Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Tour: In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


                                                                                
Book Description

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.

             
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Cat Winters
Interview:

1.Describe your book in one sentence?
In 1918, a sixteen-year-old girl must face a world war, a deadly flu, and the ghost of her first love.

2. What inspired you to write the book?
When I was twelve, I learned about two girls in England who, in 1917 and 1920, fooled the world into thinking they had photographed fairies in their backyard. Even educated grown-ups believed the girls' photos were genuine because they desperately needed an escape from the horrors of World War I.

That strange and sad history fascinated me, and when I grew up, I again stumbled upon those fake fairy photos, this time in a magazine article that also described the popularity of
séances during the time period. It would take me several manuscript attempts before I came up with a plot that I felt did justice to this early-twentieth-century belief in spirits and supernatural photos, but that's how In the Shadow of Blackbirds first came into being.

3. Favorite character, why?
I have a soft spot in my heart for my protagonist, Mary Shelley Black. She can be stubborn and short-tempered at times, but she's also curious and compassionate and would go to the ends of the earth to help someone she loves. Plus she's really handy to have around the house. She loves to take things apart and figure out how to fix them, so whenever one of my own household appliances has a problem, I wish my brain was a little more like hers.

4. Your most anticipated book/s to read this year?
I still need to catch up on some 2012 releases I've been dying to read, like Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL and Elizabeth Wein's CODE NAME VERITY. Ruta Sepetys's OUT OF THE EASY is currently sitting on my to-read pile, calling my name.
Through my involvement in the group The Lucky 13s, I've gotten the chance to read early copies of several books by 2013 debut YA and middle-grade novelists, and I can honestly say that this is an outstanding year for diverse and gripping new fiction.

5. Favorite Starbucks drink?

Tall hot chocolates. I'm not a coffee fan, but I have a weakness for coffeehouse hot chocolates topped with whipped cream. Yummm...


16 comments:

  1. I find the origins of the book fascinating! I don't think I've heard about the fake fairy photos but I can only imagine how you could draw a memorable story from that. Overall In the Shadow of Blackbirds sounds like an eerie, remarkable read. I can't wait to try it!

    ♥ Karielle Stephanie @ Books à la Mode

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    1. Thank you, Karielle! The Cottingley Fairy photos can be found at http://www.cottingley.net/fairies.shtml. It's a fascinating story!

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  2. I adored Marry Shelley, but Stephen was still my favorite. I always fall for characters that need protecting.
    I loved this book so much, every word of it, and I can't wait for other people to read it.
    Oh, and Code Name Verity and Out of the Easy are SO good! I just bought Gone Girl and I need to read it asap.

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    1. Thank you so much for all you've done to help spread the word about this book, Maja! I've heard other people referring to your review and saying you've convinced them to give it a try. :)

      It's a close call between Mary Shelley and Stephen for me. I care for them both so much...and I do feel bad for all that I put them through.

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  3. I hear nothing but good things about this story. That time period is fascinating but so very sad. If that happened now and we lost the percentages the world would freak out. Lovely interview and post. :)

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    1. I'm thrilled you're hearing good things about the story!

      You're right about the world potentially freaking out if it went through something similar nowadays, especially when info can be spread so easily compared to then. In 1918, the U.S. tried to cover up how bad the flu really was, although the realities of the disease became obvious when it spread from town to town.

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  4. I couldn't believe it when I first read about those girls and their fairy pictures! As a fellow historical fiction writer, I can't wait to read your book and review it on my blog: christiemurillo.blogspot.com.

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    1. Thanks so much, Christie! The Cottingley Fairies is a strange and almost unbelievable story, isn't it? I recently found some footage of one of the girls when she was an older woman, explaining how she cut fairy pictures out of an illustrated children's book to create the photos.

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  5. I love hot chocolate too! I like coffe but nothing beats a good hot chocolate. I'm going to have to go look up those two girls and their fake fairy photos. I've never heard of that before but it's really interesting!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. Hooray for another hot chocolate drinker! I'm a grown-up who's not ashamed to order it in coffeehouses. :)

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  6. This is a great post Cat! I love learning about what inspires an author to write their book in the first place! Also Gone Girl, Out of the Easy and Code Name Verity you must get onto them soon! I adored all three! Thanks for sharing this post with us! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jasprit! I already have two of the three books on my shelf, waiting for me to find time to read them. I can't wait!

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  7. Mary Shelley Black is one of my new favourite characters. She's incredibly admirable, more than anything, though I do utterly love Stephen too. :)

    I hope you get to read Out of the Easy and Code Name Verity soon, Cat! Both were brilliant reads for me. Gone Girl is currently sitting on my pile too and I can't wait to get started on it.

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that about Mary Shelley Black, Sam! That's music to my ears!

      I hope I can get to reading again soon. I've had to put my free reading time aside lately...and that pile of books is calling to me.

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  9. Just read the Temple Wars Novel on Ganesha! The story is well told through a parallel protagonist Tarun who helps Ganesha retrieve his objects from the spirit world. It's a page-turner that will have you wanting more. You guys should check it out! Temple Wars

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