Interview: Cat Winters, YA Author

CatWintersBW_webCat Winters‘s critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS (Amulet Books, April 2013), is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who faces WWI, the deadly Spanish influenza, and a ghost.

Her second novel, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, is coming Fall 2014 (Amulet Books).

She has lived most of her life in Southern California but now makes her home in Portland, Oregon. 

Follow Cat on her website.

Let’s see how Cat answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
The warm and soul-lifting experience of family holidays, whether it’s a summer trip to the ocean or a cozy Christmas morning with the smell of pancakes in the air.

BlackbirdsCoverFinal_SmWhat is your present state of mind?
Slightly stressed about deadlines and an upcoming promotional trip for IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS.

What is your motto?
Everything’s going to be all right. (Which is what I’m currently telling myself in my current state of mind).

What is your favorite journey?
Motherhood. It’s changed my entire way of looking at the world and myself.

What is your favorite time of day?
Noon. Lunchtime is my favorite meal, and I’m most productive directly afterward.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Scout Finch. She’s too young for coffee, but I’d love to buy her a hot chocolate and chat with her about Boo and Atticus and her life in general.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing. I love belting out songs, but I know I’m not always good at it.

On what occasion do you lie?
I’m a terrible liar with a conscience that haunts me for even minor offenses, so I can only tell little white lies, like “No, I haven’t been drinking too much soda or eating too many chips lately.”

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
“The Tide Is High” by Blondie. I first heard it as a kid, because my dad owned every single Blondie album. The song always reminds me of childhood summer days growing up in Southern California.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Every time I sit down in a car to drive or prepare to do something in the house, I have a habit of sighing and saying, “All right,” as if I’m planning my next big move. I’m not sure why. I guess my multitasking brain needs to sort out what I’m doing next.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I need to see my kids grow up to be happy and healthy adults.

AlphonseMuchaWho or what is your first love?
Adam, my college boyfriend and husband of almost twenty years.

Your favorite painting?
Anything by Alphonse Mucha. I could wallpaper my entire house with his work.

What’s the last dream you remember?
It was a frustrating, boring dream in which my daughter’s middle school rearranged their drop-off area to make things less chaotic, but it only made dropping off kids more miserable. In real life, I hate her school’s drop-off area and can feel my blood pressure rise every time I watch parents ignoring the signs that say, “PULL ALL THE WAY FORWARD.”

What’s your madeleine?
Music. Like I mentioned with “The Tide Is High,” any time I hear a song that carries me back to a powerful memory, especially a joyful early memory, I get emotional. It’s like stepping into a time machine that takes me back to a simpler moment.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?

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