I am ecstatic to welcome Rachel Vincent to Literary Escapism today. I haven’t been doing too many interviews lately, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get one of my favorites authors in the hot seat.
We’re celebrating the release of Prey, which comes out July 1st,
SOMETIMES PLAYING CAT AND MOUSE IS NO GAME…
Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father’s authority is in question, and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven’t laid eyes on Marc’s gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don’t exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.
Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing, and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.
Make sure you stick around because I’m getting to give away a copy of Prey. Have I mentioned I’m jealous of the winner already?
Thank you so much for giving me the chance to interview you. I love your Werecat series and can’t wait to read the latest novel, Prey, which releases July 1st, what can you tell us about it that we haven’t already seen in the blurb?
Something you haven’t read in the blurb… Well, you may have read this elsewhere online, but it isn’t on the blurb: Prey is the book that changes everything, for Faythe’s entire Pride. Nothing will ever be the same again, after this one. For better or worse. ;-)
Why Faythe? What was it about Faythe that drew you to her and want to tell her story?
Honestly, it didn’t work like that. I didn’t select her from a lineup of possible characters. I sat down to write a book about a werecat, and Faythe is what happened. She is the product of her environment, and for a long time, her environment indulged her. But now her world is demanding things of her, and she’s rising to the challenge. I’m seriously enjoying the ride, and I hope everyone else does too. ;-)
We know there are South American (and I’m assuming Central American) cats, but what about Asian and/or African cats? Is there a werecat presence in Asia, Europe or Africa with their own cultures and will Faythe ever encounter them?
In Faythe’s world, there are werecats the world over, but the entire species began in South and Central America. They’ve spread out over the centuries (specifically, the last few decades) in search of more land and larger territories. Various cultures have evolved and changed (like that in North America), but their roots are all the same. And some climates/geographical areas are kinder to cats than others. You’re not going to see many solid black cats roaming Antarctica. Or the plains of Africa. It would be pretty hard to blend in.
Will Faythe meet them? Not in the six books in the series. If the series gets extended, it’s possible, the readers will see them, but I’m not planning to write any more books from Faythe’s perspective after Alpha. Her story will be done.
You’ve built a fantastic culture for your cats, but I have to wonder, since creating your world in Stray, has there been anything you’ve regretting starting or wish you had started sooner? Was there something that worked out great in Stray or Rogue, but you’re now wishing you had done differently?
Oh, yes. I wish I hadn’t said that humans and werecats can’t breed. Because of that, I had to come up with a believable reason that they (and thus I) were wrong about that.
I also wish I’d said from the beginning that there were more than ten territories in the US. Greg could use some more allies. ;-)
Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t read Pride. In Pride, you share a little more about the genetic makeup of a werecat and how strays are made when a human carrying a werecat recessive gene is scratched. When Kaci was introduced as a character, what made you decide to make her a genetic anomaly (having the recessive gene from both sides) instead of proving Faythe right that a female could become a stray?
There were two reasons. First, Kaci was always supposed to have been born and raised human. I wanted to explore the psyche of a human girl thrown into the werecat culture, with no warning, and what that (specifically her first Shift) might do to her. But I didn’t want to beat up on any more women. After Faythe, Sara, Abby, and Manx all endured heavy, heart-breaking abuse because of their gender, I wanted to move beyond that. I wanted to show a girl who’d drawn the worst possible lot in life, but was able to overcome. I wanted her to be strong, yet vulnerable. A sort of mirror image/foil for Faythe.
Not that the other women aren’t strong. They all are. But basically, I didn’t want to beat up on any more girls. ;-)
As for why I wouldn’t “let” Faythe be right on this one… well, Faythe is not Forrest Gump. She’s not Ayla. She wasn’t present at every monumental historical event. She didn’t invent the sewing needle or the big yellow happy face. She’s not the most perfect, most loved, or most revered woman on the planet. Or even in her own book. And she’s not always right.
(Pssst… In this particular case, she is right. But no one believes her yet, because she has no proof. ;-) )
Faythe has gone through some amazing development through Stray, Rogue and Pride. What has gone through your mind as you’ve thrown obstacle after obstacle at her and how did you come about using those obstacles? I know some authors have their characters voices in their head as they write; what was Faythe’s reaction for putting her through, yet another, crisis? If Faythe could talk to you while you were writing any of the werecat novels, what would she be saying?
If Faythe could talk to me, she—like most of the other characters—would probably say “Leave me alone!” Maybe with some four-letter words tossed in for emphasis. ;-)
But I’ve challenged Faythe for a reason. I’ve been helping her grow. If she were perfect from the start, she’d be no fun to read about. If characters don’t change and grow, we can’t care about them. Perfect people are boring. (Also, they don’t exist.)
Faythe has learned a lot over the course of five books (I’ve just turned in Shift, Shifters Book 5). She’s learned to let someone else have the last word (occasionally); not to judge a mother by her apron; sometimes father really does know best; brothers do serve a purpose; thirteen yr olds cannot be reasoned with by traditional logic; and strong words are good, but a railroad spike is better. She’s also come to the conclusion that hers is not necessarily the most important life on the line, her perspective is not the only one, and that sometimes the greater good requires significant sacrifice.
And in the sixth (final) book, she’s going to need everything she learned. And then some.
You’ve indicated in previous interviews that the Werecat series will end at six books (or at least Faythe’s story) and you’ve just started your new YA series, Soul Screamers; do you have anything else planned for the future or are you concentrating on Soul Screamers right now? Do you plan on having a set number of books for the Soul Screamers series? Has there been talks about doing novellas from any of the werecats point of views?
Yes, Faythe’s story ends with Alpha, Shifters books six. Depending on reader demand and publisher interest, I might be willing to write a standalone or two and/or novellas set in the same world. But there’s been no serious talk about either of those at this point.
As for the Soul Screamers, right now, I never want to leave that world. I’d love to write seven books featuring Kaylee, and I have ideas for other stories in her world, with other characters. But that’s all really premature right now. The first book isn’t even out yet. I’m waiting to see how well they’re received, particularly by the target audience. And I’m crossing my fingers. And my toes. And my eyes. And anything else it’s physically possible to cross. ;-)
When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche in the fantasy genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why that one or if not, why not?
I’m reading both YA and adult—mostly urban fantasy in adult, and both UF and contemporary in YA. But I’m a bit behind on my TBR pile at the moment. Deadlines, you know. ;-)
What was it about the fantasy genre that drew you to write in it? Was there a certain book that captured your imagination and lead you to think you could do it or did it come to your naturally? When did you know that writing Urban Fantasy was going to be the “thing” that you would want to do with your life?
I’ve been reading fantasy and horror since junior high, and I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. So putting the two together was never really a question. To date, I’ve written eleven novels, and they’ve all been urban fantasy except for the first two (un-submitted) manuscripts, which were high fantasy.
When did I know that writing was what I wanted to do with my life? The day I typed “The End” on the last page of my first novel. That’s when I knew I could do it. I haven’t looked back since. Not once in five years.
What was the first fiction you ever wrote? Do you still have it with you? Have you ever thought about expanding it into a novel? Why or why not?
Well, technically, the first piece of fiction I wrote was a story about a class fieldtrip to the zoo, when I was five. I don’t still have it, but I think my grandmother might. But I’m pretty skeptical of its novel potential. ;-)
Do you have a process of how you start to write one of your novels? Is it the same or different with each novel you write? When you get stuck, during a scene or in general, what do you do to escape from writers block? What is the most painful part of the process for you when you’re writing a book?
I start every novel (since the first four) with my big whiteboard, a pile of Post-it notes, my dry erase markers, and an idea. Or a list of loose threads from previous books that need to be tied up. My novels are plotted out in detail in advance, because they’re almost as plot-driven as they are character-driven. Plotting can take a while. A couple of weeks, sometimes. But with that out of the way, the actual rough draft usually flows pretty quickly.
But when I do get stuck (usually at least once per book), I go out for fajitas. Seriously. My husband helps me plot through problems over fajitas. I have no idea why that works, but I swear it does. At least for me. ;-)
The most painful part of the process is invariably plotting. Plotting is hard. And it gets harder with each successive book in a series. I’m getting ready to plot and write ALPHA, the final Shifters book, and I’m intimidated by the very thought. Wish me luck!
What are you writing now?
Right now I’m about to write a short story set in my Soul Screamers world. Kaylee isn’t in it, but I expect Nash to have a cameo. ;-)
What’s the weirdest fanmail that you’ve gotten that you’re willing to share? (we can thank my adorable hubby for this one)
Well, my readers are awesome, and most of the reader mail I get is really fun to read. But I have gotten mail from prison, which I didn’t expect. And I once got mail from a woman who wanted me to know she was planning to name her unborn baby Faythe. I’m hoping she just liked the spelling, because my Faythe hasn’t had the easiest life. ;-)
A genie comes along and grants you 3 wishes…what would they be?
First, I wish I could pause time. If I could pause time, I would work while the rest of the world was frozen, then un-pause and go on with the rest of my life, without missing a beat. Or a meal, or a party, or a TV show. ;-)
Second, I’d wish for magical, calorie-free, high-quality chocolate that can be used in everything from cookies to coffee. Why eat anything else? ;-)
And I reserve the third wish for something altruistic to be chosen later. After I’ve seen more of the world and have a better idea of what’s really needed.
If you could have any kind of pet, what would it be? Fictional or nonfictional? Possible or Impossible?
Since I already have the world’s best cats, I would have to ask for a dragon, if reality isn’t a concern. It doesn’t have to be a big dragon. So long as it can spare me from coach airplane seating and fry the bad guys on sight, I’d be happy. And wing claws would be a bonus!
Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of Prey to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is answer one simple question: If you could have any kind of pet, what would it be? Fictional or nonfictional? Possible or Impossible?
The contest is open to everyone, so everyone overseas can join in the fun as well.
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (in the same post). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.
For 2 more entries, purchase either Stray, Rogue, Pride and/or preorder My Soul to Take (through LE’s Amazon store or any other novel) sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. That’s a possible 8 entries if you purchase all the books!
Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry (for each page). Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. Only new readers to the group will be considered.
For 2 additional entries, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar. This is for new subscribers only.
I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer. All entries must be in by midnight on June 30th.