Today we're excited to chat with Cat Winters, author of Odd & True. Read on for more about Cat and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Cat Winters!
Cat Winters is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novels The Steep and Thorny Way, The Cure for Dreaming, and In the Shadow of Blackbirds, the latter of which collected three starred reviews and was a William C. Morris Award YA Debut Award finalist. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit the author at catwinters.com.
In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Odd & True was inspired by real-life sightings of a mythical creature called the Leeds Devil (aka the Jersey Devil) during one week in January 1909. People across New Jersey and Philadelphia claimed to have witnessed the monster flying, shrieking, and prowling around, and dozens of newspaper articles from that week described the mass hysteria that resulted. To create Odd & True, I took my curiosity about what really happened in 1909 and combined it with my desire to write an homage to my relationship with my sister, my love of historical family dramas, and my fascination with fairy tales and legends.
2. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title and novel showed up in my head simultaneously. Like I said, I knew I wanted to write a novel about the 1909 Leeds Devil craze, but it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to write it. After a visit with my sister down in San Diego, California, I sat down on my couch in my living room one night, and both the plot and the title of Odd & True suddenly hit me in one spectacular moment of inspiration that I wish would happen every time I sit on that couch. I knew my main characters, a pair of sisters, should have names that could turn into the nicknames Od and Tru to match the title. Eventually, I decided to call them Odette and Trudchen.
3. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Od’s last scene, which is both the beginning and ending of the book (that sentence will make sense when you read the novel). I read the book aloud to my then-eleven-year-old son when as I was writing it, and I realized this was a novel about the loss of childhood magic and the incredible power of stories. That scene epitomizes what I discovered I’d been saying throughout the entire book.
4. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The Tim Burtonesque vibe combined with two badass girls.
5. What’s up next for you?
I’m hard at work on a new YA novel about the teenage years of a real-life historical figure. I haven’t yet officially announced the book, so I’m still keeping the main character a secret.
6. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
It would be a spoiler to say too much about the scene, but it’s a section toward the end of the book when Od is convinced she’s in a room with La Llorona, a spirit from a Mexican legend that I learned about when growing up in Southern California.
7. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, definitely! I feel like first drafts are basic pencil sketches, and revisions are the stage when a writer gets to add all the colors, the atmosphere, the depth, and the minute details.
8. What would you say is your superpower?
Organization. It’s the only way to survive in a chaotic world!
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I’d like to give a shout-out to Literary Arts, a non-profit here in Portland, Oregon. Among other great contributions to the local community, Literary Arts serves teens in both public and alternative high schools by bringing authors into classrooms, publishing students’ work in literary anthologies, and offering assistance with college and scholarship applications.
Odd & True
By: Cat Winters
Release Date: September 12, 2017