Rachel Caine – Interview & Contest
Sidhe Vicious welcomes Urban Fantasy author Rachel Caine! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and all about your novel Gale Force.
Your upcoming novel, the seventh in the Weather Warden series will be released on August 5th, 2008 by ROC Fantasy. Can you tell us about it and a bit about the main characters Joanne & David?
Sure thing! GALE FORCE continues the story of Joanne and David — but the course of true love continues to be a bumpy ride, so fasten your seatbelts! David has asked Joanne to marry him, but there are all kinds of complications … a militant section of the Wardens organization who wants to stop them and declare war against the Djinn, for one thing. For another, the Djinn themselves aren’t wild about getting human in-laws, especially for David, who’s a Djinn VIP in his own right. As attacks against them escalate, it puts a severe cramp in Joanne’s plans to find the perfect wedding dress, and survive the Big Day. The return of an old, dangerous enemy brings even more trouble, especially when it’s an eerie kind of trouble that the Djinn can’t even sense coming.
What about Weather Wardens and Djinns inspired you to write about them?
I’ve always been fascinated by the weather, especially since I moved to Texas. Tornado season is always an adventure here, and I’ve had them miss my house by narrow margins three times in the past 15 years. Seemed like a natural thing to me to write about storms that were out to get us, and the people who protect us from them (when they can get their act together, anyway). The Djinn were a lucky coincidence … I love the whole mythology of the Djinn being creatures of fire, very elemental spirits that both hate and serve humanity.
Will we be seeing more of Joanne and David in the future?
You definitely will! I’m working on Book 8 in the series now, and there will definitely also be a Book 9. Joanne and David also have “guest appearances” in a new series I’m premiering in January. The series is called OUTCAST SEASON, and the first book is UNDONE. It’s the story of a Djinn who’s cut off from her people and forced to live among humans, much to her dismay — and rely on the Wardens for her survival.
How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?
I started writing when I was 14, and I started the way a lot of people do … I wrote what I now know is fanfic, for a television show! After that first story, I developed my own characters and began to write my own stories. I wrote for my friends, primarily, and just for my own entertainment; it never occurred to me you could do it professionally, even though I was a voracious reader! It always seemed that authors were “special people” — and I’d never be one. Luckily, one of my friends pushed me into trying to get published, and here I am!
Who or what was your inspiration for the characters of Joanne and David, if any?
Joanne started out as a homage to a friend of mine, who was terminally ill; he was so brave and courageous in the face of overwhelming odds, and had such a constantly surprising sense of humor, that I couldn’t not write some of that into the character. His illness became her Demon Mark, but the personality traits certainly came across. David — okay, confession time, I admit that I have a soft spot for the actor James Spader, especially circa his STARGATE movie days. So there’s some of that in there. And some of Michael Shanks from STARGATE SG-1, too.
Did you find it harder or easier to write subsequent novels in this series because of already having created this world?
Only in that I have such a lot of backstory and detail to remember! When you get into a complicated fantasy series like this, you have to rely on memory a lot, as well as notes; sometimes, inevitably, you’re going to miss something, because as a writer you remember all the drafts and versions, instead of just the final ones. That’s the toughest thing.
Do you have any funny writing quirks or habits that you do when you’re in the “zone” writing?
I need music. Headphones, preferably. And I need to make track lists for each book. I also find that I do my best writing early mornings — like, 5 a.m. early, which SUCKS, but there you go. So I’m up early, but the good news is that by 1 p.m., I’ve put in a full day of work!
Have you ever met a Weather Warden, Djinn, vampire, werewolf, demon, or fae?
I’ve certainly met a fair number of people who freaked me the hell out. If you go shopping at Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, you’ll meet all kinds of supernatural creatures, I’m convinced of that … zombies, particularly. Lots of zombies. Luckily, by that hour, I have no brains to attract them.
What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?
I’d most like to have the power to stop time. That would ROCK. Although the ability to turn junk into something valuable, like diamonds, that would be nice, too. And a lot less work than loading the recycle bins.
Who is your favourite paranormal or urban fantasy fictional character and why? (Not counting your own of course)
I think I’d have to say Harry Dresden, from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books. Although I certainly love a lot of other series, too — Laura Anne Gilman’s Retriever series, P.N. Elrod’s Jack Fleming series … Gah! So hard to choose!
Who’s your favourite author? TV show? Movie?
Favorite author will probably always be Roger Zelazny. TV show is a close tie between Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Movie — probably James Cameron’s Aliens.
If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?
Ooooooooh … the Scarlet Pimpernel. Please. Thank you. Or possible Athos from the Three Musketeers. :swoon:
How have the books you’ve read influenced the books you write?
I tend to love adventure books — stories where the stakes are high, beyond personal issues or personal lives. And I think that probably comes through in my own work. It’s hard for me to write a story that *isn’t* world-threatening in some way. J
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever gotten inspiration from?
The sight of a hearse pulling into the parking lot of a big convention center where a revival was going on. It sparked an idea for a short story about people who did *actual* revival … of the dead.
What do you do when you’re having writer’s block to “shake” it off?
Sit down and WORK. There’s no great trick to it, I just make myself get out of bed and go to work, just like people do every day. And for a while I have to grind out every word, but eventually, the muse kicks in!
What can a new reader expect from your book/series?
I’ve been told that my books are facehuggers — that they’re difficult to put down. So I guess you can expect an express ride of a story, no stops, no detours! And sometimes, cliffhangers. Sorry.
You write about various types of supernatural creatures, in this series and your Young Adult Morganville Vampires series. Do you do a lot of research or do you prefer to take what you already know and use your imagination for the rest?
I do tons of research, of all different types. I have a huge nonfiction library at home, and I’m always reading and researching things that interest me. The trick is to know the subject, and only use a little bit of what you’ve learned!
Are any of your characters particularly fun or easy for you to write? Any that are more difficult?
I find that the Morganville characters are just a total blast, very easy to write. The Weather Warden series tends to be more difficult, mainly because Joanne argues with me a lot!
Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?
First, make sure you understand the business. I get the question a lot about how much I paid to publish my book. The answer is: nothing! In traditional publishing (as opposed to e-publishing, print on demand or vanity press) you get paid by the publisher; you don’t pay them. Make sure you research who you’re dealing with, what their reputation is, and know what you’re getting into. This is true for agents as well. You should be paying them a commission from sales, not an up-front fee to represent you. If you have questions, there are great resources available to answer your questions — try the Writer Beware website, and the Absolute Write Water Cooler. And also: don’t give up. That’s key!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us at Sidhe Vicious Reviews, and with your readers?
I have half a chocolate bar. Want some? Um … wait … too late … 🙂 I guess I’d just like to say thank you for this opportunity, and for reading! Without you guys, us authors are just strange, oddly dressed people typing away in coffee shops, to no avail. So give yourselves a round of applause! YOU make all this craziness work!
Rachel has graciously offered a signed copy of Gale Force to one lucky commenter, so start typing readers! As usual, for extra entries, you can subscribe to my blog, and/or link to this contest at your blog or page somewhere and put the link in your comment here. (For people who are already subscribed to my blog, if commenting, you’ll have two entries.)
A winner will be chosen on August 15th, so make sure to check back. If I don’t hear from the winner after a week, a new name will be chosen.
It’s been brought to my attention that some of you subscribe to my blog via GoogleReader or some other Blog Readers. If you have commented and you do use a Blog Reader, please be sure to let me know. Thanks and Good Luck Everyone! 🙂