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Interview of Rachel Vincent
by Rhonda Wilson
Photo: Rachel Vincent
Rachel Vincent is the author of the adult urban fantasy series, Shifters, as well as a new teen series of the same genre, Soul Screamers.
We have reviewed the first few
titles in the Soul Screamers series
My Soul to
Take and the prequel
My Soul to
RW: Hi Rachel! Thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to answer some questions for the viewers of Monsterlibrarian.com.
RV: Hi! Thanks for having me. ;-)
RW: Can you start us off by telling our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in the writing industry?
RV: Look at that! Youíve stumped me by asking me to tell you about myself. ;-) I write urban fantasy (both adult and YA), I drink too much coffee and too little water, I prefer salty snacks to sweet, I only watch TV shows on my DVR or on DVD (TV will not rule my life!), I love Mexican food and hot wings (though not together) and I honestly donít know what Iíd be doing with my life if I couldnít write for a living. ;-)
RW: Throughout the years, who would you say have been your writing inspirations?
RV: UmÖ The writers who most inspire me are those who write in spite of everything else they have going on, because they canít live without expressing themselves. Without telling a story. Those parents with full time jobs and kids to care for, who carve out a couple of hours in the middle of the night to develop their talents and live their dreams. Thatís inspiring, and every time I get tired, or start thinking I canít possibly edit this novel one more time, I think about those who treasure every minute they get to spend writing, because itís been hard won. Then I shut up and do my job. ;-)
RW: Do you have a strict writing schedule that you set for yourself or do you just write "when the mood strikes you"?
RV: I write all the time. Seriously. This week, Iíve been up past midnight working every night. Last week was the same. My hours are kind of extreme right now, because Iím on a tight deadline, but my normal workday is still between ten and twelve hours long. If Iím not in the mood for what I need to be doing, I get in the mood, whatever that takes. Music, coffee, headphones, whatever. I love my job, and I feel like Iím one of the luckiest people in the world because I get paid to do what I love. But itís still a job, and if I donít take it seriously, then I donít deserve to be taken seriously.
RW: Let's talk about your first series... SHIFTERS. There are currently four books out in this series so far: STRAY, ROGUE, PRIDE, and PREY. Can you please tell our readers a little bit about this series and where you got the idea for it?
RV: My first two novels (never submitted) were high fantasy told with what I later came to recognize as an urban fantasy voice. There was no market for that at the time. (There may be now. Iím not sure.) So when I sat down to write my third novel, I took a deliberate look at the market and at what I liked to read. Urban fantasy (though it wasnít called that at the time) was where those two points intersected. I knew I didnít have anything fresh to add to the existing vampire, witch, or werewolf cannon, and Iíve always loved cats. So I developed a character who had a lot in common with the 20 yr old I once was, and with the cats I love. And thus, Faythe was born. ;-)
RW: Not to give away any spoilers... but can you give us a hint as to what we can expect in book five, SHIFT?
RV: Thunderbirds. Yes, seriously. In SHIFT, Faythe and her Pride come up against some seriously scary thunderbirds. They may have thought cats were the biggest, baddest Shifters out there. But they were wrong. ;-)
RW: Your latest and greatest release was MY SOUL TO TAKE, which is the first book in your new series, SOUL SCREAMERS. Can you now tell our readers a bit about this series and where the idea came from?
RV: The Soul Screamers series is about a highschool junior whoís had some mental health issues in the past, and is trying to put all that behind her. Because she can predict death. Only itís not so much a case of CAN predict as HAS TO predict. When someone near her is going to die, she canít help screaming uncontrollably. This has some pretty serious consequences for her family and social lives, but when girls at her school start dying, Kaylee realizes sheís the only one who can stop it. But thereís a cost.
Oh, also, there are grim reapers and other scary things!
RW: You also wrote a prequel story to MY SOUL TO TAKE called MY SOUL TO LOSE that you offer as a free download on your <a href="http://rachelvincent.com/MSTL.html">website</a>. What gave you the idea to do the prequel and offer it as a freebie?
RV: Ah, I canít take credit for that one. Well, I mean, I did write the story. But it was Harlequin Teenís idea. They asked if Iíd be willing to write a short story prequel and let them offer it for free, in a bunch of different formats. I was cool with that, so I wrote it, but it came out longer than expected. That happens with me a lot. ;-) So itís actually a novella, about 80 pages long. And itís available for free as a PDF, and on Kindle, and a bunch of other places.
RW: The second book in the SOUL SCREAMERS series, MY SOUL TO SAVE, is due out in just a couple of weeks. Congratulations!!! You must be very excited! Can you give our readers a peek at what is to come in book two?
RV: I am really excited! The thing I like about my Soul Screamers characters is that though Kayleeís the main character and itís her story, their lives donít revolve around her. And sheís finding that out the hard way. The characters are all human (even the ones who arenít human!) and they sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason. Or the wrong thing for the right reason. And there are always consequences for those actions.
MY SOUL TO SAVE let me explore the concept of permanent consequences. And it gave me a great chance to send Kaylee to the Netherworld, my single favorite setting to write about. I had a blast writing the Netherworld scenes, and weíll see even more of that in the third book, MY SOUL TO KEEP, which comes out in late May.
RW: Of your two series, which do you find more enjoyable or more fulfilling to write and why?
RV: Oh, thereís no way I can answer that! I love them both! Itís been amazing to help Faythe grow, and watch parts of her life come together while other parts fall apart. I like torturing her, and I like watching her handle (or fumble) whatever I throw at her.
Kayleeís an entirely different experience for me. Sheís not a fighter, physically. But sheís incredibly resourceful, and smart, and brave, and maybe a little too forgiving for her own good. Her world is scarier than Faytheís, and sheís less well equipped to handle it than Faythe is to handle her world. So everything for Kaylee is a challenge, at a time in her life (adolescence) when everything is already tumultuous.
RW: What do you feel are the biggest differences when writing an adult fiction novel and a young adult fiction novel? What are your greatest challenges as an author in keeping the two writing styles separate?
RV: Perspective. Thatís the biggest difference. Iím 31 (shhh, donít tell) and I still talk like a kid half the time. Though I can wax philosophic too, if thatís what you want. But I think about things differently than I did at 16. Itís inevitable. So for me, the biggest challenge is getting back to the place I was in, both mentally and emotionally, when I was in high school. There were a lot of things that werenít up to me, and a lot of things that shouldnít have been. But it wasnít a question of what should be. I wasnít out to change the world. I didnít even know I had that ability. Or that anyone did. It was about survivingóforget thrivingóin my world as it existed then. Finding people I fit in with, and clinging to them like mad when everything else fell apart. And you know what? Iím still in touch with most of those people, thirteen years later.
RW: From either the SHIFTERS series and/or the SOUL SCREAMERS series, do you have a favorite character or one that you really relate to? And why is that one your favorite?
RV: UmÖ I go back and forth. My favorite Shifters character is either Ethan (I know, I know) or Jace, depending on what scene Iím writing. Though Kaci has her moments too. Jace and Kaci both have this way of putting things into perspective for Faythe. They ask the right questions. They make her rethink things sheís just always assumed. Thatís a valuable perspective to have.
My favorite Soul Screamers characters are Tod and Emma. Hands down. Tod, because heís not entirely human, and heís growing less human every day. He remembers being alive, but he isnít ruled by those same motivations any more. Personal space means nothing to him. He has no manners, no tact, and no sense of timing. But when he loves someone, heíll do anything to protect him or her. Which can lead to a lot of troubleÖ
Emma is fanatically loyal to Kaylee, and even though sheís not the best decision maker (Sheís 16, and too hot for her own good. Whatta ya gonna do?), sheís always there for Kaylee. And as the series progresses, her friendship with Kaylee will start to put Emma in a lot of danger, yet her loyalty never falters. You have to admire that.
RW: What projects are you currently working on that our readers should keep an eye out for in the near future?
RV: Right now, Iím about to finish up the revisions for MY SOUL TO KEEP, Soul Screamers Book 3. And that oneís intense, let me tell you. I pushed some boundaries, and pushed right past a bunch of Kayleeís comfort zones, but Iím very pleased with the result. Itís by far the best of the Soul Screamers books so far, in my opinion. MSTKeep comes out June 1, 2010, though itíll probably hit the shelves in late May.
Also, SHIFT comes out Feb 19th, 2010 (Officially, March 1)
RW: Where is/are the best place(s) for our readers and librarians to keep up-to-date on Rachel Vincent news?
RV: Oh, Iím everywhere. Iím very active on my blog, and on Twitter. And I check into my discussion group a couple of times a week to discuss and answer questions. And occasionally to ask a few. I do mini-excerpts on my blog sometimes, and I do micro-excerpts on Twitter as I come across lines that I like, during edits. So you never know what youíre gonna read from meÖ ;-)
RW: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. It's been a pleasure!
RV: This was fun! You had some great questions! Thanks for having me. ;-)
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