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Carrie Vaughn Bibliography & Interview

Kitty Series (in reading order)

Carrie has also written numerous stories for various publications - see her website for details.

LoveVampires Interview with Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn on Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn PictureNot much to tell. I grew up an Air Force brat, my parents hooked me on science fiction and fantasy at a very young age, and I wrote my first short story when I was 8. I've been writing ever since. I have a Masters degree in English Lit and a dog named Lily. I live in Colorado and yet don't ski.

Carrie Vaughn on the Kitty series

I've developed a one-line tag to tell people about Kitty: She's a werewolf who accidentally starts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. That usually gets raised eyebrows. I wrote a short story about Kitty first because I wasn't sure I had enough for a novel. It appeared in Weird Tales in 2001. But a half dozen stories and 4 novels later she's still going strong. I have her whole life mapped out. The books are also a good way for me to work out my take on a lot of the tropes and stereotypes of this genre.

Have you always had an interest in magic, vampires and werewolves?

Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn Cover PictureNot really. I started out thinking I was going to be a hard SF writer. In college I developed an interest in folklore and realized I was writing mostly fantasy. I mostly have a literary or sociological interest in the topics. What do they tell us about our culture? About storytelling?

Kitty Norville is a far cry from some of the gung-ho female protagonists that are so popular in urban fantasy today. Did you consciously set out wanting to write something different?

Absolutely. I wanted to write about someone who seemed real, who could be like people I actually know, and who had to learn how to be strong and stand up for herself, rather than strapping blades on her forearms in the first chapter. I'm trying to anchor my books in the real world as much as possible, and having a character who's vulnerable and has to struggle with herself and with the world is part of that. Also, it's my observation that the typical kick-ass female protagonist is often in danger of moving away from being a "strong woman character" and into the realm of being a sex object (like, say, Tomb Raider or Underworld). The more leather and guns there are, the greater the danger. <g> I wanted to stay away from that.

The character of Kitty Norville, the protagonist and narrator of the Kitty novels, has greatly developed through the course of the books. Did you plan and plot this character growth or was it a more organic process?

Kitty Goes To Washington by Carrie Vaughn Cover PictureThe character growth is what anchored the first book. When I sat down to write it, my primary thought was, "This is a book about how this character learns to stand up for herself." If it wasn't for that growth, I wouldn't have had much to say about the character or her world. In later books, Kitty keeps having to learn more about herself and her strengths as the situations change.

Do the directions your characters take ever surprise you, or are they completely under your control?

A little of both. I outline, but I try to make sure the plot grows out of the characters' actions. Part of the planning is throwing things at them and seeing how they'll react. I know them pretty well by this time and can usually tell what they're going to do in a given situation. I'm more usually more surprised by the things they say. I think my characters are much wittier than I am.

Kitty and The Silver Bullet, is the fourth novel in the Kitty series, how many more novels do you plan to write for this series?

I don't know. I have a lot of ideas. At least three more books are on the way, and as long as I keep getting ideas and people keep reading them, I'll keep writing them.

Which authors have had the most influence on your own writing style?

Kitty Takes A Holiday by Carrie Vaughn Cover PictureRay Bradbury and Robin McKinley are early influences. Bradbury, for his use of language and for teaching me how important individual words can be. A whole book rests on word choices. McKinley writes amazing characters. Very down to earth, flawed, human, likeable characters. I have found myself drawn to those traits when writing my own characters.

If you could pick between huge commercial success or artistic respect and critical acclaim which would you choose?

I've been asked this before, believe it or not. I like to think the two are not mutually exclusive. We'll see what the future holds. But I do have a mortgage to think about.

You write stories both in the fantasy and science fiction genres, which is your favourite genre?

I'm one of those people who feels they're two sides of the same coin. They're both about big stories, big ideas, the big "wow" factor and sense of wonder. I seem to be a little better at fantasy, but I'm very proud of some of the science fiction stories I've done. I'm also very fond of writing stories that are clearly both. I wrote a "fairy in space" story once that baffled everyone.

Would you ever consider writing for a different genre?

I don't think about genre much when I'm writing. I just write the story, then figure out where it best fits. I'm always trying new things, so I don't consider anything off limits.

Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction authors?

Kitty and The Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn Cover PictureJust the usual. Write. Finish what you write. Send it out. Write the next thing, and work on getting better. Challenge yourself. And one more, that may be obvious or it may not be: read. Read lots. Read outside your genre. Read non fiction.

Who is your favourite fictional vampire character?

Paul Reubens' character in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film. Or Drusilla in the TV series. Any vampire that sticks it to the stereotypes.

What's next for you?

Many, many things. I've got three more Kitty books under contract. I'm working on the new Wild Cards series, edited by George R. R. Martin. I've got several short stories due out in anthologies over the next couple of years. Onward and upward!

Vampire or werewolf - if you had to choose, which would you be?

Werewolf, I think. They feel less limited to me. More down to earth. I'm not so enthralled by the whole blood thing.

A big "thank-you" to Carrie Vaughn for taking part in the author interview. To find out more about Kitty Norville and Carrie's other work visit Carrie's website.
30th January 2008

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