Interview: Carrie Vaughn

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started into writing?

I’ve almost always been writing one thing or another.  First it was school creative writing assignments, but I loved them, so I started writing on my own.  Especially when I realized that a lot of people didn’t like writing, and it seemed to be the only thing I was good at!  By the time I got to high school, I realized people made a living writing, and that’s what I wanted to do, because nothing else sounded like quite so much fun.

NRR: How were you inspired to write Kitty's character?

So many stories ask “what would happen if vampires and werewolves and magic were real?”  My answer to that was, “Well, they’d need their own talk radio advice show.”  If I was going to write about a talk radio show, I needed a host, and that turned out to be Kitty. 
I made her a werewolf because I thought werewolves had been sorely underrepresented and I had a lot more to say about them than vampires.  And having her be human would have been boring.

NRR: What is a day in the life of Carrie Vaughn like?

Pretty dull, actually.  I get up, putter around the house, take care of e-mail and internet stuff, write some, walk the dog, write, eat, write some more, read, go to bed and do it all over again.  Sometimes the writing goes well, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes I go out in the evening with friends.  Sometimes I knit and sew.  Sometimes I travel.  It’s actually a pretty good life.

NRR: Readers adore Kitty and enjoy the adventures her life goes thru. Is there one scene you have written that you look back upon as one of your favorites?

I have several.  Usually one scene in each book.  In Midnight Hour, I love the scene where she’s yelling at T.J., who is in wolf form, about how she can take care of herself, while she’s bleeding all over the street.  In Goes to Washington, I love the whole “live television” scene – that’s what the book centered on.  In House of Horrors, it’s the scene where she meets the real wild wolves.  I love the culminating scenes, because they’re usually what fuels the entire story.  

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

G.I. Joe.  The 80’s cartoon, the comic books, the live-action movie.  I just love that whole world and all the characters.  Actually, I’m not too guilty about it.  It’s been a lot of fun being a G.I. Joe fan.

NRR: Where there any challenging parts of writing Kitty's Big Trouble?

Getting the setting and culture right were huge challenges.  I ended up going to visit Chinatown in San Francisco, to make sure I got it right.  It’s such a distinct place, I had to make sure I did it justice.  I also drew on some bits of Chinese mythology and folklore, and I wanted to stay true to them while still serving the story.  I did quite a bit of reading.

NRR: Sometimes as a series continues the story seems to fall flat. With Kitty's story each book is fresh and intriguing. How much preparation goes into each book?

Quite a bit.  I try to make sure each book has its own hook and story, and stands on its own to some extent.  It’s really important to me that I not tell the same story over and over again, so I really want to find a fresh angle with each one, whether it’s a different story structure (like with House of Horrors), a new bit of magic or folklore (like with Kitty’s Big Trouble), or a profound change in Kitty’s life (like with Silver Bullet).

NRR: Can you share with us the storyline of Kitty"s Big Trouble?

It has a couple of threads.  Kitty starts getting interested in the history of people like her, and is tracking down rumors about historical figures who may or may not have been involved with the supernatural.  In the middle of this, she gets a call from an old friend who’s in trouble and needs help protecting a powerful Chinese artifact – before their worst enemy gets it first.  The rest of the story takes place in Chinatown – a new setting, and a new magical system.

NRR: What is next in the works for you?

More Kitty books!  #10 will be out in 2012, and I’m gearing up for more.  In the meantime, my stand-alone novels are out – After the Golden Age came out in April.  So are my young adult novels – Steel came out in March.  I’m working on some other projects, including short stories and more YA stories.  Also, be sure to check out Kitty’s Greatest Hits, a collection of short stories, and a new novella starring Cormac.  It’s due out in August.

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