Cat Winters, author of "In the Shadow of Blackbirds" answers 10 questions about her favorite time period in history, her favorite figures from history, and the age old question of coffee or tea.
1. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
Pioneering nineteenth-century journalist and record-breaking world traveler Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Jane Cochran). The woman has fascinated me ever since I read a book about her when I was a kid.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
1920, the year female citizens across the United States finally got the chance to vote. Jazz, women’s suffrage, silent films, burgeoning technology—what a fascinating time to be alive!
3. You're having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
The aforementioned Nellie Bly, Alice Roosevelt (quite a character in U.S. history), Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Frank. I don’t know what we’d all talk about, but I’d be curious to meet every one of them.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
I’ve always been drawn to American “castles,” like the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. There’s a fantastical, Gastby-like quality to all those extravagant new-money homes.
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you'd like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
Ruta Sepetys ("Between Shades of Gray") and Markus Zusak ("The Book Thief"). I deeply admire both of those authors' contributions to historical young adult fiction.
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
Hmm, that’s a hard one to pick, but I think I’d say the opulent King Louis XIV.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
Catherine of Aragon, because she deserves a great deal of credit for dealing with Henry and all his marriage and heir issues first.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
The English monarchy. I have to admire a country that names some of its best eras (Elizabethan, Victorian) after its female rulers.
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. I loved those books as a kid, and I’ve really enjoyed reading them with my own children.
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
I tend to drink coffeehouse hot chocolates when I’m writing. The smell and the taste inspires my creativity.
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