New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.
“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…
Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”
In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.
Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.
And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.
Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.
Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature.
Some Q & A with Kate ~
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.
I started writing when my youngest was an infant and slept 22 out of 24 hours a day. I KNOW! Don’t kill me, my oldest had colic. I earned it! I’ve always written and always wanted to write a novel, but just never knew how. I thought the words would just flow out of me, all 85K of them (*dies laughing*). Now I know it’s a daily push and dedication!
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
Family time. My kids are into sports and activities and elementary school age is filled with a zillion To-Do lists. I’m not 100% sure I enjoy every single minute of it, but between that and the day job and the writing, I don’t have time for another hobby! I’ve started going to the gym again a few months ago. I’m trying to enjoy exercise! Last winter, I took my daughter skiing and remembered that I loved it (my knees do not). I’m finding my way back to the kitchen, now that I’m part-time at the day job. I love decorating and after I finished my last book, I shut down my computer for a week and redecorated my living room on a shoestring budget at a barn sale.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
I work part-time for Johnson & Johnson. I’m a technical writer for them, sometimes from home. I spent 20 years in the lab and at some point, you get tired of the demands of lab work, especially working with cells and biologics. They wait for no one! I love the flexibility of my current job. It allows me to spend more time with family, while still keeping my toe in an industry I love.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have no idea. They come to me when I see something in real life and think “wow, that’s kind of interesting” and wonder how I could turn it around or spin it into a story. I don’t feel like I have control over what sends my brain into overdrive. A friend Kimberly Brock once called it “catching lightning” and I’ve never forgotten that. I feel like I do that constantly. Sometimes, I’ll feel that buzz of this would be a good story but then get distracted and poof, it’s gone. So it really does feel that transient.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?
You know, I don’t think so. Yes, I’ve made mistakes and yes, I wish I would have dug deeper here or knew then what I know now, craft-wise, but honestly, the journey has been so incredibly rewarding, I’m not sure I’d go back if I could.
How do you market your work?
A little bit every day! I make connections with other writers as much as possible. I try to give back as much as possible. I try to be as generous as I can and talk about other writers more than myself. I try to respond to readers (I don’t always succeed, and it’s never a result of anything other than slipping through the cracks!). It’s been a long, slow process of getting my name out there, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s been five years now!
What are you working on now?
I’m between projects! It feels so relaxing. I have ideas brewing and a proposal I’m working on, but it’s been nice to focus on articles and blogs and let the next project marinate.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Only in little unrecognizable pieces :). Parts of friend’s personalities, conflicts I’ve seen or observed, nothing directly translated.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Nothing that hasn’t been said a million times: keep going. The writing is the thing. Don’t get too distracted by all the “other”. The person you’re admiring and think has everything feels exactly like you do about someone else, no matter who they are. The feeling of insecurity you have right now? Get used to it. It never goes away, no matter how much success you have. In fact, I’d say the more successful you are, the more uncomfortable you feel. There’s more to lose! This career is made for people who can ignore the discomfort and enjoy the writing. Everything else is just noise. (I hope one day to be able to take this advice!)
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
THANK YOU!!!! Truly.
Kate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of four novels and a novella, including Thought I Knew You, While You Were Gone, Binds That Tie, The Vanishing Year, and Blackbird Season. Her first novel THOUGHT I KNEW YOU, was a New York Times bestseller. THE VANISHING YEAR was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery/Thriller category for 2016 and was called "chillingly satisfying." (Publisher's Weekly) with "superb" closing twists (New York Times Book Review).
Kate has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years as a scientist and enjoys traveling and cooking. She lives in Pennsylvania in an old farmhouse with her husband, two children, and no known ghosts. Her lifelong dream is to find a secret passageway.
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