Book Raid: In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters plus Giveaway

BOOK RAID is an exclusive blog feature here in Mr. Book Wonder that highlights debut or latest books by way of an author interview.

I am very much excited--ahem--I mean, I am here again for my weekly Book Raid report. I had the chance to Book Raid, I could say, one of the highly anticipated books of this year. Below is the recorded interrogation I had with author Cat Winters. Just don’t mind the creepy sounds in the background.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
RELEASE DATE. April 2, 2013
PUBLISHER. Amulet Books
BUY FROM. Amazon

SYNOPSIS. In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.


Cat Winters

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 debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS—a YA ghost tale set during the World War I era—is coming April 2, 2013, from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. She currently lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

Miss Cat Winters, you have been suspected of hiding details of the book, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, from the readers. If you are not guilty of these suspicions, then I'll interrogate you with some questions about the book.

How different is IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS from other books out there?
It’s pretty different in the sense that I blend several genres together. It’s a historical novel that digs deep into the world of 1918 America, yet it’s also a ghost tale, horror story, and mystery. The book is set during World War I and the Spanish influenza pandemic—two deadly forces that killed millions of people around the globe—so there’s a sense of panic and despair that almost feels apocalyptic. People expecting a typical YA paranormal ghost tale have been surprised (usually in a good way) to find there are several more layers to this book.

How much mystery, romance, or suspense do we have to expect in IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS?
The love story between my protagonist, Mary Shelley Black, and her first love, Stephen Embers, spans the entire novel, from the first chapter to the last, and out of their relationship and their deaths (one of them dies early on in the book; the other dies momentarily but survives) evolves the mystery and suspense. One of the characters isn’t resting peacefully, and the other one wants to know why not.

What did you like writing the most: the beginning, the middle or the ending?
That’s a really hard question to answer. I spent a great deal of time revising the book, and different sections became my favorite parts at different times. Initially, the beginning was the easiest to write. The first chapter, especially, poured out in one sitting. I don’t know—I honestly enjoyed writing this entire book.

What was your favorite chapter or part to write?
Chapter three has always been one of my favorites. It contains a flashback scene that shows Mary Shelley and Stephen’s last day together before Stephen heads off to war. I really enjoyed creating moments between them that conveyed both the innocence and the darkness of their lives.

Provide us a short quote or two from IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS.

'Someone was with me.'

'I’d experienced that sensation before, in the dark, fresh out of a nightmare—the belief that something was staring at me from across the room in the shadows of my furniture. In the past, the stranger always ended up being a doll or a chair reflecting moonlight. But this time I was positive someone would be there if I checked.'

Thank you for your time Miss Winters! It is advised that you are free of all the suspicion of hiding IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS from the readers!

Cat Winters has offered to give away an In the Shadow of Blackbirds swag pack to one lucky reader. To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter. Giveaway is open to everyone. You must be 13 years old or above to enter. Winners will be notified via email. Giveaway ends April 14, 2013.

Stay tuned for another week of book raiding! You might discover a new favorite read!

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