Interview ~ Catherine Wittmack Author of Eliza’s Shadow

by | Mar 6, 2013 | Author Interview, Books, KUWTR

Eliza Shadow Tour


Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

My name is Catherine Wittmack and I am the author of the book Eliza’s Shadow, a YA paranormal/fantasy novel about Southern magic.  I’m a mother of two little boys and live in North Carolina.  I’m a total Southernphile and I love researching obscure historical events and characters, strange aspects of the natural world, folklore and mythology.  I drink a lot of coffee and if I don’t get outside for a walk at least once a day, I feel crazy.

Do you write full time?

No, I’m a full-time mom and a part-time writer.  When I was writing Eliza’s Shadow, I wrote at night after my first son was in bed but now that I chase two boys around all day, I am too tired to write in the evenings.  So, I squeeze in my writing time early in the morning before my family gets out of bed.

What are 5 fun/interesting facts about you?

1) I lived in Alaska when I was a small child.

2) I’ve hiked to Mount Everest base camp.

3) In my life, I have lived in the West, Midwest, Texas (a region of its own!), Southeast and Northeast.  Of them all, I like the Southeast best.  It’s beautiful, rich in culture and in North Carolina we have mountains and the beach what more could you ask for?

4) I was raised in a family of all girls (3 sisters) and now have a family of all boys (2 little ones and a husband).

5) I actually do believe in magic.

What are the “must haves” for you when you sit down to write a book?

Coffee and quiet.  I have tried to write with music on or while my kids are running around and it doesn’t work!  In order to be productive, I need peace, quiet, and caffeine.

What made you decide to become a writer and how old were you?

When I was 30 years old and a new mother, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  I underwent surgery to remove my thyroid but was spared chemotherapy.  Being diagnosed with cancer changed my perspective on life.  At the time, my son was just under a year and I was struggling with the decision to go back to work full-time. 

I have always loved reading and writing and dreamed of being a writer since I was a child.  So, after I recovered from surgery, I made the choice to stay home with my son and began to write seriously and consistently. 

Who or what was your inspiration for writing “this book”?

I have always loved books about magic and strong female characters.  I think the character of Eliza had been growing in my subconscious for a long time, it just took a little focus to pay attention to her.  This book, Eliza’s Shadow, was inspired by my love of magic, folklore, and Southern culture and history.  

Do you feel that you can relate to one character in “this book” more than any other? And why?

Eliza’s Shadow is written from Eliza’s perspective, so I spent the most time getting to know and understanding her.  While she is very different from me in some respects, I probably relate to her the most. 

What do you Love most about writing?

I love the surprise of the creative process.  When I am deeply involved in spinning a scene sometimes something happens with the characters that I wasn’t planning or a connection between events occurs that I hadn’t thought of previously.  Those little surprises are exciting.

What is your biggest challenge when you write?

Sticking to an outline!  That is my current goal as a writer.  I did not pay much attention to outlining Eliza’s Shadow and learned my lesson.  With the sequel that I am writing now, I have created a good outline and am trying to follow it. 

Do you have any advice for any other aspiring writers out there?

It took me over two years to finish writing Eliza’s Shadow and there were times when I wasn’t sure I would ever complete it.  My advice to aspiring writers is to create a consistent writing schedule and not give up, never ever give up.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Most of my time is dedicated to taking care of my kids so, I write in the margins of family life.  However, I also try to carve out time each day to read a wide variety of news articles and fiction.  I see writing as an art that must be fed by life and other art.  For me, reading is not just a relaxing pastime but necessary for my craft.

When you’re not writing what kind of books do you like to read?

If left to my own devices I would only read Historical Fiction, Fantasy, and YA.  Right now I’m working my way through the Game of Thrones series and just downloaded the book Slammed by Colleen Hoover.  However, I joined a book club recently and it has been so good for me because they pick a lot of books that I would never read on my own.  We read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty a couple of months ago and that isn’t a book I would normally pick up but I loved it.

Since becoming published, what has been your favorite part of the process?

Hearing from strangers that they loved Eliza’s Shadow.  And not because I’m vain, in fact, it is the opposite!  I spend a lot of time and energy on writing.  I LOVE to write but it is a very solitary activity.  Sometimes I even feel a little selfish because I could be doing something for my kids with the time I spend writing.  So, when I hear that my writing made someone happy, it makes the whole activity seem less solitary and purposeful.

If you can, tell us what is up next for you?

I am hard at work on the next book in the Eliza Gowan Series.  I’m also in the process of developing my website and am planning to release some short stories as Flash Fiction on my website.  I haven’t written a lot of short stories but I want to get better at it!

Eliza Shadow by Catherine Wittmack


Eliza’s Shadow

Eliza’s Shadow #1

Author: Catherine Wittmack

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Publisher: Self-published

Format: Ebook | Paperback

Length: 332 pages

Purchase: Amazon


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.


Ren laughed.  “What are you doing?  Just sit still and focus, why don’t you?”  He urged impatiently.

I pressed my crossed ankles together and my arms to my sides.  “Ok, ok.  I’m ready,” I stammered.

I forced deep measured breaths until the cold air stilled the nervous bubbles bobbing around my head.  My hands stretched around my knees and I flexed my fingers imagining the flame leaping from the tips.  I turned inward imagining the spark growing inside of me.  My mind’s eye examined the small dot of electricity and watched it glow in the caverns of my mind.

Run!  I commanded.

I followed the little spark as it hopped from one nerve to the next, racing down the length of my arm and felt it, hot and anxious to perform.  Then something strong and sure told me the spark was ready.  Without a conscious effort, my arm lifted from my side and my wrist snapped.

My eyes shot open.  A small ball of light glowed bright against the darkness.  I glanced up to find Ren’s giddy grin.

We sat for several moments in reverent silence before Ren snatched the wriggling little light from my palm as easily as a frog snatches an insect.

He chuckled and tossed it above our heads.  The small light bounced in the air like a yo-yo before settling suspended above our heads.

“Wow!  How’d you do that?”  I exclaimed.

“Clean flames will do just about anything you want them to,” he said.

“Can I touch it again?”  I asked tentatively.

Ren shrugged.  “Sure, it’s your flame,” he said and sank back against the cluster of pipes, a pleased smile lingering on his lips.

I reached into the air and plucked the tiny blaze from its perch.  I held the flame in my hand admiring its dance.

“It’s hot,” I said wincing.

Ren inched toward me and slid his hand beneath mine.  His palm was soft against my knuckles.  Then his fingers closed around my wrist and he pulled my hand toward his lowered face. My fingertips grazed the scruff of his chin sending a tingle up my arm. Our eyes met across the glowing expanse of my palm.

“Even the most magical things can burn,” he said tensely, holding my gaze.

My cheeks flushed hot under his intense stare.

“Only… if you let them,” I responded, carefully controlling my breath.

“Easier said than done,” he said with a sigh.

I blew softly across my palm.  The flame flickered and disappeared into a wisp of smoke.

About the Author:

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 VillanovaUniversity 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.

Author Catherine Wittmack

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Eliza Shadow Tour

Disclosure: This Excerpt  was provided by the Author as a part of the FMB Book Tours. This is NOT a compensated post.


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