Rachel Vincent is the next author to join our Behind the Page series, taking time out of her insane writing and editing schedule to answer some questions for us about writing and her new book Blood Bound. What’s it about? Check out our review!
1) Hi Rachel, and thanks for joining us. Let’s talk about your newest book, Blood Bound. What was it like starting a new series after so long? Was it hard to switch into the minds of new characters in an unfamiliar world?
Yes, actually, writing Blood Bound was really difficult (Shadow Bound was even more so). I hadn’t started a new series since I wrote the first Soul Screamers book in early ’08, and the Unbound world is much more complicated than any other fictional world I’ve worked in. The really hard part is explaining the rules of that world without confusing people. I’m not sure that was my strength in the book, but hopefully I’ll improve with the sequels. 😉
Also, this was my first experience writing one story from two points of view, and I now have SO MUCH respect for writers who do that on a regular basis. It’s much more difficult (for me, at least) than writing from one POV.
2) I thought the Skills were fun and creative. Where did the ideas for them come about, with all the binding, limitations, inability to break them without pain, etc.?
Lots and lots of brainstorming. I wanted the Skills to be familiar to the audience, but not overdone. Of course, they had to have limits, or there’d be no conflict. I have entire lists of possible Skills that are all crossed through, because they’d be too much like something from Heroes or other fictional worlds.
3) The rough, gritty world you created, with its equally tough characters, seems like a great stage for things to happen. What’s your favorite part of writing this world—the world itself, the characters, or a combination of them?
Probably a bit of both. The world is very dark and the characters are all broken, in their own way, so I kind of grab onto every ray of hope I’m able to find in the stories. Usually, that comes in the form of a character’s self-sacrifice. I love that they’re (the protagonists, anyway) trying to do the right thing, even if that’s actually doing the wrong thing for the right reason.
4) What about paranormal and urban fantasy appeals to you? There are so many different genres and worlds out there; what keeps you coming back to the genres you favor?
Possibility. Things we can’t get/see/do in our own, real world. I write (and read) to escape, so I want things I don’t see on a daily basis, even in contemporary fiction.
5) Let’s talk about sex in fantasy. How important to the story do you feel it is, taking things all the way to that level in your writing? How do you feel it adds to the story?
I’m actually not a huge fan of writing sex, for a few reasons. First, there are only so many variations of the steps we all know and love, and it’s sometimes a struggle to make sure that each new sex scene isn’t just a repeat of the previous ones. Though I AM considering buying a copy of the CookieSutra, just to make sure I’m not missing anything—those gingerbread men know everything!
Second, people tend to assume that when I write about sex, it’s autobiographical, subconsciously, at least. But it’s not. It’s fiction, good or bad, just like the rest of the book. 😉
As for how it adds to the story…if it doesn’t, I don’t write it. Sex in my stories has to change something for the story or for the characters, or I won’t put it in there.
I get up, eat breakfast and drink coffee, then get some internet stuff out of the way. Though I never really catch up on that. It just keeps adding up. If I’m writing adult fiction (which is more difficult for me), I write in several one hour/1000 word stints, with breaks in between. This is a recent adaptation aimed at easing my carpal tunnel and giving myself time to relax.
YA fiction tends to flow faster for me, so I just let it flow as it comes.
For rewrites, revisions, and edits, the process seems to change with every book. But between promo, social networking, email, writing, and admin, I typically work 12+ hours a day.
7) What is your favorite part of writing outside of reality?
Power. Writing (good writing, at least) feels like power to me. I like being able to make people feel things that they aren’t personally experiencing. I like writing the moments in a book that make you cry, or wince, or scream. I put as many of those in a book as I can, without stretching the limits of credibility.
8 ) Is there something totally outside of your current “comfort zone” that you’d love to tackle someday?
I’m kind of doing that right now, with the dual POV writing. And it’s hard.
9) What are the current books on your reading shelf? Do you find you tend to read what you write, or do you need a break and steer towards something completely different?
I tend to binge read, after I’ve met a deadline. I’ve been on a contemporary YA kick for about a year now, and I’m a huge Stephen King fan. But reading is less and less relaxing for me, because I tend to see the technique behind the words now. So any book that can make me feel the story rather than see the words is a real keeper.
10) What new and exciting things are you currently working on?
Honestly? Nothing new. In the past 3.5 months, I wrote Shadow Bound, Before I Wake, and a Soul Screamers story, and I’m about to dive into a hefty set of revisions for Shadow Bound. I love the characters and the world, but this series is a lot of work, and while I’ll no doubt be immersed and delighted once I get into the revisions (I LOVE taking a decent book and making it awesome!), right now I’m kind of dreading it.
Good luck Rachel! Want to learn more? Check out Rachel at www.rachelvincent.com