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by Dee Gentle
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity

March 2007 Issue

 

Women of Fantasy
Spotlight on Fantasy Romance
Featuring 
 
Interviews with:
Kate Brallier ~ Rachel Caine ~ R. Garland Gray
Robin D. Owens ~ Jeri Smith-Ready
 
Special Features:
P.E.A.R.L. Awards 2006
  
Chat with Featured Authors
at PNR CHAT, monthly - 3rd Monday, 9pm Eastern
 

Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine is the author of the popular Weather Warden series, as well as the new Morganville Vampires series, and has published 20 books to date.  She wrote two novels for the Silhouette Bombshell line, DEVIL'S BARGAIN and DEVIL'S DUE, and Silhouette will be releasing her Athena Force novel LINE OF SIGHT in the summer of 2007.

She is a former professional symphonic musician, and currently works as a corporate communications executive for a large international firm.

She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad.


An Interview with
Rachel Caine

PNR: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer; when did you begin writing?

Rachel C.: I started writing when I was 14, but honestly, I never knew I wanted to be a writer.  I didn't have any concept of writing as a profession until college, and I never considered it to be a real possibility ... even now, I still have a day job, and I've been publishing for 15 years.

PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time?

Rachel C.: That's the toughest thing for me.  Generally I do my writing very early in the mornings (for about 3 hours) and then I go to work for about a 9 to 10 hour workday.  Add in the need to spend time with family and friends, and it can get difficult.  But by sticking to my schedule I keep things spinning -- with the generous understanding and support of my husband and friends!

PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?

Rachel C.: Oh, yes.  When I was a kid, my father and I would take trips into town to the used bookstore every other weekend, and stagger out with armloads of books.  I still love to read, and what's on my nightstand right now are the newest Jim Butcher book, Cursor's Fury, as well as a Lindsey Davis mystery, Time to Depart.  I just finished Kat Richardson's Greywalker, and read a great book by new author Richelle Mead, Succubus Blues.  I've got Laura Anne Gilman, Charlaine Harris, Carol Nelson Douglas in the stack as well -- I'm set for a good while!

PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?

Rachel C.: Strong main characters are always the biggest draw for me, but I love setting, especially in historicals.  Inventive plots and situations, too -- I think I'm probably looking for exactly the same things everyone else is.  As a writer I love the craft, as well, so I'm always entranced by seamless prose as well.  I know a story's great, though, if I can't wait to tell my friends all about it!        

PNR: I have to admit that I find the premise of your Weather Warden series fascinating. For readers who are not familiar with the series, could you give us an overview?

Rachel C.: The main character, Joanne Baldwin, is a Weather Warden -- she's part of a group of magically gifted people who control the basic elements of Earth, Fire and Weather (which combines air and water).  Unfortunately, the Wardens have their own problems -- corruption, greed, ambition, and a very uneasy relationship with a magical race of Djinn that they've enslaved for their own purposes.  When Joanne gets on the wrong side of a corrupt senior Warden and is blamed for his murder, she starts out on a cross-country race for her life.  Along the way, she finds true love with a mysterious drifter, but unluckily for her becomes a lightning rod for trouble as the planet begins to fight back against those who want to control it, and innocent people are caught in the middle.

PNR: FIRESTORM, the fifth book in the Weather Warden series was released in September 2006. Book six, THIN AIR, will be released in August 2007; can you tell us about the challenges of keeping a series and its characters fresh for readers?

Rachel C.: I have to keep it fresh for myself as well, so I think a lot about this issue.  The difficult thing about most series, especially paranormal series, is that the universe keeps expanding, so there are a lot of things to remember as you go along.  For me, though, the answer lies in the characters ... it's vital to me that the characters grow and change over time, and learn from their experiences without losing their innate personalities.  Joanne's come a long way since the first pages of ILL WIND, but she's still got her sense of humor, her love of fast cars and expensive fashions.  I hope that in THIN AIR readers will find Joanne returning a little to her roots as she rediscovers her place in the changing world.

PNR: Readers are enthralled with your world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?

Rachel C.: The challenges in a long series are to keep the universe consistent and logical, but still keep finding new facets to work with in each successive book.  I do find it's really interesting and fun to think about the logical consequences of each action by my characters, and that's what drives a lot of the plot.  It's a bit like the weather, actually -- small changes can create great storms!  In general, I start with character and figure out the world around them, but in the case of the Weather Warden series I'd say it was 50/50 -- the universe shaped the characters as much as the characters shaped the universe.

PNR: Weather Warden, Joanne Baldwin, is strong and feisty heroine that readers really connect to; could you tell us about the development of her character? Would you describe your writing as female focused?

Rachel C.: Joanne started out many years ago in a previous incarnation of the story as a woman searching for her long-lost brother, in order to get him tested for a bone marrow match.  That Joanne, in early drafts, had leukemia, which was in remission, but she retained even then the ironic sense of humor that has always really defined her in my mind.  Over time the challenge she faced changed from cancer to something more supernatural, but overall, the emotional beats remained the same.  I think that my work over the last few years certainly has been more female focused -- but I've also done several other novels over the years that have had male protagonists.  It's really what best suits the style of the story I'm trying to tell, I think.

PNR: Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?

Rachel C.: I think Joanne has definitely been the most fun, although Claire Danvers (the protagonist in my YA books GLASS HOUSES and THE DEAD GIRLS' DANCE) is running a close second.  As far as most challenging, I'd have to say that it was Lucia in the Bombshell book DEVIL'S DUE -- she was very self-contained, and it took me some time to really get into her head.

PNR: In your series the heroine, Joanne, has a complex relationship with David, a Djinn; how much of a role does their relationship play in the series and to what extent does it drive the plot?

Rachel C.: I knew from the beginning that Joanne and David's relationship would be rocky and difficult, and they sure haven't disappointed me ... but I also thought that there was something real and rich between them, and it's been a real pleasure to explore that through the series.  Part of what makes it so interesting to me is that it's not an easy love affair -- Joanne's constantly on the run and in danger, and David's got major concerns and problems that he has to balance against his love for her.  I think the tension between them drives a lot of the plot, actually.

PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the love/sex scenes?

Rachel C.: I love writing those scenes!  I love letting the characters have their time together, because I certainly put them through enough to get there.  The challenge of it for me is to write the emotional essence of the lovemaking without getting too caught up in the body parts and logistics.  I think as far as the explicit factor goes, mine are probably fairly moderate.

PNR: It seems everyone has there own definition of “Urban Fantasy” how would you define this sub-genre? How does this differ from traditional fantasy?

Rachel C.: I define it as the equal collision of normal life with the unknown -- urban fantasy is a uniquely fun twist where it's not just normal people in abnormal settings, but abnormal people in normal settings.  The werewolf working at the hair salon, the vampire at the convenience store, fairies driving cabs.  It's almost the reverse image of the more traditional "normal person crosses over to fantasy realm" sort of story -- except that in most cases in urban fantasy, the supernatural's always been present, but hidden.

PNR: You have written romantic suspense in your Silhouette Bombshell titles, urban fantasy in your Weather Warden series, and paranormal in your Morganville Vampire series; is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?

Rachel C.: I've also done horror and suspense, as well as mystery, and I've even done some screenplay work -- I've never worked in graphic novels, but I'm interested in them.  Maybe someday!

PNR: THIN AIR, the sixth book in the Weather Warden series, will be released in August 2007; can you give us a sneak peek of Joanne’s upcoming adventures? What are your plans for the series?

Rachel C.: Without giving away too much, I can say that I definitely had a lot of readers howling in distress at the end of FIRESTORM ... and yes, I put Joanne through a lot.  Fear not, though:  in THIN AIR, her character is coming full circle -- rediscovering who she is, who she loves, and what her destiny is in the world.  In upcoming books we'll get a deeper exploration of her relationship with David, and she'll take on more responsibility in the Wardens organization.  Rather than Joanne vs. the world, it's going to be a team effort in the next three books!

PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Do you have any additional series in the works? Single titles?

Rachel C.: I'll be working on three more Weather Warden novels in 2007 and 2008, as well as more Morganville Vampires books.  I do plan to start up another series, but I'm still in the proposal phase for that.  I've just heard that my book LINE OF SIGHT, which is the first book in a new shared-world series for Silhouette in the Athena Force universe, will be released this summer.  April 2007 will see the release of THE DEAD GIRLS' DANCE (Morganville Vampires), and in August THIN AIR (Weather Warden) and MIDNIGHT ALLEY (Morganville) will be released.  I'm also working on a short story for the upcoming anthology MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON (sequel to MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, edited by P.N. Elrod and recent winner of the Pearl award!).  I also have a Morganville short story coming out in Charlaine Harris's and Toni L.P. Kelner's upcoming anthology MANY BLOODY RETURNS.

PNR: Thanks Rachel, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?

Rachel C.: My website (http://www.rachelcaine.com) has a mailing list section -- readers can sign up for information about any or all of my series, and I keep it updated as often as possible.  I also have a Livejournal at http://rachelcaine.livejournal.com that I post in very regularly, and a Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/rachelcaine.  Also, there are email links on my website as well!

 

 

 

Featured in this issue:

Interviews with:

 

For a complete list of Rachel's work visit her website

 

Rachel Caine
 
  Website

Books

Live Journal
The Weather Report

  MySpace


The Weather Warden Series


Buy it now!

Roc
Available: August 1, 2007
ISBN #0451461630
EAN #9780451461636
320 pages
Paperback
Coming Soon!

Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 6
Joanne Baldwin gambled everything ... and now, she doesn't even know whether she won or lost. In fact, she doesn't know anything. Who she is, for starters. Who these hot guys David and Lewis are, although it's a point in their favor that they seem to be trying to save her life. She's missing time, and she's missing memories, and something out there is trying to get whatever she's got left.

This time, it isn't about saving the world.

It's about saving herself.


Buy it now!

Roc
September 1, 2006
ISBN #0451461045
EAN #9780451461049
320 pages
Paperback


Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 5
Putting aside the personal chaos that has plagued her, rogue Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin must rally the remnants of the Weather Warden corps against a double threat-the Djinn who have broken free from Warden control, and a cranky Mother Earth who's about to unleash her full fury against the entire world.


Buy it now!

Roc
November 1, 2005
ISBN #045146057X
EAN #9780451460578
352 pages
Paperback


Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 4
You think you're having a bad day? Joanne's lost her job as a Weather Warden, and saving the world generally doesn't come with a decent retirement check. It also doesn't come with any guarantees of landing a day job that won't suck, or being able to find a mystical cure for her critically ill Djinn lover. Burdened with a difficult sister in need of rescue, accused of weather-related murder, and finding herself in the middle of a Djinn civil war ... well, Joanne's bad times are just getting worse.

With enemies approaching from all sides, not to mention mounting credit card bills (Manolo Blahniks don't come cheap!), Joanne is praying for a windfall ... but the mother of all hurricanes approaching the Florida coast isn't exactly what she has in mind.


Buy it now!

Roc
January 1, 2005
ISBN #0451460103
EAN #9780451460103
352 pages
Paperback


Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 3
Living, dead, or Djinn, Joanne Baldwin just can't stay out of trouble. Now she's on a time-sensitive mission to Vegas to retrieve the world's most important Djinn from the world's most dangerous teenager ... all alone. That's bad enough, but having to deal with a past that's determined to bury her, and suffering from serious wardrobe shortages ... well, that's over the line.

One thing's for certain: she's gambling everything this time.


Buy it now!

Roc
August 1, 2004
ISBN #0451459849
EAN #9780451459848
335 pages
Paperback


Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 2
Mistaken for a murderer, Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin is hunted down and killed by her colleagues. Reborn as a Djinn, she senses something sinister entering earth's atmosphere-something that makes tomorrow's forecast look deadly.


Buy it now!

Roc
December 1, 2003
ISBN #0451459520
EAN #9780451459527
352 pages
Paperback


Read the Review!
 
Weather Wardens: Book 1
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life...
Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast...
All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.

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