Thursday, October 29, 2015

#IABBAddict: Black by Catherine Winters

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Book Spotlight

Author: Catherine Winters

Title: Black

Pages: 246

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror

Date published: July 28, 2014

Thirty-year-old redhead Josephine Berendt has everything under control. She’s finally over her ex, Max Spencer; her third novel is about to hit the shelves; and she’s living happily alone in a quiet Denver suburb. So what if her life is missing a little action? She gets all she needs by writing about vampires – and at least her furniture won’t run away to Paris just to prove how much it doesn’t love her.

600-year-old businessman Grant Black thinks he’s just doing a favor for an old friend by keeping an eye on Josephine and her dangerously accurate storytelling. Keeping out of her life is no trouble at all – until Max shows up on her doorstep with a case of fangs and Grant is forced to meet Josephine in the fearless, foul-mouthed flesh.

Soon Josephine finds herself at the center of an undead incident of international proportions. Now every day is a test of how long she can balance her need for independence with her growing affection for a killer, and stay alive – or, at least, not dead.

Featuring some of the most famous and ruthless vampires from history and literature, BLACK interweaves traditional vampire canons with an entirely new race of vampires with its own laws and mores. Told in Josephine’s thoroughly modern voice, the book is a witty, allusive tour of the vampire world’s upper echelons and hubs of power.


I was warned; I'll admit that.
I'd been in Denver – and he'd been in Paris – for nearly three years when the letter showed up in the box, no postmark, no stamp. My name in that familiar, cramped hand, the address that he shouldn't have known. I laid it on the kitchen counter with the junk, unopened, intending to throw it out. I had nothing to say to Max Spencer, nothing that hadn't been said before he fled the country to prove how much he didn't love me.
Trash day came and went, and I passed that letter every time I went for a glass of water. I didn't want to open it – it may as well have been round and labeled "WORMS" – but I couldn't bear to get rid of it. It felt too much like throwing him away.
Part of me knew who it was when the bell rang that night. The house was cold; March hadn't come in like a lion so much as like another snowstorm, and colder air rushed in as I opened the door. I don't know what I expected after ten on a weeknight, but I didn't expect him to look so unchanged and yet so utterly different. He was the same body, ostensibly the same man who'd left me three years ago, but it seemed my bitterness had made him less than that in my head. I stared at him, hale, healthy, beautiful, and not in Paris, and promptly dropped my water glass.
"Max." I stared down at my feet; a dozen shallow cuts welled blood in scattered beads. I didn't feel them, and started to move. He touched my arm.
"Don't – you'll make it worse. I'll fix it." He eased past me in the entryway, and bent to pick up the glass around my white little feet. "You're bleeding," and he touched the cuts so gently before he went after the broom he knew I'd keep in the kitchen.
"Why are you here?"
"Didn't you get my letter? I told you I would be."
"I didn't read it." He started to sweep; I leapt for the area rug so he wouldn't touch me again.
"Any of it?"
I shook my head. He sighed as he walked around the corner to the kitchen and tipped the dustpan into the bin. "It would have been easier if you had. I'd counted on your curiosity."
"To do what?" I closed the door.
"Prepare you for me." He settled onto my sofa, adjusting the crease in his pants.
"I rather thought if I didn't answer, you'd stay away."
He was silent for a moment, his pale eyes so like mine, closed, cold. Impossible, even for one who knew him well, to guess what he might be thinking. "Unfortunately, I felt I must impose upon your hospitality. I have – stories to tell, and you're the only audience for them."


About the Author

Catherine Winters has honed her signature snark in print and in real life since she was ten. Her love of pop culture, bad television, and worse music coupled with the collection of a lifetime’s worth of useless trivia make her novels modern and witty.

In addition to writing, Ms. Winters is the Social Media Director for the Gatsby Theatre Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is employed as the principal mezzo-soprano for the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.

She lives in Denver with with her husband, daughter, and one demanding cat.

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What inspired you to become an author? 
My mother says I've been telling stories since I could talk, but I really knew I had a talent in fifth grade, when we had to write a short story weekly. My classmates loved mine, and I wrote my first series about two best friends and their adventures. 

I assume all authors also love to read, so what book inspired your love of reading? 
I honestly can't tell you. I could read before I can remember – I'm told I was about 3 when I learned. My parents put no restrictions on my reading, though, so I was able to go through absolutely anything that interested me. I think being an introvert and not having access to the internet growing up – yes, I'm old – really steered me toward books instead of to anything else. 

How old were you when you wrote your first story? 
10. I've been writing the male MC in my vampire series since I was 13. I tease Mr. Winters that he's just my second husband. 

Who are some of your favorite authors now? 
MaryJanice Davidson, Anne Rice (of course), A. S. Byatt, Charlaine Harris. Oh, and I just discovered Karen Marie Moning recently. She's amazeballs. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
Pantser. Such a pantser, in fact, that I didn't realize I had a series on my hands until I'd started Book 2. 

Are your characters based on people you know? 
Sometimes. I had a friend who asked me to put him in a novel, so I did – and out came my literary book, MADNESS. He changed the whole plot, made the book so much better. 

But generally, I stay away from taking people whole from my life and putting them on the page. I might take a quirk or a physical characteristic, but I'll mash them into other quirks and things to make new people. 

What are some of your writing rituals? 
Music. I absolutely cannot write without Spotify. Everything else is pretty flexible – where, when, how long – but music is a dealbreaker for me. 

How do other books influence your writing? 
If I'm reading something with a very distinctive voice, I find I will unintentionally copy it. I like to stay away from reading anything too old or too experimental while I'm writing for that reason. I save my classics for editing months. 

How do you get motivated to sit down and write with all the real world interruptions? 
You know, I have three other jobs. So for me, I have to treat my writing time like it's another job I'm clocking in for. I have my writing days, and I make sure my butt is in that chair by a certain time, and I have my word-count goal or my editing goals for the day, and I don't get up until they're done. It's just like showing up for my other shifts. 

Which one of your books is your favorite? 
So far, it's GOLD, hands down. I'm just really happy at how it turned out, and how I got to write about all the big questions I felt were looming in my characters' lives. It was pretty satisfying to end a trilogy, too, and I feel like it just rounds everything out, and answers all the questions that came up in the first two books. I'm just proud of it, I guess. 

If you could have a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be and why? 
My first instinct is to say, "Here in Colorado, of course, up in the mountains." Which is a valid answer, IMO, but since I live here, it also feels like a cop-out. :D

I'd love to visit Alaska, though. Some little cabin right on the water, with the mountains in the background and all that snow…Yeah. Alaska. 

If your main character were an alcoholic beverage, which beverage would they be and why? 
Grant is scotch, single-malt, preferably something aged over 20 years, and served neat. Deceptively simple, very masculine. 

Josephine is vodka. They're both perfectly clear – or, at least, think they are. 

If you could live in a fictional world, which world would you choose and why? 
This one's hard, just because when I look at all the cool shit in the world today – tiny computers in our pockets, missions to Mars, TV on demand – it almost feels like a fictional world. Like some great sci-fi classic, only cooler

What’s the best way to hide a body? 
Pigs. They'll eat anything. 

This or That

Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Paperback or e-reader? E-reader
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Peeta or Gale? Peeta
Edward or Jacob? Neither.
Money or love? Love
Tattoos or bare? Bare
Hairy or smooth? Hairy
Call or text? Text
Hot or cold? Cold
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Harry Potter
Coffee or Tea? Tea for breakfast; coffee for dessert
Halloween or Christmas? Christmas is my birthday, but I always work it, so…Halloween. 
McDonald’s or Burger King? McDonald's
Batman or Spiderman? Batman
Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip? I'm gonna get in trouble for this, but chocolate chip. Oatmeal Raisin is a health food, not a cookie. Yeah, that's right, I said it! 


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me! I loved the "This-or-That" - never done one before.