Rachel Caine

We recently sent a tweet to Rachel Caine asking if she would be willing to do an interview with us and while many authors interact with their fans it can be overwhelming which may delay the time in which they reply if at all. However, Rachel replied almost immediately and we had the interview completed within just a few hours. This amazing author is the creator of The Morganville Vampires and has won tons of awards over the years for her excellent work. If you have yet to read anything by her you are definitely missing out so check out her work today. Thank you Rachel for taking the time to do this interview with VampireForums we definitely appreciate it and enjoyed it very much. She also has graciously agreed to send us a copy of her book Glass House, the first book in the Morgan Vampires series which will be offered for a contest in the near future.

How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing stories when I was 14, but in truth, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer — or even had that option! — until a friend of mine kind of kidnapped me and took me to a science fiction/fantasy convention, where I met actual, living writers and editors. It suddenly became possible for me to see it as a genuine thing I could do — write and publish. I was very lucky; I published very quickly after that.

How did you get the idea for the Morganville Vampires and how long did it take you to write the first book?
Oddly enough, I started out writing vampire books back in the early 90s; my first original book was THE UNDEAD, which was — you guessed it — a vampire novel. I did a sequel to it called COLD KISS, but about that time (1994) the trend was already over, and my vampire book didn’t do so well. Too bad, because I loved writing it.

Fast forward to 2005, and I had a thriving career as an urban fantasy writer (Weather Warden series) when I was asked if I’d like to write a YA book. I thought it’d be cool to go back to writing vampires, but I wasn’t sure I could think of anything new and different … a friend of mine made me tell her the first thing that popped into my head, and I said “The streetlights are really far apart!” And then it occurred to me that if vampires planned a town, they’d do that: put streetlights really far apart (or dispense with them altogether). So that was where it started .. with streetlights. It took me about 3 months to write the book, I think. That’s my usual speed.

Who is your biggest supporter?
Oh GOSH, I don’t know! I have a ton of really enthusiastic supporters — I’d hate to pick just one. But I think this job is the hardest on family, and my husband has really been completely and wonderfully supportive the entire time. So I’ll say him.

If you had to choose one word to describe the type of writer that you consider yourself what would it be?
Exciting. (Hopefully!)  I want to write “facehugger” books — books that make you lose sleep and miss bus stops and forget to go to work.

Out of each of your series which one did you find the easiest to write?
I think the easiest was probably either #4, Feast of Fools, or #11, Last Breath … both seemed to come to me much more easily than usual. And they came out the closest to what I imagined, which was nice.

The characters in each of your books vary so which one would you consider that you connect with the most?
By definition I have to connect with every one of the characters, but I think the one I’m most like is probably Claire — at her age, I was shy, bookish, and socially inexperienced, but stubborn as a mule. These days, I’m probably more like Eve, most likely!

We know that you have received several awards over the years for your writing so which one would you say really took you by surprise and why?
I think the most recent one … GLASS HOUSES was voted most favorite book among UK school kids in their annual poll. The poll covered 4.5 million books and involved more than 320,000 kids … and I just was amazed that my book was at the top of a list of VERY well-known books, including the Twilight and Harry Potter novels. Pretty overwhelming.

Do you currently have any pets and if so what are their names?
I don’t right now, only because I’m traveling so much just now. For 20 years, we had iguanas (Miss Iggy, Popeye and Darwin) and we also had, from time to time, turtles and other lizards. We love exotic reptiles. When things settle down again, we’ll adopt some new friends!

We have noticed that you work hard to stay in touch with your fans and to personally reply as often as possible which is very admirable but since many authors choose to not do this is there a reason why you do?
Writing is, for me, a very anti-social activity … when I’m writing, I’m closed off from the world. I like staying in touch with people, and hearing what they have to say about my books (good or bad). And I just like being able to chat with people — other writers, friends, relatives, strangers, whatever. The internet is like a big cocktail party, and I love a good party.

My experience with my readers is almost always positive, and I really think I get as much out of the interaction as they do.

Which series have you enjoyed writing the most and why?
I think I’ve enjoyed them all (or I wouldn’t have done them) … but overall, I guess the Morganville Vampires series has almost always been a fantastic, fun experience. Every book has its good and bad stages, but I wouldn’t have done 15 books if I didn’t love the series.

What is one thing about you that if most readers knew they would be surprised by?
Hmmmm … probably most people know I love my coffee and chocolate, but they might be surprised that I do my own plumbing work. BUT I DO IT VERY BADLY. So I’m not sure that counts.

Do you have a favorite author and have they inspired you in any way?
I have so many favorite authors, it’s hard to choose one … I suppose that Stephen King is my all-time favorite, but I love Roger Zelazny, Tanith Lee, cj Cherryh, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Richelle Mead, Heather Brewer … so many! And I’ve learned something from all of them … and from every book I’ve ever read. They all inspire me to some extent. So does everything I see and feel and experience.

For those that are just starting out and are hoping to be as successful as you are one day what advice would you give them?
I really believe the secret is persistence. I wrote a lot time before it occurred to me to try to publish; that gave me ample time to get my craft to a point where I could be taken seriously (and it is a CRAFT … it’s something you develop over time). But I also had ups and downs in my career, plenty of them, and at any point I could have quit. But I persisted. And 15 years after I first published, I finally began experiencing what I would call real success … what meant finally quitting my day job.

So patience is a virtue.

I would also say learn as much as you can about the business of writing — meaning, learning how the publishers work, how contracts work, what your rights and responsibilities are, what typically writers get paid, etc. The business of writing is just as important as the craft, I think.

Thank you and I’m glad to be part of the Vampire Forums family!

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