Author Interview: Cat Winters

Author Interview

Meet Cat Winters.

CatWinters2018_1.jpg

Social media links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/catwinters
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catwintersbooks/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catwintersbooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/catwinters/

The Interview.

Hi Cat! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you so much for hosting me! I’m the author of five novels for teens: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Steep and Thorny Way, Odd & True, and a new novel about Edgar Allan Poe’s teenage years, The Raven’s Tale, which debuted this past April. I’m also the author of two novels for adults, The Uninvited and Yesternight, and I contributed to the young adult horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. My work is heavily influenced by classic Gothic literature and strange, dark, and haunting history. I’m known for blending historical fiction with the supernatural.

What first attracted you to dark fiction? Is there a certain element that you enjoy more so than others?

In the second grade, when I was browsing the shelves of my elementary school’s library, I found a book about real-life houses that were purported to be haunted. The horrific accounts of hauntings and creepy photographs in those pages both terrified and fascinated me. Shortly afterward, I started believing that my own bedroom was haunted, and I became drawn to all sorts of stories about ghosts, including novels and short story collections I discovered through my school’s Scholastic book orders. Eventually, I started writing my own eerie stories and poems.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I love the rush of terror that accompanies a good, atmospheric ghost tale, even though I’m terribly afraid of being alone in the dark and would never sleep in a room reputed to be haunted. Psychological horror and suspenseful tales of haunted people and places are my preference for dark fiction. I’m not always a fan of gory horror, unless it’s done cleverly, like in Poe’s short stories.

Did any of your books (whether it was a certain character or plot point) surprise you after you had turned in your last round of edits prior to publishing?

Odd & True probably surprised me the most. It originally started as an adult novel that was very much historical fiction without any fantasy elements involved, beyond a main character’s belief in monster legends. Then it seemed to want to be a supernatural YA novel about monster-hunting sisters that also paid tribute to the power of storytelling. By the time I turned in the last edits, the novel had turned into a book about the pain of letting go of childhood magic and innocence, which I hadn’t initially realized would be a major element of the characters’ journeys. It’s actually one of my darkest and most personal works of fiction.

YA vs. Adult fiction. To you, how are they similar and different? Do you enjoy writing for one age group more than the other?

To me, the main difference between writing YA and writing adult fiction is the fact that protagonists in YA novels typically range in age from 15 to 18 years old, and protagonists in adult novels are usually older than 18. There are some books that blur the lines between YA and adult fiction, but truly the ages of the main characters are the key distinction. If the author is writing from the point of view of a character who currently is or recently was a teenager, then the book likely gets shelved as YA.

I don’t water anything down for my books for teens, and I certainly don’t hold back on exploring darker subjects. I honestly don’t prefer writing for one age group over the other. The stories themselves determine whether the novel should be YA or adult fiction, and I set out to write the strongest book that I can, no matter the target audience.

What was your first author event (be it a convention, signing, or school visit) like?

My first event as a debut author was the 2013 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, WA. While there, I quickly discovered the wonderful, infectious enthusiasm librarians bestow upon authors. My publisher, Abrams, invited me to sign free galleys for my debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and when I showed up at the Abrams booth, I was stunned to find a long line of excited librarians waiting to meet me. They made me feel like a rock star! I’m extremely grateful for the support of librarians, teachers, bloggers, booksellers, and anyone else who spreads their passion for reading to others.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

Once a week I meet up with local author friends to write in an indie coffeehouse. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week.

Do you have a writing schedule or just find yourself writing when inspiration strikes?

During my entire career as a published writer, I’ve been the parent of two kids, so writing has always been very much been based around their school schedules. When they’re in school, I write as much as possible. When they’re home, finding the time to fully immerse myself in my fictional worlds gets more challenging. Thankfully, I have a home office with a door I can close and a helpful husband who likes to cook. To help pay the bills, I take on freelance work and teach workshops, so even when the kids are away, I can’t always write whenever inspiration strikes. Like most writers, I’ve had to develop the skill and the discipline to sit down and write productively when time permits, and when I’m working to meet deadlines, I’m often writing deep into the night.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I’d like to invite readers to visit my website, http://www.catwinters.com. I’ve posted special links and bonus material for all my books over there, and schools and libraries can find information about my author visits and downloadable teaching guides.

 

 

Thank you Cat for stopping by Bookish Looks!

Book Blast for Author Larry Yoke

Spotlight Tour

DSCN0391 (2).JPGMeet Larry Yoke.

I’ve been writing short stories and poems since a child. I have taught English as a Second Language (ESL) as well as English, Literature, Reading and Writing (ELRW) at the High School level in Garland, Texas. I’ve used many of my own writings as teaching aids in various classes. I have taken several writing courses through the University of Texas at Dallas, Amberton University, and the University of Iowa, School of Writing. I have a BABA and a MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas and Amberton University, respectively.  I have had the honor of some of my poetry being chosen for Emerging Poets Anthologies, 2017, 2019 and 2020.I won a national writing competition for my novel “Broke Girl” (Fiction Crime: 2018). I have several books published for sale on the major online books stores.

Social Media Links:
https://yokeld7.wixsite.com/website-1
Facebook: Larry Yoke
Twitter: @Larry Yoke
Instagram: LarryYoke76

 

Meet His Books.

Premade Exclusive Book Cover 918 BN.jpg

Little Birds: South Dakota bragged about having the lowest crime rate in the entire country until Detective Gloria Ramos uncovers a wide spread nest of corruption that turns this idyllic state upside down.  A mad man is on the loose and it takes Gloria and her new partner, an ex-FBI agent now sheriff joining wits to bring him down. A thriller of high flying adventure from beginning to end. Buy a copy on all major online book retailers!

 

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Coming soon!

Crossing Rivers:  The story is full of tears, joy, humor, fear, terror, and a lot of love and forgiveness along the way. In the end Hunter discovers that his faith in himself, in his mother and the father who died when he was only thirteen, and in God has been eternally strengthened.

Book Purchase Links:

Novels: 

Possum Kingdom

Broke Girl

Little Birds

Second Chances

 

Anthologies: 

America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers

America’s Emerging Poets 2018: West Region

Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets 

Blog Tour: The Library of Lost Things

Blog Tour, Misc.

The Library of Lost Things

By Laura Taylor Namey
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release date: October 8th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Books about Books

Synopsis:
From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.
While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.
Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.
Book Links:  photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg
Official Book Playlist
THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS official Spotify Playlist: 
About the Author
Laura is a Cuban-American Californian who can be found haunting her favorite coffee shops, drooling over leather jackets, and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two superstar children.
This former teacher writes young adult novels about quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. Her debut, THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS will be published 10/08/19 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. Her #ownvoices sophomore project, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO SWEATERS AND STARS is coming fall 2020 from Atheneum Simon and Schuster.
Social Media Links:
Giveaway Details Below:
Prize: Win a copy of THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS by Laura Taylor Namey
(INT)
Starts: 8th October 2019
Ends: 22nd October 2019
Click here to enter!
Blog Tour Schedule Here.
Bookstagram Schedule Here.
Tour Organized By:
FFBC tours logo

Author Interview With Kelly Gilbert

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Kelly Gilbert.

Author Kelly Loy

Kelly Loy Gilbert is the author of CONVICTION and PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT.  She is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Social Media Links: 
Website: kellyloygilbert.com
Twitter: @kellyloygilbert
Instagram: @kellyloygilbert

 

The Interview.

What to you is the purpose of a ‘broken’ character in YA?

I think all people are broken people—to varying degrees—and I think I’m always so interested in the ways that people are broken because even though so many times people can’t help what happens to them, they can always end up making it worse.  And I’m interested I guess in those ways that does and doesn’t happen—I love redemptions stories and stories about communities rallying around someone to lift them up, for instance.  But I think also characters should reflect ourselves—we should be able to see ourselves even in the worst ones, because it’s almost always a series of choices that lead people to do awful things and I think we have to let go of the fiction that we’re inherently good people and be willing to imagine ourselves in those situations.  I think also brokenness means nuance and complexity, and that’s true of all people, too.

When writing, are there certain points, themes, or motifs you try to always portray in some way?

Stephanie Appell, who’s the lovely YA manager at the famed Parnassus Books, asked a question when I was doing an event there earlier this summer: what is the question your books are always asking?  I loved that so much, and I think mine is always the question of how much we owe each other.  And what that looks like, how far it needs to go, when do you need to pull back. etc. And I’m always interested in family, in history, in grace.

Right away I was captivated by “It’s hard to turn away from someone after you’ve really seen them. You carry that part of them with you, and it becomes your job to protect it, too” on Picture Us In The Light’s info page. Do you often find people from everyday life inspiring or appearing in your writings – whether they play a minor or major part?

Actually, never!  With extremely rare and minor exceptions, I never write about people I know.  I think I would be too worried about getting them right and what they’d think, and I’d also feel less freedom in who their character was and what they did.

That said, though, of course small details from people I know and love crop up occasionally—sometimes subconsciously on my part—and sometimes I don’t even realize it’s drawn from real life until someone tells me.  I also always name characters after people I love.

How do you tackle the idea of ‘real’ and powerful but gritty factors of humanity in your writing?

I think my process is always just writing and deleting and rewriting and more deleting until my characters start to feel like real people to me.  part of that I think is always going to be taking an honest look at their flaws and secrets and vulnerabilities, and also those things they want so badly that they’d be willing to do quite a bit to make it come true for them—I think that’s where things can start to feel gritty.  And sometimes intentions are noble, and sometimes they’re not—people are motivated by so many different things.   I think that makes characters connect more powerfully with readers, though, too, because when you know the depths they can sink to it means something different to see them rise above that.

 

Check out her website for more bookish fun!

Interview with Author Elizabeth Richards

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Elizabeth Richards.

elizabeth richards author photo

 

The Interview.

 

Welcome Elizabeth! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hiya Rae, thanks for having me! Here’s my official blurb:

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist, who spent her early career reviewing videogames before making the bold (or crazy) move into travel writing, despite suffering from terrible travel sickness.

In her spare time, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favourite bands, go to gigs and basically blag loads of free swag all in the name of ‘research’.

Elizabeth lives in Northamptonshire, England, with her husband. BLACK CITY (book #1), PHOENIX (book #2) and WINGS (book #3) formed her debut trilogy, The Black City Chronicles, published by Putnam/Penguin.

 

You can only play one video game for the rest of the year, what game do you choose?

Oooh, that’s a good question. At the start of the year, my husband and I splashed out on the PS4 VR gaming system and we’ve been playing Super Hot a lot. It’s like being in the Matrix. Although, if I had to only pick one game for the rest of the year then it would be Uncharted 4. The story line is excellent, the gameplay varied with a good mixture of puzzles and action and Nathan Drake is a charismatic hero.

 

Travel writing *dreamy sigh* so lovely. What is a place you traveled to that has stuck with you?

The moment that has most stuck with me during my travel writing days was standing on the deck of a cruise ship on a clear starry night, watching Stromboli erupt. I’ll never forget that feeling or awe and wonder. It was remarkable.

 

Has your lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls influenced your Black City novels in any way?

It made me want to ensure that my main female lead, Natalie, was strong and complex – I didn’t want her to be ‘just’ the love interest to my hero, Ash. I wanted her to be someone with agency, who had ambition, a strong mind and heart, and someone who challenged authority when she felt they were wrong, even if it meant putting herself at risk. More than anything, I wanted her to be someone who allowed herself to make mistakes and was willing to grow and change, which she does over the course of the trilogy, from a spoilt Sentry brat to the leader of a rebellion.

 

Post-apocalyptic, love story, and bloody war advertising your first novel, Black City. Was there any scenes, love or destruction wise, that you found difficult to complete?

There is a scene in the final book in the trilogy, WINGS, when Ash receives some news about his father, which completely crushed me. I won’t say anything more for fear of spoilers, but those who have read it will know the bit I mean. It was a quiet moment, but one that changes Ash’s life forever and it broke my heart. I felt so mean writing it!

 

Can you share any works in progress that you have brewing in your writing office?

At the moment I’m working on an adult thriller- it’s in its early stages, so too soon to reveal much about it, but I’m thoroughly enjoying trying my hand at a new genre and writing for an older audience. It’s a very different experience from writing my YA novels, but I’m enjoying the challenge!

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

If they’d like to get in touch with me to chat about books or writing, I can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/officialelizabethrichards) or on Twitter (@theredpenofdoom). I’m always happy to answer any questions they may have about my books or publishing in general!

Witch-y Wednesday: Guest Post: The Lit Coven

Guest Post, October Spooky Features

logo_Lit-Coven.pngMeet The Lit Coven.

The Lit Coven is an adults only book club centered around the fantasy genre, that started in 2015. This post was written by Paige (@moonst0rm on Twitter) on behalf of The Lit Coven. Paige is a founding member, witch, and graphic designer (moonstorm.design).

Social Links:
Twitter @thelitcoven
Instagram @thelitcoven
Goodreads “Lit Coven” https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/49431126-lit-coven
http://www.thelitcoven.com

The Guest Post.

“What are you reading?” isn’t the always the easiest question to answer when asked by a non-bookish person, or a stranger, when you are deep into a fantasy world with its own magic system. Do you answer excitedly and start explaining everything that is going on? Do you try to explain what magic even is? Because honestly sometime it depends on the book. Personally, my answer in the past tended to be “A book”, “A mystery”, “It’s about witches”. Which would generally lead to someone making fun of me for just reading in general (wut?!). Let’s not even get started on the whole “adults-reading-YA” debacle (which is ridiculous).

 

When you find people who happen to be reading the same magical book as you, I recommend holding on to them. That is just how The Lit Coven came to be.

In February 2015, While reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I shared with a friend who I knew I could trust with my book interests because she had the same tastes. She knew of a few more people that love fantasy and this led to 4 of us creating a group chat to talk about the series. Our group chat was originally titled “Book Worms” until a few months later the idea for a name change to “Lit Coven” sparked and it stuck ever since. Then, we’d just go with the flow of whatever we felt like reading, but as we talked about our new book club online, others started gaining interest. We decided to plan books a bit in advance, create discussion questions for when everyone finished, and have an organized calendar for everyone to keep up with reading goals.

Within a year, The Lit Coven grew to 20 members and a single group chat was no longer feasible to hold everyone with the book discussion and side discussions going on. We then made the decision to migrate to the BAND app, where we could have a general feed and as many members and chat rooms as we wanted. BAND has been our home base since 2016.

Since then, our membership has grown to 68 members. There are generally only about 15-20 members active at a time, depending on time of year, the books being read, or when they can fit a book club into their life. We are firm believers in putting life first, so everyone is completely understanding if someone goes silent for awhile. A lot of our members reach out to each other via other social platforms and stay in touch when not participating in The Lit Coven activities, which to me is beautiful.

 

We created The Lit Coven to be a fun space to share our love for fantasy novels and it has evolved into a growing, caring community where people from around the world are connecting with each other and forming friendships, stemming from our favorite books.

 

Here’s a sneak peek at our 2019 TBR. Be sure to check out our website or social on October 31st, the witches new year, for the official release to see the full list!

  1. The Wicked King (The Folk in the Air #2) by Holly Black
  2. King of Scars (Nikolai Book #1) by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Hollow Crown (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoradia Cordova
  4. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  5. Seafire (Seafire 1) by Natalie Parker
  6. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K Jemisin (3 book series)
  7. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  8. The Poppy War (TPW #1) by R F King
  9. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  10. Furthermore (Furthermore #1)  by Tahereh Mafi (2 book series)

 

Which Witchy book is a favorite of The Lit Coven?

(Poll options chosen from our 5 star witch-centered books; 23 votes)

39% The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

35% -All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

26% -Brooklyn Brujas Series by Zoradia Cordova

 

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Fun Facts

  • Throne of Glass chat is our longest running chat, being open since 2015
  • As of this post, we’ve read about 70 books together.
  • We have quite a few witches in our ranks.
  • Launched our website, thelitcoven.com in August 2018.