Rachel also has a new Young Adult series coming out this year so make sure to keep your eyes open for that. Until then you can see what Rachel has to say in the interview and then enter the contest at the end to win a book of your choice!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! I love your books so I am really happy you are here! I know a lot of my blog readers know your Shifters series but I am sure there are a few who haven't. Maybe you can start things off by telling us about the series so far?
Rachel – Hi Amber, and thanks! It’s great to be here!
My Shifters series is set in a closed world, which means humans don’t know they’re not the only things out there. But there are no vampires, witches, demons, or any of the other kinds of mythical creatures typically found in urban fantasy. There are just humans and Shifters, dealing with both real life issues and some really tense political turmoil. (Shifters politics, of course.) And I should probably say that there are no werewolves in my world either. They were hunted to extinction way before the series starts, because they couldn’t stop howling at everything that moved. ;-)
The series is about a 23 yr. old female werecat named Faythe Sanders and her efforts to carve out a life for herself, and for her fellow tabbycats. Because tabbies are rare, they usually have few choices beyond marrying an Alpha and giving birth to the next generation of werecats. But Faythe wants more than that. She starts out kind of indulged, because of the way she was raised, but then matures over the course of the series and learns some pretty tough lessons. And by the third book, Pride, she’s a force to be reckoned with. I’ve loved watching her grow, and take on more and more responsibility for her Pride, and those it protects.
Amber - How was the idea for the series born? Was it a long process or something that just came to you?
Rachel – Well, I knew I wanted to write urban fantasy, and that I didn’t want to do vampires, witches, or werewolves. I wanted to do something I hadn’t seen much of. And I love cats, so werecats seemed a natural choice. The overarching story line developed from the world-building, and it’s all been building toward civil war since Rogue, the second book.
Amber - How much and what kind of research did you have to for the books? Spend a lot of time with cats?
Rachel – Well, I spend a lot of time with my cats anyway. ;-) But yes, I studied large cat biology and lion social structure, then reversed the social structure for my own Pride cats. Instead of having lots of females and one male per group, the werecat Prides each have lots of men and only one female (of childbearing age). That particular social structure comes with a ton of conflict built in.
I also studied the way large cats move, both at the zoo and on nature programs on television. I’ve taken liberties, of course, most notably with the fact that my werecats have vertical pupils, while real life large cats don’t. But you have to know how things really work, in able to change them to suit your purposes. ;-)
Amber - The fourth book in the series is due out in July. How far do you want it to keep going? Do you have an ending all thought out?
Rachel – Faythe’s story ends in book six: Alpha. That’s the only one in the series I haven’t written yet, and I’m really nervous about starting it. Everything’s been building toward this one, and I hope I can do it justice. ;-)
Amber - You have a new YA series coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about that?
Rachel – Yes, of course! My Soul to Take (August 1) is the first in my Soul Screamers series, and my young adult debut. It’s about a high school junior named Kaylee Cavanaugh who thinks she’s losing her mind because she gets panic attacks—in the form of uncontrollable screaming fits—when she thinks someone near her is going to die. But it turns out that she’s not crazy, and people are dying. She’s actually a bean sidhe (banshee), who becomes determined to stop a series of unexplained deaths in her school.
This series is my take on the old Irish bean sidhe legends, and I’ve tried to really make them my own. I’ve added to the lore, and explained my theory on what all that screaming is really about. I can’t wait to show off Kaylee and her world!
Amber - Are there any other projects you are working on? Or are you busy enough? :)
Rachel – Right now, I’m pretty busy. But I try to keep an idea or two on the back burner, for when I (eventually) get a pause in the action.
Amber - How did you end up being a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Rachel – Yes, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But I never even thought about writing for a living until a few years ago. I haven’t looked back since. ;-)
Amber - What did you do before you became an author? Would you ever give up writing and go back to working in a 'normal' job?
Rachel – Well, in high school I worked at fast food restaurants. In college, I waited tables, worked in retail (selling first clothes, then jewelry), and tutored college level math and English. After college, I taught ninth grade English for a short while. But writing is really where I belong. I’d never give it up willingly.
Amber - What books do you like to read when you have time? Do you have any must read authors/series?
Rachel – I read both adult and YA, but mostly urban fantasy in both cases. I love Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, and most people know I’m a huge Stephen King fan. In YA, I love Scott Westerfeld, Melissa Marr, Simon Holt, Laurie Halse Anderson, and I loved Carrie Ryan’s debut.
Amber - What TV series/films have you been watching recently? Does any of the shows/films you watch influence your writing?
Rachel – I’ve recently discovered several HBO series, and I’ve been devouring the DVDs on my rare days off. Big Love, True Blood, and Carnivale. I also DVR Lost, Heroes, and Dollhouse. But I’ve been so busy lately that it takes me a while to get caught up, watching one a day on my lunch break, while I answer email. ;-)
As for things I watch influencing my writing…. Well, not plotlines or characters. But the effects, makeup, and rich cinematic style of movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hell Boy 2 put me in the mood to write my Soul Screamers series. The Netherworld (an element of Kaylee’s world) is very eerie and creepy, like parts of those movies.
Amber - If your Werecat series was going to be adapted for TV/Film who could you imagine playing the main roles?
Rachel – I think Megan Fox would be good as Faythe. But I haven’t had much luck dream-casting most of the guys. No one seems quite good enough to be Marc, Jace, or Ethan. ;-)
Amber - Lots of authors have playlists for their books. What music or bands would find their place on a playlist for the Werecat series? and the new YA series?
Rachel – For the Shifters books, I picture a lot of Disturbed, for the fractured politics, and some Drowning Pool. A little NIN. For the Soul Screamers, it would have to be a little softer, but creepy. Marilyn Manson. Massive Attack. Stuff like that.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be and why?
Rachel – I’d want to be something that could read minds. But that seems pretty self-indulgent and self-destructive, so I’m sure I’d be the means to my own end. What can I say? Who wants to live forever?
Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?
Rachel – Matches. Books. A machete. A hammer. And #1, for company, and heavy labor. ;-)
Amber - Thank you so much for being my guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog. I hope you will pop by again sometime!
Rachel - Thanks, Amber!
This week you can win your choice of book! But not just any book...one of Rachel's books! That includes 'My Soul To Take' (which would be pre-ordered for you and arrive when it is released).
There is only one prize but if you all use the Amazon links around the page and order stuff this week there maybe enough money in the Amberkatze Book Fund (just made that one up) to have some more prizes! So use the links!!!
To enter the contest tell us which kind of cat you would like to be!! (if you aren't a cat person you can choose another animal)
No Cat = No entry!
The usual rules apply!
Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!
You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.
The contest will stay open until Sunday 5th of July 2009 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.
If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.