Rachel Caine has been kind enough to share a guest post with us today. Thanks so much Rachel!
NAL – Jam (Penguin Group) has also offered to share a five book giveaway! (see below for details)
Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series, as well as the bestselling Weather Warden and Outcast Season series. Her newest release, CARPE CORPUS (Book 6 of the Morganville series) went on sale June 2. CAPE STORM, the next Weather Warden book, will be out August 4.
Can I tell you a secret?
I didn't really intend to write the Morganville series. Or any vampire series. Or any young adult series.
Here's what happened: I got an inquiry from my publisher, who wondered if I'd be interested in writing a YA series for their NAL JAM line of books. I was ... to put it mildly ... a little thrown. "But I don't write young adult," I said. I was, at the time, writing the fourth book of the Weather Warden series, which is -- for language, violence, and yes, sex -- decidedly not YA. In fact, I didn't know anything about the YA market, other than it was vaguely on the other side of the store. So although I was deeply flattered by the inquiry, I was pretty much decided it wasn't for me. Especially since what the publisher was interested in was something vampire-themed.
Now, I'd done vampires before ... more than once. And I really didn't think there was anything I had to say about them, especially post-Buffy. How could I possibly come up with something new anyway?
I happened to call my dear (recently departed) friend Ter Matthies. She was one of those "long drive home" people you could talk to for an hour and a half about, oh, anything. During the call, I mentioned the YA thing. Ter immediately said, in that forthright way she had, "You obviously should do that."
"Um ... why?"
"Because you'd be great at it. You understand how to create interesting characters, and you think sideways. It's just a matter of writing characters that are younger, and making them believable. You can do that."
I think I spluttered "But ..." a couple of times.
"Don't think YA is like the old days," she said. "Most of the books I read now come from the YA shelves. There's incredible stuff over there."
"Really. They're telling the best stories over there. So just say yes."
"But -- they want something with vampires. And I don't want to do the good-guy vampire thing anyway."
"Then don't," Ter said. "How would you make it different?"
I happened to be listening -- believe it or not -- to a CD of the theme music from The Sopranos. "Well," I said, not quite seriously, "Maybe the vampires are like the Mafia. You pay them not to hurt you." I thought about it for a critical second. "Maybe they've taken over a small town. Isolated. And my younger characters are just trying to get by." We both talked about the concept of "blood money" for a moment, and thought that was kind of interesting.
Ter thought about it. "What else?" (She was great at asking this question. It's an awesome question. I ask it of myself, all the time.)
"Well," I said. "Maybe the reason they've taken over the town is that there's something wrong with them. Something they're trying to fix."
This time there was a long silence. "You mean, they're sick?"
"Yes," I said. "Maybe something like vampire Alzheimer's. Maybe they've lost the ability to control themselves at a certain point. Maybe they're really vulnerable now and can't make new vampires, so this is their last stand." I paused, and said, "It's like a nature preserve. They're predators, but they're beautiful, and they're endangered. So it's not a good versus evil sort of situation, except on a very personal level."
Ter, who regularly snarked about the deals made in Publisher's Lunch, was silent. I thought, Oh no. That really sucked.
Then she said, "A cross between the Mafia and a tiger preserve. I'd read that." And she meant it. "Write that. I dare you."
The rest of the conversation was about friend-type stuff ... how cool Alan Rickman was as Snape in the Harry Potter movies. How much we both loved Remus Lupin. How we really needed to spend more time together. You know. Life.
That was the spring of 2006, I believe. The first Morganville book came out in October 2006.
Because Ter dared me to do it.
I'm writing this because Ter was sick by the end of 2007, and slipped away from us in 2008, and I never did get to spend more time with her. I never got to properly thank her for pushing me beyond my limits, one more time.
That's the real story of Morganville. I said no. Ter made me think sideways, and look what happened.
And she was right about the YA shelves. There's so much good stuff over there, it's dizzying. Go look, if you're not already there.
Thank you, Ter. I love you.
This one's for you.
- - Rachel Caine
To learn more about Carpe Corpus, please visit Ms. Caine’s website: HERE
You can visit the Penguin Group website: HERE
Read a review of Carpe Corpus: HERE
Visit Ms. Caine’s author page on Darque Reviews: HERE
GIVEAWAY – How to enter:
This giveaway is for five copies of Carpe Corpus, sponsored by NAL/Penguin Group, and open to U. S. residents. There are two ways to enter:
1. To enter just leave one comment on this post anytime over the next week.
2. For a second entry, post the giveaway info on your blog or website and email me the link (DarqueReviews AT gmail Dot com) with ‘Carpe Corpus’ in the subject line.
The five lucky winners will be announced on Monday, June 15, 2009. Be sure to check back and see if you’re one of them!
Good Luck and Happy Reading!
Kimberly Swan, DarqueReviews.com