My guest today is the wonderfully talented Rachel Caine. Rachel is involved with several upcoming anthologies and she has a new urban fantasy series called Revivalist coming this summer. The first book in the series, Working Stiff, hits shelves on August 2, 2011. Please join me in welcoming Rachel here today to Dark Faerie Tales.
Rachel Caine is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the young adult Morganville Vampires series (Glass Houses, The Dead Girls’ Dance, Midnight Alley, Feast of Fools, Lord of Misrule, Carpe Corpus, Fade Out, Kiss of Death, Ghost Town, Bite Club, and Last Breath). She is also the author of the powerhouse urban fantasy Weather Warden series (Ill Wind, Heat Stroke, Chill Factor, Windfall, Firestorm, Thin Air, Gale Force, Cape Storm, and Total Eclipse), as well as the popular Outcast Season series, set in the universe of the Weather Warden novels (Undone, Unknown, Unseen, and Unbroken).
Her newest urban fantasy series, The Revivalist, is set to debut in August 2011 with the release of Working Stiff.
She has also written paranormal romantic action/adventure for the Silhouette Bombshell line, including Devil’s Bargain, Devil’s Due, and the award-winning Athena Force: Line of Sight.
Rachel is also a contributor to several short story collections, including My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, Strange Brew, Dark and Stormy Knights, Hex Symbols, and Retro Murder (all edited by P.N. Elrod), and the New York Times bestseller Many Bloody Returns (edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner). She is also a contributor to the Immortal and Eternal anthologies(edited by P.C. Cast), The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance (edited by Trisha Telep), and Eternal Kiss (edited by Trisha Telep), among many others.
A former professional musician, graphic artist, web designer, and corporate communications executive, Rachel finally left the business world in 2010 to devote her time completely to writing. She and her husband, award-winning fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
HOW ANTHOLOGIES SAVED MY (WRITING) LIFE
Yes, it’s true. Anthologies saved — well, if not my life, then my WRITING life. Honest.
Back in 2000, I hit a very low spot in my writing … nothing was working, and nothing was selling that I did manage to have published, so I was really considering focusing back on my full time (i.e., steady) job and forgetting about this wacky writing altogether.
Then a funny thing happened on my way to quitting: a friend of mine, the fabulous P.N. Elrod, suggested me for a vampire-themed anthology called TIME OF THE VAMPIRES. I wrote a short story. It did well. (The anthology keeps being reprinted, too, even as late as last year.)
Then I was asked to contribute again, to the DRACULA’S LONDON anthology.
And suddenly, I was excited about writing again.
About that time, I wrote a proposal for a novel called ILL WIND, and the Weather Warden series was born; soon after that came the Morganville Vampires series, and for the past eight years, things have been moving along at increasing speed.
Oh, I also got an invitation to contribute (about the same time) to a BenBella Smart Pop non-fiction anthology about Buffy the Vampire Slayer … and that led to a run of about 14 features in their awesome and fun books about popular culture with that extremely creative and wonderful group of people.
Since then, I’ve been in a lot of anthologies, including the New York Times bestselling MANY BLOODY RETURNS (Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner), and Pat Elrod’s marvelous BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON, and many others. And I’ve kind of fallen in love all over again with short fiction. It’s challenging, and when you get it right, it’s magical how it can clear and focus your mind as a writer … and I’ve found many, many new authors through my expanded reading of these collections.
I’ll admit, I was never one to chase after magazines for submissions; generally, I wrote short fiction and put it up on my website instead of spending all that time sending out stuff. But the themed anthologies that have become popular over the past 10 years have been an amazing market for a lot of writers, and a boon indeed to voracious readers who don’t necessarily want to invest right off in a brand new series, or an unknown author … it’s a bit of a test drive.
2011 is a particularly busy year for me, anthology-wise! I have short stories coming out in the super-cool THOSE WHO FIGHT MONSTERS collection (ed. by Justin Gustainis); the CHICKS KICK BUTT anthology (ed. by Kerrie Hughes and — oh look, me!); the ENTHRALLED young adult collection (ed. by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong), and the upcoming HEX SYMBOLS and RETRO MUDER anthologies, both edited by P.N. Elrod, which are so new that they don’t even have covers yet.
I am delighted to be part of the thriving and — against all the odds! — successful short story market via the world of the theme anthologies; if you haven’t checked these out, it’s a great way to dip your toe into the universes of many different authors for a low, low entry price. And chances are, in every single collection you’ll discover at least one new author to follow … and a whole lot of hidden treasures.
Go on, be brave, dive into some short fiction! It’s fun!
And hey … you might even save a writing life along the way.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I’ve been a lot of things — professional musician (classical, clarinet), insurance investigator (not fun), payroll manager (ditto), graphic designer (better), web designer (super fun), and head of corporate communications for a big international corporation (kind of a mix of all of those things, in terms of fun, but great experience). I’m now a full time writer, by which I mean I write four to five novels a year, plus a bunch of short stories, and travel extensively. REALLY FUN!
2. What is the most enjoyable aspect of attending this annual convention?
I’m just as much a reader and fan as anybody else, and it’s the same reason that readers come — to meet the authors! I’m so excited to see the great list of people who are going to be here. I love meeting readers, too, and booksellers, and librarians … they’re fascinating people, every one!
3. What is the most stressful?
Having a deadline looming. (There’s always a deadline looming somewhere.)
4. From speaking panels, signings and attending special events, you must be exhausted. What do you do with your precious down time?
I will probably spend time meeting and talking to people — that’s why I’m here! But in my down time, I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing. (See #3, above.)
5. What strategies do you use to manage your time?
It’s very simple: you never find time, you make it, by carving away other things. In my case, it’s usually sleep … I go to bed about midnight, and wake up at about 6 am to write. That lets me put in seven hours straight, then break for lunch and have the afternoon for errands and time with my husband and friends. I don’t do as many fun things as I’d like — I love the zoo, museums, etc. — but there are only so many hours, and the work has to come first. That’s my strategy, and it seems to work pretty well as a balance for me.
(Although if you have any time-stretching spells lying around, please, let me know as soon as possible!)
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