. While it would be easier to do the work of actually taking the picture and developing, it would be much harder to have the picture altered, press ready, and reproduced. This type of work is just in my blood, whether it be taking photos or making a sign or creating a book. I think if I were alive back then, and given the choice, my job would have been in the arts/technical field.

Thank you so much for joining me, Symon! I love hearing about the creation of this highly unique cover.

Visit Symon Chow online at

For more behind-the-scenes In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover info, please see my interview with the book's designer, Maria T. Middleton.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Second Starred Review

I was thrilled and stunned when Publishers Weekly honored In the Shadow of Blackbirds with a starred review, so I was doubly amazed when a second such review showed up, this time from Booklist:

A scattering of period photos, including eerie examples of spirit photography, further the sense of time and place, but the main event here is Winters’s unconventional and unflinching look at one of the darkest patches of American history. More than anything, this is a story of the breaking point between sanity and madness, delivered in a straightforward and welcoming teen voice.
Booklist, starred review

The Atlantic Wire also featured In the Shadow of Blackbirds in their recent article "The Spring Book Preview, Y.A. Edition." Here's what they had to say about the novel:

"One of the creepiest (in a good way) covers of the season! What's inside, historical Y.A. set at the time of the Spanish influenza, is equally haunting."

Thanks so much to all the reviewers who are helping to give In the Shadow of Blackbirds a fighting chance in the world!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reading and Signing at St. Johns Booksellers

Portland, Oregon, was just ranked the second nerdiest city in the U.S., which is probably why I feel so at home here. "People per bookstore" was one of the criteria for receiving this honor, and without a doubt we Northwestern Oregonians love our books.

As further proof of the local literary love, I'm heading into my second weekend of sharing In the Shadow of Blackbirds in a Portland-area bookstore.

Here's where you'll be able to find me:
Reading & Signing
8622 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR
Sunday, April 14, 2013
2:00 PM

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Launch Party Recap

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Powell's Books in Beaverton, Oregon, hosted my In the Shadow of Blackbirds launch party. Local authors, bloggers, friends, and even out-of-state family members  joined me in the celebrations. 

Here's a pictorial tour of the afternoon:

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, ready to be sold before the event.
Receiving moral support from my long-time friend Cindy, who drove down from Washington state.

Blackbird and clock gear cupcakes!

Introducing myself and the book to the audience.

A pictorial tour of the novel's 1918 setting.

Signing the novel and chatting with visitors.

Left to right: My sister, Carrie (the creator of the charm bracelets I've given away), me, and my mom, Jenny.

Left to right: Candace (Candace's Book Blog, Novels, News, & Notes),  me, and Mel (Novels, News & Notes).

My name (in the middle of some amazing company!) on the Powell's events board.

I signed all the remaining stock, so if you'd like to order an autographed copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, please call Powell's Books at 800-878-7323.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Updates: Launch Party, ebook, & the Latest Giveaways

My launch party for In the Shadow of Blackbirds will be held tomorrow, Saturday, April 6, 4:00 pm, at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, Oregon! If you live in the area and can make it, I'd love to see you there. If you can't make it, you can still pre-order a signed copy, which Powell's will ship to you after the event.

Here's a photo of the novel, waiting on the Upcoming Events shelf at Powell's. I'm a huge fan of Karen Russell's, so I'm thrilled to see In the Shadow of Blackbirds sitting next to her latest release.

I'm still waiting to hear the latest updates about the Nook version of In the Shadow of Blackbirds! You can order the Kindle edition, but unfortunately, there has been a delay with the other ebook versions.

Here are the latest guest posts, interviews, and giveaways:

Guest Post: 10 Ways I Researched the Past for In the Shadow of Blackbirds. International giveaway for a finished copy included.

A Feature Friday interview and two giveaways for finished copies.

A lovely five-star review from a teen blogger. She's offering a giveaway of a finished copy.

You can also find guest stops and giveaways on the In the Shadow of Blackbirds Blog Tour, which ends tomorrow. See also my Tuesday and Wednesday posts for other places I've visited during this busy, amazing book release week.

If I've visited your blog during the past week or so, and you don't see a mention of it, please send me a reminder and I'll add a link!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ebook & B&N Updates...and My Latest Blog Stops

The ebook edition of In the Shadow of Blackbirds got delayed, but I've just been informed it's now available on Kindle! My publisher assured me other ebook versions will likely be available at some point today. Please check back here for updates.

Also, there's been a misshelving problem at some Barnes & Noble stores, but I've been assured that this issue is getting resolved, too. If you're looking for In the Shadow of Blackbirds at a Barnes & Noble and can't find it in the YA section, please check with a staff member. It was mistakenly labeled as juvenile fiction for kids ages 7 to 12.

Be sure to check out yesterday's post for all my latest interview and giveaway stops. Here are three more places I visited today:

A character interview with Mary Shelley Black that includes a sample of WWI-era jazz.
The post is part of the 2013 Standalone Reading Challenge.

I'm vlogging about the Spanish influenza aspect of In the Shadow of Blackbirds...while wearing a flu mask.

A This or That interview, part of the In the Shadow of Blackbirds blog tour and giveaway.

On display at Powell's Books in Beaverton, OR.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Publication Day!!!

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is officially out in the world today!

Lauren DeStefano will be hosting a Twitter chat with me at 4:00 pm EDT/1:00 pm PDT this afternoon (4/2/13). To follow along and ask me questions about the novel, please join us at that time, using #blackbirdsnovel. The chat will likely run for about an hour.

You can also find me at the following locations today:

I answered 10 questions on my publisher's I shared a hint about my new book and a photo of my scary blackbird balloon.

Mundie Moms:
Guest post & giveaway: The Strange, Sad Story of Spirit Photography.

Distraction No. 99:
Novelist Nova Ren Suma (17 & Gone, Imaginary Girls) interviewed me as part of her spotlight on April 2013 debut novels. Giveaway included!

Jessica Spotswood's Blog:
The author of Born Wicked and Star Cursed (and one of my fellow Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks members) interviewed me as part of her Thrice Interview series. There's also a giveaway for a signed finished copy!

Read My Breath Away:
I discussed my top favorite historical eras...and I'm giving away a signed finished copy!

Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks:
Seven historical novelists interviewed me about
In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

One Four KidLit:
2014 debut novelist Meredith McCardle interviewed me as part of the Gettin' Lucky series.
I'll be celebrating with a book launch party at Powell's Books in Beaverton, Oregon, this Saturday, April 6, at 4:00 p.m., and all this week you can find me chatting about the novel and giving away prizes on my blog tour.

Reviews for this novel have blown me away, and I'm so grateful for every single one of them. Here's a sampling:

“Winters’s masterful debut novel is an impressively researched marriage of the tragedies of wartime, the 1918 flu epidemic, the contemporaneous Spiritualism craze, and a chilling love story and mystery... deliciously creepy.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Winters strikes just the right balance between history and ghost story, neatly capturing the tenor of the times, as growing scientific inquiry collided with heightened spiritualist curiosity.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This engrossing combination of historical fiction, ghost story, psychological thriller, and straight-up whodunit moves between genres with stunning ease, maximizing the tropes of each to satisfying effect.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Mary Shelley is a likable, sympathetic heroine, and through her story, teen readers will get a glimpse of a fascinating time period, made all the more real by the haunting historic photographs that pepper the novel.

[A] gorgeous production...The book’s historic setting is as much a star as the plucky Mary Shelley...
Library Journal

“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

I'm not the only one with a debut novel entering the world this week. Here are five fellow members of The Lucky 13s who are celebrating early-April book birthdays along with me:

Elisabeth Dahl, Genie Wishes
Claire M. Caterer, The Key & the Flame
J.J. Howard, That Time I Joined the Circus
Justina Ireland, Vengeance Bound
Jessica Verdi, My Life after Now
Joe Lawlor,
Nancy J. Cavanaugh, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet 

Also, today marks the release of Heather Snow's Sweet Madness. Heather and I share the same literary agent, Barbara Poelle.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, April 1, 2013

UK Release Day!

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is officially available in the UK today, one day earlier than it is in the U.S.! The same hardcover version of the book is releasing in both locations, Americanisms and'll just get to read it a little sooner over there.

To celebrate, Abrams & Chronicle Books is sharing photos and quotes from the novel on both Twitter and Facebook. I'm extremely grateful for their enthusiasm for the book!

UK purchasing links for In the Shadow of Blackbirds: