Monday, June 29, 2009

Interview with Rachel Vincent and Giveaway of Prey

Today we have an interview with the awesome author Rachel Vincent who writes the Shifters series and the soon to be released YA Soul Screamers series.

· Let's start out by telling us a little about yourself. Who is the person behind the books?

Um… I’m pretty normal in real life. I can’t turn into a giant cat, and I’ve never eaten raw deer. It’s pretty hard to make me mad, and I’m terrible at holding grudges. I like to talk to people, both online and in person. Writing is really my only talent, and I work really hard to try to make the most of that one ability. I like to think I’m getting better at it. ;-)

· What brought you to writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer or is it something you discovered along the path of life?

I’ve been writing almost my entire life, but it never occurred to me that I might be able to make a living with my writing until I was in my mid-twenties. That’s when I switched from short stories to novels. Oddly enough, I have a whole string of unfinished short stories, but I don’t have a single incomplete novel.

· Do you commit to a daily writing goal? Like so many words or chapters?

Yes! I’d never get anything done otherwise. When I’m working on a rough draft, I aim for one chapter a day. That can be anywhere between 3000 and 4000 words. Occasionally more. And I don’t go to bed until I’ve made my goal.

· Are you a long time paranormal fan? What was your first experience with the paranormal that hooked you? Was it a movie or a book?

Again, yes! Two of my earliest memories are of watching The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Crystal. Neither is actually urban fantasy, but definitely paranormal. After that, there was Ghostbusters, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, and other movies like that. As a child, I mostly read classics. The Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, etc… But by the time I was eleven, I’d graduated to Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon, and Dean Koontz. And while I read the occasional bit of contemporary, literary, or historical fiction, I’m a paranormal girl at heart. ;-)

· What made you decide to write about the paranormal? And a werecat, not the normal werewolf or even vampires but something so different?

I was reading a ton of urban fantasy and horror, so writing it seemed natural. Several members of my family ask me (quite frequently) why I don’t write something “normal,” and my answer is always the same. I live “normal.” I want to write something exciting! Something scary on more than one level. Something escapist, that feels safe at first, because it couldn’t ever really happen. But then… what if it could…? ;-)

Why werecats? While I do read a few vampire and/or werewolf series, I honestly don’t have anything to add to those particular mythologies. They’ve been done so well, and so often, that I wanted to do something different, but familiar. Faythe and her family are not the first werecats out there. But I’ve yet to run across another series focusing on werecats as anything other than sidekicks for the central vamp/wolf. (Not saying they aren’t out there. Just saying I haven’t found them.) And I thought cats deserved a better shot than that.
And, frankly, I’m a cat person. ;-)

· Did you do a lot of research about big cats and their social structure and how they live to merge it into the werecat's lives?

Yes. I studied the biology of several different big cats, trying to decide how to handle the conservation-of-mass problem inherent with Shifters. And I studied the social structure of lion prides. Then I reversed it. Instead of having lots of females and one adult male per pride, my werecats (a solid black species I made up) have lots of men and only one fertile female per Pride. Which provides tons of conflict—necessary in any good story. ;-)

· Tell us a little about your Shifters series and the newest book in the series, Prey.

My Shifters series is set in a closed world, which means humans have no idea they’re not the only sentient creatures out there. But unlike most of the other urban fantasies I’ve read, my Shifters are alone in their world, with humans. There are no vampires, witches, demons, or any other kind of supernatural creatures. No magic, no curses, no secret dimensions. There are just humans and Shifters (three species, that we see in the series), dealing with all the issues we have in real life. Family, love, friendship, politics, revenge, and hope. I try to leave a grain of hope in what is otherwise a pretty dark, violent, passionate world.

The series centers around a 23 yr. old female werecat named Faythe Sanders. Faythe starts out the series in Stray knowing only that she wants to be something other than a wife and mother—the role tabbycats must take in her world, in order to perpetuate their species. She’s been spoiled all of her life, because everyone knows she’ll have to sacrifice her freedom and independence some day to provide the next generation of her family. She’s the only one who can do that.

But that’s not what she wants, and the series shows her efforts to carve more out of life for herself, and for her fellow tabbies. And, of course, to fight the bad guys. She matures over the course of the series, and learns some pretty tough lessons. And by the third book, Pride, she’s had a bit of a role reversal. After that, Faythe is a force to be reckoned with. But she doesn’t have superpowers, or magic, or anything like that, other than a Shifter’s enhanced strength—which is little good against other Shifters. Faythe’s assets —once she understands how to use them—are loyal friends and family, a quick mind, and a big heart. And a hell of a left hook. ;-)

· You have a new series coming out later this year, A Young Adult book, My Soul to Take. What made you decide to write YA? Is it due to the popularity of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight phenomenon that a lot of paranormal authors are dipping their toes into the YA genre?

I decided to write YA because a couple of years ago, I started reading a lot of YA and I fell in love with what the genre had to offer. I can’t speak for other authors, but Twilight had nothing to do with my own desire to write YA. In fact, I’ve only read the first in that series. Harry Potter was the series that drew me back into this field, for the first time since The Babysitters Club, back in fifth grade. I came late to the HP phenomenon, but I devoured them. Loved the stories, loved the characters.

From there, I moved on to Scott Westerfeld, Melissa Marr, Lisa McMann, and Laurie Halse Anderson. I also enjoyed books by Jay Asher, Simon Holt, Brooke Taylor, Laura Wiess and Carrie Ryan. I love what YA is doing in and for the publishing community right now, and I’m so excited to be a part of it! In fact, part of me thinks I might still be dreaming. ;-)

· Tell us a little about the upcoming Soul Screamers series and the first book, My Soul to Take.

My Soul to Take is about a high school junior named Kaylee who gets these horrible, dark panic attacks—complete with brain-rattling screaming fits—when she thinks someone near her is about to die. She thinks she’s losing her mind, and has actually spent time in a psychiatric hospital. But it turns out she’s a bean sidhe (banshee)—and her premonitions of death are right on target.

The Soul Screamers books are my foray into Young Adult literature, and they’re completely unrelated to my Shifters series. Kaylee lives in a world populated by all kinds of creatures (no vamps, witches, or shifters), who know many, many ways to die. And, unfortunately, death isn’t always the end.

I love these books. Kaylee’s world consumes me. I’ve never had ideas fly at me as quickly as they do when I bury myself in her world. Anything is possible. But it’s all dangerous. So if you visit her, don’t touch the plant life. Just… trust me on that one. ;-)

· When you are not writing do you read a lot?

Yes, I love to read. In fact, for my birthday, all I’ve asked for is a day free of obligations, so I can read all day. And maybe go out to dinner. ;-) Unfortunately, I have to admit that I haven’t had a lot of spare time lately, and the pile of books I really, really want to read is so high that if it were to fall, it would crush me. Stack hardbacks on the bottom, people. There are lives at stake. ;-)
Seriously, though, most of my days lately see me writing, editing, plotting, or promoting until after midnight. All day long. That’s what yesterday was like, but then I did read for an hour in bed. I have an ARC of Simon Holt’s upcoming release (The Soulstice), and I couldn’t put it down! Hope to finish it tonight.

· What books are currently on your to-read list?

I’m currently in the middle of Tithe and North of Beautiful. I’m looking forward to Beautiful Creatures; Strange Angles; Wintergirls; White Witch, Black Curse; Magic in the Blood, and Bone Crossed.

· Who are some of your favorite authors?

Oh, man. Most of the authors whose books I’ve mentioned so far. But since I became an author, I’ve met bunches of other authors, so I’m only going to mention the ones I haven’t actually met (but would love to!). My roots are in horror, and I am a huge, babbling Stephen King fan. Unrepentant. Unshakable. Stephen King is one of the few writers whose work hides the mechanics from me. When I read his stuff, I don’t see plot, and language, and character arcs. I see a story, and I almost always get completely lost in that story.
Patricia Briggs. Faye Kellerman (Mysteries confound me. I can’t write them. I’m in awe of those who can.) I could go on. But it would be embarrassing. ;-)

· If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?

I would want to sit down with Roland, from Stephen King’s Dark Tower books. He’s seen a lot of stuff, from a lot of different worlds, and I want to hear about it all. I don’t cook, but I’d totally cook for him. He is missing several fingers, after all… ;-)

· What is your strangest habit?

I don’t write at a desk. I never have. I write in my recliner, with my laptop on my lap. And I don’t work in hardcopy. Ever. Even my edits come via email these days. I don’t keep notes on paper. I don’t even take phone messages on paper. The only time I ever actually write something down is on Post-it notes.

· If you weren’t a writer what would your career be?

I thought I would be a teacher. I actually taught ninth grade English for a very short while, but that turned out not to be my gift. So I guess if I weren’t a writer, I’d probably be a secretary, or administrative assistant. I really love to type. ;-)

· When you are not writing, what can you usually be found doing, other than reading?

Other than reading? Watching DVDs (love horror; Netflix!) or playing Rock Band. I’ve mastered the orange button. The world is now mine to conquer!

· Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Um… I give away a lot of stuff on my blog. Mostly books, but I have something big going on the last week of June and the first week of July, to celebrate the release of Prey (July 1) come check it out!

Thanks so much for visiting Fang-tastic Books, Rachel!

Would you like to win a copy of Rachel's newest Shifters Book, PREY?

Then leave a comment answering this question:

If you were a shifter what type of animal

would you like to be able to shift into?

A winner will randomly be chosen and announced on Wednesday. US shipping only.


LadyVampire2u said...

Great interview! And congrats on this new release!!
What animal would I be if I could shape-shift? I think I'd like to be a wolf. I've always liked wolves and if I was spotted by someone, I might get away with being mistaken for a dog. Thats important since I live in a big city.

Jacqueline C. said...

Nice interview!

If I were a shifter I would definitely be some sort of powerful cat. Probably a panther or a lion. Low-key yet deadly.

Chris said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

I would definitely want to be able to shift into a black panther. :)

Brooke Reviews said...

Just wanted to comment and say GREAT INTERVIEW! :D

Don't enter me, I've already got my copy!

Cybercliper said...

Wow...congrats on the new release and I loved the interview! If I could shift, I'd love to be a jaguar - beautiful, silent and deadly.

The Scarf Princess said...

Great interview! And congratulations on your new release! Your books sound fabulous!

And just to be different, how about I choose a horse to shift in to. They're sleek and speedy. And one day I could be famous for winning the Kentucky Derby.

DrkCherry said...

I would shift into a black panther. Panthers are just sexier than wolves (which are more common in shifter books). Most horror movies show shifting into wolves as painful and well disgusting looking. Panthers just seem like there is an intelligence there, while wolves just seem

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Great answer joder, never heard anyone want to be a horse before that's cool.

Me, I would want to be a wolf or a large cat like a jaguar or panther. Soemthing strong, sleek and deadly. I am a cat person though wolves really have a special place with me, something about them...

shal said...

I love you interview questions and the giveaway question. I've been asked this question so much the answer is automatic now. I'd loooove to shift into a snow leopard(Love the black spots on the white skin)

Becky said...

What a great interview! Congrats on the new release! Prey sounds really good; also your YA Soul Screamers series sound good too.

If I was a shifter, I would either be a wolf or a tiger. I have always loved both of these animals since I was a child and wanted to own one.

cornelia amiri said...

The books sound incredible. I'm a cat person and shape shifting is my favorite type of paranormal so I have always loved feline shape shifter tales. As far as what I would want to shape shift into, I would love to live in the underwater world so I would pick a seal, a selkie.

Jamie said...

Oh I would definitely want to shift into a panther or leopard something like that. I get butterflies in my stomach when a shifter purrrs or growls!! Yummm!!

nfmgirl said...

I'd have to say "wolf". They are so beautifu, and such emotional creatures.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Cathy M said...

I love the freedom and power of an eagle shifter.

Lovin this series, Rachel and can't wait to read Prey.

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

I think I would have to be dull and say a wolf. Wolves are very very cool and highly misunderstood. I think being able to shift into a wolf would be cool b/c there would be power/strength even in my human body. Plus the perk of burning calories mega fast so that you always stay fit is definitely a perk!

Angiegirl said...

Thank you for the interview. I think I would like to be a bird of some sort. Hawk perhaps? Not much in a fight but seems like the whole flight thing would be incredibly useful. And awesome.


emmad said...

If I was a shifter I would change into a dog. Preferablly able to choice from several breeds but if had to stick to one would be a um dalmation.
Non threatening enough that people wouldn't be scared of me but big enough to put up a fight if required.

Unknown said...

Lovely interview!

If I were a shifter I'd want to become a raven. What's better then flying around as the largest song bird?

~Stephanie B

donnas said...

Sounds great. If I could shift into anything it would be a cat. They are just my favorite animals.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Pamk said...

I would want to be a dragon and cause dang it that means I can fly.

Lori T said...

Great interview and congrats on the release of Prey and I am really looking forward to My Soul to Take!

If I could shift, I think that I would probably be a wolf. I would love to be entered in the contest.

Donna said...

I would want to be a jaguar, they are so sleek and beautiful with the look of power.

Thanks for the interview! I like Rachel's thoughts on what she writes "I live “normal.” I want to write something exciting!" Yay for that! I feel the same way about reading.


Anonymous said...

That interview was AMAZING. I've always been a big Stephen King fan, it's so cool to see that I have something in common with my favorite author.

If I could shift in to any animal, it would be a cat, but instead of the species in Rachel's series, I'd want to be able to shift into a siberian tiger. I think they are some of the most beautiful cats ever. <3

Pam P said...

Loved the interview, Rachel.

I'd want to be some sort of bird shifter, maybe a hawk or an eagle; would love to fly and soar high in the sky.

Unknown said...

If I were a shifter, I'd like to be able to turn into some sort of big bird. Falcon or something. I love the thought of free flying.

This looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I would want to be able to shapeshift into a big cat.

malleycc said...

Nice interview. I would be an eagle. I like flying.

- said...

I love all her answers! Her world is so definite!

I would LOVE to be able to shift into a dog. They're so sweet and fun!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview! If I could shift I would want to be a dragon! Hey, if you are going to venture into the world of fantasy might as well go all the way!


Chris J. said...

Hi Rachel! and Congrats on the new release!
I cannot wait to read Prey! I love your books!

The animal I would choose to be if I sould shape shift is a Black panther with bright green eyes! They are mysterious, beautiful and seem to lend to stories of ancients and magic! Pretty cool animals.

Great interview!

Anonymous said...

I would be a platypus. Not because they're pretty but because of their diversity. You could experience life from 2 worlds. You could see the ocean, and land and see the beauty of both.

Mariee said...

Great interview!

If I were a shifter I'd be a tiger. I love them, they're big, powerful and beautiful!

Kristi said...

I think that I would like to be a gazelle - they are beautiful and quick - and I know, usually prey for others - but I would be smart and not be anywhere that I would be lunch!

Great interview - loved the questions!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Anonymous said...


cause just preety and innocent

Anonymous said...

A small cat. I would want to be able to sneak around.


Anonymous said...

If its not too late, I'd like to be a bobcat--big enough to be a big cat, small enough to purr and sleep on a rock in the sun

Nicole H. said...

I would go between a wolf- have loved them forever lol, and a Fishing Cat, because I have always been intrigued by them!

Christy Turney said...

A cheetah I love how fast they can run!! It's like flying on four legs. :-) Christy Turney

Anonymous said...

I would be a were-tiger. The strength and power they have in those muscles are impressive but they're definitely not cuddly. And neither am I.

A.L.C. said...

I Would be a Wolf. I mean the film said it all 'love without doubt and power without guilt'.