Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interview with Rachel Vincent

Today I have the privilege of interviewing Rachel Vincent, the author of the Shifters and Soul Screamers series. I first met (met being virtual) Rachel when I was in the submission process with Once Bitten and she'd just sold Stray but still had a good year or more wait before it was set to hit shelves. She was one of the first authors I worked up the nerve to talk to, and she turned out to be one of the nicest, most helpful people I've ever corresponded with. She also turned out to be an absolutely phenomenal author who quickly rose to the top of my 'must buy' list. 

The final novel in her Shifters series, Alpha, hits shelves today and I'm anxiously awaiting the UPS man to deliver my copy. So it is with a great deal of excitement that I'm interviewing Rachel about her writing, the Shifter series, and Alpha.

Without further ado, the interview:


Kalayna: The Shifters series was your first published series and I know it must be a little scary for it to be coming to an end. In a genre with many apparently never ending series, what made you decide to end yours after book six and a short story instead of starting a new arc of the story and continuing?
Rachel: Good question. Usually people ask me why I’m ending the series, and the answer to that is because Faythe’s story has come to its natural conclusion. So why didn’t I just switch to a new character and start a new arc in the same world? I guess I don’t want to be known as a one-trick pony. I love Faythe and her friends and family, and I will always love them. But Shifters wasn’t the first series I wrote, and it obviously won’t be the last, considering I also write YA now. I don’t want to cling to one world just because it’s proved successful for me. I need to know that Shifters wasn’t a fluke—that I can write something else for adults that people will like.

Kalayna: While each book in the Shifters series stands alone, it has been very clear since early on that the everything has been building toward the climatic confrontation promised in this final installment. When you started the series, how much of the storyline was plotted? Have you known since book one where Faythe's journey would take her? I know you use post-it notes and a whiteboard when you sit down to write individual books, but can you share any quick insight to how you planned the series?
Rachel: I wrote Stray as a standalone, because I hadn’t thought very far beyond simply writing the book. Then I was told that urban fantasy tended to sell in sets of 2 or 3 and that it might be beneficial for me to have a sequel at least started when I was ready to pitch Stray. So I wrote Rogue. During the revisions for Rogue, I started to get an idea of where the story was going. When I realized that there would be very real consequences for the crime Faythe committed (through self-defense) in Rogue, the rest of the world building (Council, Malone, large-scale rebellion) began to fall into place.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have any insights to share in how I planned out the series. I just kind of did it. There was a lot of talking things through with my CP, my editor, and #1. A lot of idea bouncing. That kind of thing.

Kalayna: Speaking of what was planned . . . I have to ask about the Jace/Marc storyline. (You knew they would come up eventually.) Now, I must say I've been firmly team Jace since I met him in book one--in fact, I felt terribly bad for him and his super cat hearing when he was in traction down the hall from Faythe's room at the end of book one--but I know you have fans voting (rather vehemently) for opposing sides of that love triangle. Did you know from the beginning of the series that Faythe would get caught in that rather tangled love triangle? Have you always known who she will end up with at the end? Have you ever been tempted to change who that will be?
Rachel: Honestly, I never thought of it as a “love triangle” until other people started calling it that, at the end of Stray. Before I’d given any hint of Jace’s continued pursuit of Faythe after being turned down. I’ve always thought of it simply as Faythe having choices, which can happen to anyone. How many people date only one person before making a permanent choice? I went to high school and college. I know most people have options, and most people explore those options. No one I knew in real life struggled as much with the final choice as Faythe has, but then, no one I know in real life has fought side by side with and put her life in the hands of two people who genuinely love her like Marc and Jace love Faythe, either.
Have I always known who she’d end up with? No. But I always knew that it would be one or the other. Sharing just isn’t an option for anyone in Faythe’s world with Alpha potential. They’re too stubborn and a bit jealous. Maybe even a little possessive.
Have I been tempted to change the final decision? Yes, of course! If it was an easy decision to make, I wouldn’t have written it in the first place. This is a real struggle for Faythe, and it was a real struggle to write, too. ;)

Kalayna: In the world of your shifter novels, the pride cats are the predominant shifter species. We are told early on that werewolves are extinct, but over the course of the series we meet two other shifter species. Will we meet any new species in Alpha?
Rachel: No, but you’ll see just about everyone you’ve met in the series so far.

Kalayna: Alpha is the final full length shifter series you ever plan to release. I can only imagine what you're feeling right now as with this book, you will be simultaneously saying goodbye to these characters and sharing with your readers the final payoff for what everything in the series has been building toward. How do you plan to celebrate the release? Anything special or different from what you've done to celebrate the release of other books?
Rachel: Um… I usually celebrate a release with more work. It seems premature to celebrate a release, because on release day, it’s too early to know how the book is doing, in sales. I wish I could say that sales don’t matter. That I can just sit back and enjoy my accomplishment. But the truth is that if a book doesn’t sell well, the author may never get to write another one. So while #1 and I might go out to dinner or take a night off to watch a movie, my celebration always comes with a note of caution and a reminder to myself to keep working hard. If you climb too high, the only way left to go is down. ;)

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Rachel! Now I have to get through my daily pages so I can devour  read Alpha when it arrives.




By the way, Alpha and Grave Witch have both been nominated for "Best UF/PNR BOOK Cover For October 2010 Book Release" at Bitten By Books. You can vote for your top two favorites (hint hint) so please take a second to VOTE. (The poll can be found in the sidebar on the right hand side of the page.)







Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series, about a werecat named Faythe Sanders, who is learning to define her own role in her family and fighting to claim a place in her Pride.

Rachel’s young adult urban fantasy series, Soul Screamers, is about a teenage bean sidhe (banshee) trying to balance a normal high school experience with the terrifying, hidden world she’s just discovered. My Soul To Take and My Soul To Save are available now. Look for My Soul To Keep on June 1, 2010.

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her office with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks—seriously—and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

4 comments:

RKCharron said...

Hi!
What a wonderful interview!
The questions were some of the best I've read & Rachel's answers were great.
It's bitter-sweet to know that it is ending with this book (I can always re-read 'em!).
I'm looking forward to Rachel's new creations.
Thank you for an excellent interview Rachel & Kalayna!
All the best,
Rob

Kalayna Price said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Rob! I'm also sad that the Shifters series is ending, but I'm sure we've all read series which have continued far beyond where they should, so I think Rachel's decision to end the story where it well, ends, is sound. And like you said, we can always reread the books.

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Victoria said...

Thanks for the interview. I love this series. I will miss the shifters series but am looking forward to the new adult series from Rachel.