Meet Catherine Witzaney, author of Wingless, an epic fantasy for 10 to 14-year-old readers. Perfect for fantasy lovers who enjoy creative world-building, this story will also resonate with kids who struggle to fit in with their peers.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m an author of fantasy novels for 10 to 14-year-old readers. Growing up homeschooled in Alberta, Canada gave me a soft spot for young precocious bookworms and imaginative misfits who challenge the mainstream mold.

I’m married to my knight in shining armor who flies helicopters instead of dragons. My writing pursuits are fueled by coffee and the grace of God.

Tell us about your books.

My debut novel, Wingless, is an epic fantasy for 10 to 14-year-old readers, set in a world of tiny, bird-riding warrior sprites. Asher Songfeather, a sprite born wingless in a world of flight, sets out on a daring and dangerous quest to save his sister.

At the heart of this story is the struggle between good and evil, and a boy learning to overcome prejudice and make moral choices in the face of seemingly impossible situations. The sequel launches in June 2025.

While the series is written from a Christian worldview, with those values serving as its foundation, it’s not an overtly religious story. My desire was to write a fun and engaging fantasy adventure that readers (Christian or otherwise) could connect with and walk away with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world, without feeling preached at. 

What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?

With a 12-year-old boy as the main character, boys are technically the target audience of this story. But girls have been enjoying it equally. This story is perfect for fantasy lovers who enjoy creative world-building.

Kids who struggle to fit in with their peers will likely resonate with Asher’s winglessness (a birth defect) in an otherwise winged society, as well as his struggle to master his powers, which don’t work the same as those of the sprites he grew up with due to his mixed heritage. 

Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.

The world of Wingless was (very loosely) inspired by The Borrowers. While sprites are tiny and winged, much like fairies, they come across more like very small humans. The fantasy world of the story incorporates real-world elements (for instance, real species of birds from our world) alongside the fantastical elements.

Some of the sprite cultures are also heavily inspired by real-world ancient cultures. For instance, Bat Sprite society was based off of the culture of Ancient Sparta. I also prefer using real but uncommon names for characters rather than making up fantasy names, so each sprite race has names drawn from a real-world ethnicity (but not necessarily the same one their culture was based on!).

What inspired you to write this book?

The very early kernel for the story world was actually inspired by the divisions within Christianity. As a teenager, this was something that troubled me quite a bit. I wanted to explore the issue in a fictional setting, but not in a directly on-the-nose way. Thus arose the racial divisions and prejudice that exist within the world of Wingless. 

As I grew older and came to a more nuanced understanding of the real-world divisions, the story ceased being a direct allegory to Christian divisions and simply became its own story. But I feel it’s worth pointing out that I didn’t set out with the goal of writing a story to address racism! That’s just how the world-building unfolded as I continued to expand on my initial ideas. 

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when the desire wasn’t there. I started writing at such a young age (roughly 7 years old I think). Since writing stories leads very naturally into wanting to publish stories so others can read them, it was always a long term goal of mine.

When I hit my teens, my goal shifted to specifically wanting to become a published author during my teenage years. After all, Christopher Paolini (the author of Eragon and the related series and movie) was a homeschooler like me, and he managed it. I eventually discarded this goal, however, as further study convinced me that it mattered more to publish something well-written and meaningful than that I published something young.

It was during my early twenties that I started to view authoring as a vocational call. I began to feel strongly that God had given me this ability and desire for a reason. So I began to view it as my responsibility to cultivate my writing craft and create stories for his glory and the building up of my readers, even if they weren’t stories that were explicitly Christian in terms of content. 

What’s one middle grade book you always recommend?

I’m afraid it’s not very original but The Chronicles of Narnia are always my go-to middle grade recommendation. I think they are best suited to being read aloud to kids, as my parents did with me. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Try to finish something! Many aspiring authors suffer from shiny-new-project syndrome and hop from idea to idea, starting many stories but never quite finishing any of them. Unfortunately, you really can’t develop your writing craft until you start learning how to finish projects—and you certainly can’t publish anything!

If you find you always get halfway through your ideas and then end up stuck, I recommend studying story structure. There are many story structure methods out there (I’m a big fan of KM Weiland’s model myself), but all of them convey roughly the same idea and will give you the tools you need to learn how to finally finish a story. 

What formats are your books available in?

  • Paperback
  • Ebook
  • Audiobook

Find it here.

What’s next?

The sequel to Wingless is contracted for a June 2025 publication date. I have other plans in the works as well, but no solid dates for them at this time. 

How can parents find you?

The best place would be You can sign up for my monthly author newsletter, find links to my social media (I’m most active on Instagram), and learn a little more about me and my books.

Wingless is available on Chicken Scratch Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters Indigo. The audiobook is available from all audiobook retailers (Audible, Spotify, Chirp, etc.).

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If you’re in the market for middle grade books, I’d love to share my series with you!

Power Pup is a Christian superhero adventure series for readers ages 9-13.

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But Calvin has a secret:

He’s also a rookie superhero!

After months of training, Calvin Quinn is ready to hit the streets and defend the innocent as . . . Power Pup!