Welcome to Saturday Spotlight. A feature hosted by Tina’s Book Reviews as a way of shining the light on Indie/Debut/Self Published authors. Each week I’ll have a guest post written by a featured author.Please join me in welcoming author Catherine Wittmack as this week’s Saturday Spotlight featured author. I always love hearing about where a story originates from and I love this inspirational post from Catherine.
Eliza Gowan’s past has come back to hunt her. Since her mother’s mysterious disappearance, Eliza has enjoyed a quiet life under the care of her aunt in the sleepy town of Port Rune. But the moment magnetic Ren Alden appears in her high school classroom, Eliza is thrust into the exciting world of magic and the path of danger. Menaced by an otherworldly enemy, Eliza embarks on a quest to solve the mysteries of her past and end the hunt for good.
“Fabulous new YA character! This book fits neatly into the spot between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games trilogy.” Goodreads | Amazon
Thank you, Karen, for hosting me on For What It’s Worth. I am delighted to be here to share my debut novel, Eliza’s Shadow, with your readers.
For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued, some might say obsessed, with fantasy, magic, and folklore. I used to search the new book section of my elementary school library for scary looking covers until, in third grade I finally mustered the courage to just ask the librarian if she had any books about witches. I was a little nervous because it was a Catholic school and I wasn’t sure how she would react. She gave me The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and I was thrilled! From then on, I devoured any books that had a spooky cover and a promise of magic.
Writers absorb the books we love, mix them with our life experience, and our imagination produces something new. For me, it was a life changing event that helped kick my imagination into high gear. I created the story of Eliza’s Shadow while I was recovering from surgery for thyroid cancer.
Honestly, it was a low point in my life. I was a new mother with a cancer diagnosis and I was facing the fragility of my existence. I wanted to do something that I cared about. I wanted to write a book, the kind of book that was magical, adventurous, and an escape from the stress of ordinary life.
But before I had a story to write, I had Eliza. I closed my eyes and saw her in my mind with such clarity that it was as if she had always been there. And almost as soon as I fleshed out Eliza, I saw Ren from a distance hovering behind her. I played with the characters of Eliza and Ren a bit before I began to write anything. I asked questions about their personalities and characteristics, and thought a lot about their relationship. Were they friends or enemies or a little of both? Did they fall in love? Hmmm.
After I had gotten to know Eliza and Ren, I needed to create a place for them to live! It was important to me that the world of Eliza’s Shadow was believable. Eliza and Ren are essentially normal teenagers with normal teenage feelings and problems. They are characters that readers can relate to. I wanted the magical aspects of their lives and their world to be believable too. If magic could exist in our everyday lives, what would it look like? To accomplish that, I had to do some research. If you look to the religious and cultural beliefs of any group of people you will find a hint of magic.
I was raised in Charlotte, N.C. and one of my favorite things about the South is the regional folklore. So to create the world of Eliza’s Shadow, I drew upon aspects of Southern folklore, folk medicine, Voodoo, ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, and my own personal travel experience. I gathered those hints of magic to define the elements of good and evil and the rules of magic that are Ren and Eliza’s reality.
Once I could hear Eliza and Ren’s voices (yes, I hear voices) and understood the reality of their world, it was easy to write. I just followed them around in my imagination and chronicled their adventures! Before long, I had a book.
So, that is my story behind the story of Eliza’s Shadow. I hope you will read it and share your thoughts with me. And if you like Eliza’s Shadow and are wondering… Eliza and Ren are still having adventures and I’m still chronicling them. I’ll keep you posted on what they are up to!
Catherine Wittmack lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, Charlie, and their two sons, James and Jack. She holds a B.A. in English from Villanova University and a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. Her debut novel, Eliza's Shadow, was published on Amazon in May 2012. She is represented by ICM in New York.
Connect with Catherine on Facebook and Goodreads
Giveaway ends Saturday 9/22/12 at 11:59pm ET. Winner announced 9/23/12
US only. Good luck!
The winner is Ricki!