Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Monster Sightings That Inspired ODD & TRUE

Evening Star (Washington, DC), January 24, 1909 (Library of Congress)

A real-life monster hunt in early-1900s New Jersey inspired the creation of my newest novel, Odd & True.

During one bizarre week in January 1909, terrified witnesses throughout the Delaware Valley claimed to have seen a creature rumored to have haunted the Pine Barrens of New Jersey since the 1700s. They called this strange beast the "Leeds Devil," or the "Jersey Devil," and the newspapers from the era referred to the thing as the "Flying Hoof," the "Flying Death," the "New Jersey What-Is-It," and a "monstrosity."

The Sun (New York), January 21, 1909 (Library of Congress)

A museum owner in Philadelphia offered a $500 award for the Devil's capture. Huntsmen in New Jersey formed posses to conquer the creature.

And then, as quickly as the Leeds Devil had arrived, he disappeared.

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 1909
What happened to the monster? What was it that the residents of New Jersey and Philadelphia actually saw? Were the January 1909 Devil sightings a case of mass hysteria? Or did something sinister genuinely run loose across the Delaware Valley that cold and snowy winter?

My imagination craved answers.

In September 2014, I visited my sister down in San Diego to celebrate her birthday. I told her some of my newest book ideas, and I mentioned the Leeds Devil as a possible topic for a novel.

Me and my sister, Old Town San Diego, 2014.
Oddly enough, my sister said that she happened to have a friend who was descended from the Leeds family that had inspired the centuries-old legend of the Jersey Devil! She promised to one day introduce me to her.

That conversation, as well as the rest of my time spent with my sister in Old Town San Diego—during which we searched for spirits on a ghost tour, drank tea in a haunted Victorian house, and chatted about other intriguing tales from history—led to my sitting down on my couch in November 2014 and suddenly knowing how to write my Leeds Devil novel . . . which is how Odd & True came to be.

Manchester Township, NJ
Another peculiar twist in this story-behind-the-story: 

One year after my visit with my sister, a high school English teacher from none other than the Pine Barrens of New Jersey invited me to come speak at her school. Eager to travel to Leeds Devil territory, I accepted, and while there, I learned from the students just how much the legend of the Devil is alive and well to this day. Perhaps the Leeds Devil himself played a role in bringing me to his home. đŸ˜²

In future posts, I'll discuss other legends, historical sites, and personal experiences that inspired the creation of Odd & True. 

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ODD & TRUE Countdown-to-September Giveaways

Odd & True hits shelves September 12, 2017, which means we're less than five months away from publication! To celebrate the countdown to the release date, I'm running three special giveaways from now through September 11. Here are the details . . .

APRIL 2017

I'm currently running an international Twitter giveaway for an advance reading copy (ARC) of Odd & True. To enter, follow me on Twitter (@catwinters) and retweet this tweet about the giveaway. Ends midnight of April 30, 2017.

MAY 2017

As soon as I receive my beautiful Odd & True bookmarks (which are currently in the works at the printer), I'll launch an Instagram giveaway for an ARC and bookmarks. I'm not sure which day in May this giveaway will start. Make sure you're already following me on Instagram so you don't miss out (@catwintersbooks).

JUNE 12 to SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

I'm working on the details for a pre-order giveaway for Odd & True prize packages that will start in June and end the day before the release date. To enter this one, you'll need to pre-order Odd & True from your favorite online bookstore and provide a screenshot or a scan of your receipt. Entries won't be accepted until after I post the details on June 12, but if you've already pre-ordered the book or plan to in the near future, please keep the receipt. Pre-orders made at any time will count.

My publisher, Abrams, also tends to run giveaways for advance copies of books on Goodreads. Be sure to add Odd & True to your Goodreads shelf so you can receive a giveaway notification.

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Monday, April 10, 2017

ODD & TRUE galleys

Advance reading copies (ARCs) of Odd & True have arrived! The finished version of the book will be a hardcover edition that I'm sure will be absolutely gorgeous, but the ARCs are also beautiful.

Here's a gallery of photos of my pretties:

If you're a reviewer, bookseller, librarian, etc., and you've received an ARC, please keep in mind that this is an uncorrected proof. Odd & True has already gone through two more stages of edits since the ARC was printed, and proofreaders are continuing to pore over the pages. The following are examples of items that have already been changed/corrected:

  • The Spanish word "vĂ¡monos" is misspelled in the ARC, but I've verified that it will be spelled correctly in the finished copy of the book. I deeply regret making a mistake in a language that's not my own and apologize for this error.
  • In the finished copy, I've gone into more detail about the mechanics of Tru's leg brace. In the ARC, I didn't show how her leg was able to bend in the brace, but that's since been fixed. I also altered scenes in which she was kneeling, knowing this would be difficult for her.
  • Typos, formatting errors, and overly repeated words are still getting fixed at this moment.

If you review and/or purchase books and would like to receive an advance copy of Odd & True, please contact the appropriate publicist listed on my Contact page (there's a U.S. publicist and an international publicist). The book will also be available from NetGalley this summer.

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.