Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013 Debut Authors Bash: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (Guest Post & Giveaway)

Debut Authors Bash at Today I am lucky enough to participate in YAReads 2013 Debut Authors Bash - a way to celebrate and recognize the amazing first-time YA authors of the year. I am SO excited to host In the Shadow of Blackbirds author, Cat Winters (check out my review here ). I read - and loved - this book early in the summer and can't wait for more people to discover this creepy historical horror story (leave the lights on when going to bed...seriously).

Although her novel scared me enough on its own, Cat Winters decided to keep the fear in my heart by writing about her Top 10 Ghost Movies - if you're a scaredy-cat like me, make sure to watch these on a nice bright sunny day! Cat is also gracious enough to giveaway (sign-up for a chance to win below) a SIGNED copy of her debut novel - YAY! Thanks for stopping by Cat; The Cure for Dreaming is already on my TBR list!

Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters Website Twitter Facebook
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Pages: 400

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Top 10 Ghost Movies
by Cat Winters

If you’ve read my debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, you probably won’t be surprised to learn I’ve been a fan of ghost movies ever since I was a kid. If a film gives me nightmares, I hold it in high regard.

Here are my top ten favorite ghostly movies, listed in alphabetical order (I had a hard time ranking them in order of importance). Turn off the lights, keep a flickering candle by your side, and enjoy.

The Blue Boy: A Masterpiece Theatre production from 1994, this haunting, hidden gem starring Emma Thompson may be hard to find these days, but I highly recommend digging it up if you can. It’s the tale of a troubled married couple and the ghost of a drowned little boy, all told in an atmospheric Scottish setting.

Child of Glass: Probably the very first ghost movie I ever saw, this little-known Disney film from 1978 introduced me to the classic tradition of troubled spirits needing to be put to rest. In this case, a young boy must help the restless ghost of a Louisiana girl solve a riddle involving a vicious pirate and the titular child of glass.

Corpse Bride: Clearly, The Nightmare before Christmas is the star of Tim Burton’s animated feature films, but I prefer his dark and touching story of a young man who accidentally marries the ghost of a murdered bride. If you’ve read In the Shadow of Blackbirds, you’ll know I’m intrigued by legends involving butterflies and souls. I cry ever single time I watch the butterfly scene at the end of this movie.

The Others: A spooky, old house in England, ghostly voices, séances, creepy Victorian post-mortem photography. Fans of my novel will need no explanation as to why I love this eerie Nicole Kidman film. One of my absolute favorite movies.

Poltergeist: This terrifying suburban haunted house tale premiered when I was a ten-year-old fan of all things ghostly, and I could NOT wait to see it. All the real-life horror stories involving the cast made this classic film all the more chilling when my mom finally let me watch it. “They’re here...”

The Shining: Looking at my list, I see that kids and creepiness seem to go hand-in-hand when it comes to a good ghost movie. Whether it’s little Danny Torrance speaking in his freaky “shining” voice or those spectral twin girls saying, “Come and play with us, Danny. Forever... and ever... and ever,” The Shining excels at providing spooky kiddie scenes. Daddy Jack Nicholson will also give you nightmares.

The Sixth Sense: Yes, most people already know about the big twist at the end of this classic Bruce Willis/Haley Joel Osment ghost movie, but even when I’ve rewatched it, the film has given me goose bumps. One of my favorite things about The Sixth Sense is the way M. Night Shyamalan took a typical American city—Philadelphia—and turned it into a spine-tingling, Gothic world. I was definitely influenced by that technique when I used “sunny San Diego” as my In the Shadow of Blackbirds setting.

Vertigo: A classic Alfred Hitchcock film involving a detective hired to follow a man’s wife to see if she’s possessed by the long-dead ghost of a San Francisco woman. The music, the mystery, the Hitchockian look and plot all make this treasure one of my top-favorite movies of all time.

The Watcher in the Woods: Another ghostly Disney movie I fell in love with around the same time I saw Child of Glass. It’s the tale of a family haunted by a presence that may be the ghost of a long-missing teenage girl. This movie scared my sister so badly when we were kids that I can’t even say the title to her to this day.

The Woman in Black: When I studied theater in London years ago, I got the chance to see the theater adaptation of this story, which started as a novel by Susan Hill. When the movie, starring Daniel Radcliff, debuted in 2012, I hoped it would be as good as both the play and the book, and the film definitely delivered. Don’t blink and miss the heart-stopping final image before the closing credits roll. The entire movie will haunt you late into the night.

Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, is a nominee for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth. Her second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, is coming Fall 2014 from Amulet Books. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at

                                                             a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm too much of a wimp to watch ghost movies. I did like the Sixth Sense, though!

    Thanks for hosting!

  2. I Love creepy reads!! However, I like them with the light on :)

  3. Replies
    1. US only...sorry! I will change the rafflecopter to reflect that.

  4. Cat Winters impressed me so much with this book that I'm *tempted* to try to watch The Woman in Black, even though ghost movies creep me the heck out, because Watcher in the Woods was one of my favorite movies growing up, and she liked it too.