1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
10. 10, 10, 10. 10 squared. Why? Well, here’s the landscape of my life at the moment: (1) Moving to a new house — a lovely house, but anything that could go wrong, did, up to and including lightning blowing up an oak tree in the back yard on the first night we were there. (2) Still trying to paint, repair and market the old house, so am paying two mortgage payments, two electric bills … (3) deadlines for books that fall every 30 to 60 days for the rest of the year … (4) a stressful day job, and (5) still not totally given the A-OK after my radiation treatments for breast cancer, although yay, I’ve passed my six-months mark, post-treatment!
So yeah. A bit stressed. But no worries. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I thrive on stress.
Which is, of course, INSANE. See above rating.
2. You originally started out writing horror as Roxanne Longstreet Conrad. Do you think your name change to Rachel Caine, something shorter and sassier, has changed your image? Did you change it to reflect the more hip and urban feel of the Weather Warden books?
Boy, I wish I was that clever and savvy. Actually, we were trying to create a clear separation between my earlier work — which, as you said, was mainly horror and suspense — and I wanted to keep my initials the same.
But hey, thanks for the “hip and urban” comment! I think my image — sorry, the idea that I have an image makes me laugh — probably reflects a little more of my actual personality these days. I have a great love and zest for life, people, fun … I hope that some of that comes across.
3. How much research do you do for the Weather Warden books? There’s the meteorology side of it, and the djinn–oooooh David! And do you write around your research, or research around what you write?
Good question! There’s a ton of nonspecific reading that goes into the WW books — I read a lot of weather books, obviously, and a lot of anecdotal accounts of people who’ve been through major storms, hurricanes, floods, fires … you name it. As to the djinn, I have read a lot of the classic myth and legend, but I freely and cheerfully admit to twisting them around to serve my own nefarious purposes.
I tend to incorporate the research as I go along in my plotting, but sometimes I run into areas where I know I have “knowledge gaps,” and that’s the last-minute research. It’s fun. I really enjoy the research aspects.
4. Glasshouses is a young-adult novel. A VAMPIRE young-adult novel, which makes me very very happy. <g> Have you always wanted to write one? Or did you have to be told that it’s a young-adult novel?
I was actually approached by the publisher with the idea of writing a YA vampire series, and my initial impulse was to turn it down on two counts — first, I’ve never written YA, and second, I wasn’t sure that I really had anything to add to a genre that’s been so well covered, especially, lately, by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
However, I got to thinking about it, and I was intrigued by the challenges, so I sat down and wrote out a proposal. As I went along, I found that I was coming up with things that surprised me, which was a great pleasure.
And the publisher liked the direction, so … there you go! I’m anxious to see what people think of it. I certainly am having a blast with it. (By the way, the second book will be called THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE.)
5. You’ve not chosen to take yet another pseudonym for your young-adult novels, unlike most authors who write adult fiction as well. Granted, you don’t write erotic romance or something else that you’d probably not want teenagers to read. But was there any other reason why you didn’t take another pseudonym?
Apart from the fact that I’m having a hard time telling who I am, considering how many pseudonyms I already have? Actually, the publisher really felt that using the Rachel Caine name was an advantage in this case.
6. Now you’re writing for three different publishers. Assuming one book per publisher each year, that’s 3 books a year, not including short stories. Have you thought about writing full-time? Do you think you’d accomplish more as a writer if you wrote full-time? Or are you a can-and-will-do-everything-in -one-lifetime type person?
… Oh, you wanted detail? Okay, try this on for size — I actually have FIVE current publishers: Roc, Silhouette Bombshell, NAL/Jam, BenBella Books, and Fandemonium (out of Britain). Not counting anthology publishers.
I’ve had to back away from doing as many essays for BenBella Books as before, just because I’m truly, horrifyingly overloaded at times. (But I still love them. They’re excellent, fun people.) And I had intended to get two more Stargate novels done in 2006, but it seems likely now that at least one of them will slide to 2007. Even so, this year I’ll be turning in about four books and doing post-production work on three or four more.
I’m still not sure that I’d like to write full time. There are things that are very comforting to me about having a day job — guaranteed income, reliable health insurance, having a rigid schedule to follow. But it’s definitely getting more and more challenging to fit the puzzle together. Eventually, I will probably back away from my day job (although I keep getting promoted, and now I’m actually classified as “executive level”) and go to part time, or do freelance work.
But for the time being, I’m going to keep spinning those plates!
7. Joanne Baldwin and the heroines of the Red Letter Days books are kick-ass heroines. Do you see yourself as one?
Well, I am a complete loss at most sports, although I’m a halfway decent fencer. I can’t throw darts to save my life. I’ve never thrown a good punch, and my physical conditioning would give the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man a run for his money.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a kick-ass heroine. I see kick-ass heroines every day, and they’re my role models. For instance, a lady I work with went through chemo and radiation shortly after I finished my treatments, and she not only continued to work full time at a very demanding, stressful job, she did it with strength and style. That’s totally kick-ass. There are moms who do things every day for their kids that are stunningly heroic — working two jobs, plus doing everything their family needs. I know tons of quietly heroic women — and men — and their grace amazes me.
But me? No, I don’t think I qualify as kick-ass. But I’d make a hell of a good sidekick. And possibly comic relief.
Well, here at T&T, we think that Rachel’s a kick-ass woman. So chime in and agree with me.