Feast of the Raven Wins Gold and Silver: A Moment to Howl

My wolf voice had the opportunity to howl last weekend.

Feast of the Raven won gold and silver awards at the 2017 Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards Ceremony.

That’s quite a mouthful, and I’m still not sure I believe it myself.

Friends who usually see me in hockey skates or trail shoes were shocked that I wore a dress that night. They know that formal ceremonies are not my thing. Like my story’s dark antihero, Gerwulf, my instinct is to shy away from the limelight.

As I walked into the huge event venue, part of me wanted to be somewhere else, a library, a forest—even a hockey penalty box. I especially regretted missing the Jethro Tull concert I had planned to see that night. But when the ceremony started, I was glad to be there, even though I did not believe my novel would win. Past experiences with book contests gave me little hope for awards.

An intensely intimate story

I branded Feast of the Raven as fantasy for marketing purposes, but it does not fit well into the genre. It is not a sweeping epic with numerous characters and a complex fantasy world. Do not expect a climactic battle between good and evil or an untarnished hero. Instead, it’s the intensely intimate story of an angry man with a horrifying past.

Gerwulf is damned by God and banished by society in the gritty real world of the early Middle Ages. He is torn between warring ideologies and opposing elements of himself. He is both a beaten animal and a feared wolf demon. His greatest battle is to reclaim his humanity.

No wizards. No dragons. No knights in shining armor. Gerwulf's story falls somewhere between historical fiction, fantasy, literary, magical realism, horror, and half a dozen other subgenres. The best label I can give it, if I must, is historical dark fantasy.

Rebels with a cause

Despite this, it felt like a Cinderella fantasy when Feast of the Raven won first place for editing and second place for the audiobook. High praise goes to my editor, James Hallman, and the audiobook narrator and producer, Richard Rieman. They saw my vision and enthusiastically rebelled against the genre fiction model, transforming my story into an award-winning novel and audiobook. Like Gerwulf, they deserve to howl.

Gerwulf frets convincingly over his soul . . .

-- Publisher's Weekly

A compelling start to a historical fantasy series

“(Feast of the Raven) …strikes an appealing balance between historical fiction, sword and sorcery, and a noirish detective story, with quick pacing and just enough world building to lend weight to the plot.” … Read More

-- Kirkus Reviews 

Superbly written . . .

“Superbly written and impeccably edited….Spader is unquestionably a talented writer: Her writing style is fluid and at times lyrical,…. But it’s her characters that make this novel so readable. Interesting and emotionally compelling, they are certain to resonate with readers.” … Read More

-- BlueInk Review

Get caught up with Book One - Feast of the Raven

 2017 CIPA EVVY First Place Award Winner !

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Follow Catherine Spader:

Author, R.N.

Catherine is a first-generation American raised on the history and lore of medieval Germany. At age 11, she saw the skull reliquary of Charlemagne and became enthralled with the era. Spader feeds her inner Wulfhedinn by playing ice hockey and prowling wild forests and historic sites.

4 Responses

  1. Cheryl Ilov
    | Reply

    Congratulations, Cathy! You certainly deserve it….Feast of the Raven is a wonderful story a great read!

  2. Rick Jagodzinski
    | Reply

    Each time I read Feast I discover something new. One of the reasons I like this story is, as you stated, that it is not a typical fantasy novel. Character is front and center and it is Gerwulf that pulls you along into his struggles, not magic or gods or typical fantasy tropes. Congratulations!

    • Catherine Spader
      | Reply

      Thank you Rick. There are more anti-genre rebellions to discover in future books in the series.

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