"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." ~William Makepeace Thackeray
Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Rachel Caine. Rachel is the author of the popular Morganville Vampires series and she has stopped by to discuss her latest book, Ghost Town, which recently released on October 26th. Rachel brought along a pair of hilarious vampire bunny slippers to give away and an ARC of Ghost Town. Details below.
Rachel Caine is the author of more than fifteen novels, including the Morganville Vampires and Weather Warden series. She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and still carries on a secret identity in the corporate world. She and her husband, fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Texas with their iguanas, Pop-eye and Darwin, a mali uromastyx named (appropriately) O'Malley, and a leopard tortoise named Shelly (for the poet, of course).
1. In Ghost Town: Morganville Vampires, Book 9, Claire and Myrnin create a computer program that will control the memories and boundaries of Morganville. Things take a drastic turn from the worse when humans and vampires start acting very strangely. Can you tell us a little more about the book and share with us a favorite line, scene or passage?
The theme of GHOST TOWN is really about coping with loss ... almost everyone in the book has suffered some kind of loss or serious life change in the past three years, and seeing how they cope with learning about those losses, or changes, all over again is what I wanted to explore. Are you the same person if you don't remember the things that helped shape you?
Here's an excerpt from GHOST TOWN that gives you a little taste:
“Get her out of my sight,” Amelie said, and looked at the other fallen vampires. The one who’d been burned badly by Claire’s silver nitrate got up and limped over, looking thoroughly terrified. “This one too. And release those others.” She waved a hand at the vampires Shane had nailed with the crossbow bolts. One of Oliver’s black-coated troopers glided over and pulled the arrows out. The two downed bloodsuckers, released from their paralysis, coughed and sputtered blood.
“Michael,” Claire whispered. Eve broke free and ran to him, throwing herself down on the floor and taking his head into her lap. He looked—oh, God—he looked . . . dead. His eyes were open, and he looked so pale, so still; there was a hole in the side of his throat, but not much blood. Claire skidded to a stop and put her hands to her mouth, trying to hold in a scream. She felt Shane’s hands close hard around her shoulders—that was probably his version of feeling the same rush of horror and denial.
Then Michael finally, slowly, blinked. Eve screamed. “Michael? Michael! Talk to me!”
“He can’t,” Amelie said. She had come up behind them, and was looking at Michael with a slight softening of her usual cool expression. Maybe, Claire thought, because Michael still reminded her of Sam, her lost love. Apart from the color of their hair, they’d looked a lot alike. “He’ll be all right once we get some nourishment into him. I’ll have my people take him directly to the blood bank.”
“I want to go with him!” Eve said.
“I’m not sure that’s wise. Drained and hungry vampires, even ones you know well, can be very unpredictable. I would hate for anything to happen that Michael might regret later.”
“What about what we might regret later?” Shane asked under his breath. “Oh, right. Humans don’t count.”
Amelie heard him, and her head swiveled smoothly as she focused her cool gray eyes on his face. “I only meant that you would likely not be around to regret anything, Mr. Collins. Ms. Rosser. Explain what happened here. Now.”
Eve was combing her fingers through Michael’s blond hair, but now she looked up, startled. That lasted only a second, though, and then her attitude snapped back in place. “Gee, I don’t know, maybe a vampire attack?” she snapped. “It was a party; then the frat idiots crashed and started boasting about how tough they were; then these freaks showed up to teach us all a lesson. That’s what they said. They wanted to put us in our place.”
“I see,” Amelie said. “And you did nothing to provoke them.”
“My friend—” Eve’s voice failed. Claire could see she was trying once again not to cry, and how much it hurt. “My friend Cory was just trying to have fun. That one, the redhead, she grabbed her and just . . . tore her up. Cory’s dead. I saw it happen.”
“Oh, man,” Shane whispered. Claire put her hand on top of his, where it lay on her shoulder. “Eve . . .” It sounded like he wanted to say something, but he had no idea what. She loved him for that.
Amelie waited a moment, and then said in a very low voice, “I am sorry for this experience, and for the loss of your friend. All who broke the law will be punished.”
Eve’s eyes grew brighter, but not with tears. With fury. “Punished? What, like little kids going to bed without their blood supper? No TV for a week? Time-out?”
“I can assure you that the punishment will be severe.”
Now Amelie’s voice turned cool again. “It is enough for me, and that will be enough for you, Ms. Rosser. Enough for all of you. Do I make myself clear?” She didn’t wait for an answer; she turned to Oliver, who was standing nearby, hands folded behind him, watching as the vampire prisoners and humans were herded out. “Vampires are dead here. I will expect a full investigation.”
“Of course,” Oliver said without turning. “And I expect the appropriate punishments will be meted out, according to the law.”
“Sir,” called one of Oliver’s men, who was kneeling over the red-haired girl with Claire’s stake in her chest. “You should see this.”
Oliver walked over, frowned, and crouched down to examine the girl more closely. “Silver,” his man said, and Oliver nodded. Oliver tugged on a pair of leather gloves and grabbed the stake, which he pulled out and immediately dropped with a clatter to the floor.
The girl didn’t breathe, move, or react.
Claire gripped Shane’s arm tightly, and waited, but the vampire stayed still on the floor, unmoving. There was a burned patch where the stake had gone in that continued to slowly burn outward.
“She’s dead,” Oliver said. “Silver poisoning. She must have been unusually allergic.”
Claire had killed her.
And the appropriate punishment for a human killing a vampire was death.
Love, grief, and desperation!
3. When comparing this series to your Weather Warden or Outcast series, was one in particular more challenging than the others to write?
I think all of them are challenging, but in very specific ways. Morganville is generally less of a stretch in the research area, but more work in terms of the type of research I am doing ... physics, alchemy, and a lot of history. But overall, I'd say that the Weather Warden series was more challenging, simply because of the scope of the problems and the amount of technical knowledge I needed.
4. If the world of Morganville was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles of Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?
Oooh, probably "Enjoy the Ride" by Morcheeba!
6. What were you like as a teenager and did you have any books in particular that were your favorites? If your teenage self was to read your novels what do you think she’d say?
I read constantly, but I can't say that I was completely fixed on any one set of books. I did really love Roger Zelazny's Amber series, though.
If I had read my books, I think I would have honestly enjoyed them a lot. Don't know if they would have been my favorites, but I think I would have read them and liked them.
7. What do you love most about the inhabitants of Morganville (vampire and human)?
I love that everybody is just trying to get by ... humans and vampires alike. It makes the story more real to me, and somehow more desperate.
8. On your website you mention that there are a total of twelve books planned so far in this series. Do you have a clear idea of how you see all the storylines tying up or are you letting the creative muse guide you as you go?
I have an idea of what's going to happen as the over-arching plot for the last three books, but each one will have its own independent storyline as well. I can't really let the creative muse wander around too far off the track -- my deadlines are way too tight!
9. What would you say is the best advice you’ve been given as an author?
I think the best advice ever was to spend every day writing -- whether you want to or not. Give yourself vacations, just like from a day job, but treat it like work and have specific hours - it helps to avoid issues with writer's block, for one thing. And for another, it helps train your mind to keep the creative juices flowing.
10. The next book to be released in the Morganville Vampires series will be Bite Club, due out in April 2011. Can you give us any insider scoop on what we can look forward to next? Any other upcoming projects in the works?
In BITE CLUB, Morganville's more or less back to normal (which isn't normal at all, of course) ... but something's bubbling under the surface. A new gym has opened up, but there could be more to it than just personal training and martial arts. As vampires start dropping out of sight, it's obvious something has gone wrong -- but when the first online videos surface of what looks like a vampire fight club, it becomes a concern to everybody in Morganville. These vampires are fighting to the death ... and now, humans are being dragged into it, too. When Shane and Michael disappear, it's only a matter of time before they, too, end up fighting in the pit -- for the entertainment and profit of a whole new enemy.
Also premiering in August 2011 is a brand new adult urban fantasy series, The Revivalists, and the first book is WORKING STIFF! The story follows a young, fresh-out-of-school funeral director who discovers that her bosses are reviving the dead ... for an under-the-embalming-table profit. When the scope of it becomes clear, she has a choice to make ... be one of the bad guys, or work for the inventors of the process, who may actually be worse.
Thanks so much for inviting me to talk to you! It was a pleasure!
The Morganville Vampires Series
One ARC of THE MORGANVILLE VAMPIRES, BOOK 9: GHOST TOWN
VAMPIRE BUNNY SLIPPERS!
BY RACHEL CAINE
While developing a new system to maintain Morganville's defenses, student Claire Danvers discovers a way to amplify vampire mental powers. Through this, she's able to re-establish the field around this vampire-infested Texas college town that protects it from outsiders.
But the new upgrades have an unexpected consequence: people inside the town begin to slowly forget who they are-even the vampires. Soon, the town's little memory problem has turned into a full-on epidemic. Now Claire needs to figure out a way to pull the plug on her experiment- before she forgets how to save Morganville...
Official Rules:1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only.3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on November 14th 2010.4. Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.5. To enter to win, simply fill out the form below. Good luck!