1. Steel centers around Jill, a high school fencer who gets transported to an 18th century pirate ship while on vacation with her family in the Bahamas. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and share with us a favorite line, scene or passage?
In some ways STEEL is about Jill figuring out what she wants to do with her life -- whether to work toward competing in the Olympics, or maybe give up fencing entirely. Then she gets taken completely out of her own world where the question becomes irrelevant and all she's worried about is getting home. This was also my chance to write about pirates and life on the high seas, and I tried hard to make it as unromantic as possible -- it was a really difficult way to make a living.
My favorite scene may be when Jill first finds herself on the Diana, the pirate ship, and realizes she isn't in Kansas anymore.
2. What was the most challenging aspect of Steel to bring to life? Did you have to do extensive historical research or learn about fencing?
I did do a bunch of research, mostly about piracy and 18th century sailing, and the hardest part was getting across so much information while not sounding boring. It helps that Jill is learning about the world at the same time the reader is, so we can see it through her eyes. At the same time, I loved getting into details about sailing and the economics of piracy. I already knew how to fence -- I've been fencing since I was in college. I hope my love of the sport comes through in the story.
3. If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?
Oh, that's a tough one. A lot of literary characters have really hard lives that I wouldn't want to live even for a day. But I have to say Harry from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, because it's my favorite book and I absolutely love the world she creates in it -- full of magic and swashbuckling and gorgeous horses.
4. What were you like as a teen? Were there certain books that were your favorites and what do you think your teenage self would think about your book?
Well, I'm kind of hoping to write the kinds of books I would have loved as a teen. The kinds of books where girls go off and have amazing adventures with swords and horses and sailing ships and dragons and so on. (That's why I love McKinley's Damar books so much.) What kind of teen was I? I think I was very serious. I worked hard in school, got into political arguments with my teachers, that sort of thing. I read a ton of science fiction. I read a ton of everything, really. I also did a lot of theater, acting in plays and musicals and so on. Good training for doing readings of my books in public!
5. What can we look forward to next from you? Any upcoming projects in the works?
I always seem to have a ton of projects in the works! My Kitty series is still going strong -- Kitty Goes to War just came out, and I'm working on the ninth and tenth books in the series. (The ninth is called Kitty's Big Trouble.) My first stand-alone fantasy novel just came out -- it's called Discord's Apple and is about a woman who discovers a treasure trove of mythological artifacts in her family's basement. Another stand alone, my superhero novel After the Golden Age, should be out sometime next year as well.
Books by Carrie Vaughn
Carrie Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops in California, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies-fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. Official Website