An interview with author Rachel Caine:
The Vampires Of: Rachel Caine
By Jean Marie Ward
Small Texas college towns can be hazardous to your health-if you’re an ordinary human in the world of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires. Just ask Claire Danvers, the brainy teenage heroine of Ms. Caine’s bestselling Young Adult series. Better yet, ask Ms. Caine.
The Morganville Vampires is an interesting case, because I was in the middle of the Weather Warden series, and my publisher came to me and said they were launching a new young adult line and they really wanted me to write in it. I had no expectation of writing young adult. I didn’t even know much about the genre at all. They said, “If you don’t have a preference, maybe you would consider writing a vampire story.”
I immediately said, “No, I won’t do that.” Because I really felt I had already done vampire books in the past, and I didn’t think I could think of anything that would be new and different and interesting to a teen audience.
So, I said, “Well, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”
I called a friend of mine on the way home, and I said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
And she said, “Are you crazy?” She said, “We’ll talk it out. You’ll think of something on your way home, I promise you.”
I said, “I can’t think of anything. I don’t want to do the romantic vampire. I don’t want to do those kinds of things. But you know what would be really cool, though. I think I want to write about a town, and the town is a character in the story.”
She said, “Well, that’s interesting. Keep talking.”
By the time I got home we had mapped out the entire Morganville idea. So I called my editor back and said, “This is what I was thinking. I know that wasn’t what you were thinking, because you were probably looking for something of a more romantic nature.”
She said, “No, I think that’s great. Write it up and let’s see where it goes.”
That’s kind of where I got started, and I almost didn’t do it.
What about vampires do you think resonates so strongly with young adults?
I think there is a substantial outsider factor here. Not only are they different, which every teen feels different, no matter who they are. Even the popular girls, I’m convinced, feel like they’re living a lie to some extent, and that they’re different from the way they should be. So the vampire mythos really appeals to teens especially because of that feeling there’s an outsider, but that outsider’s cool, and that outsider has power, which as a teen, you generally don’t have. Then they have a lot of sexy history, and maybe they have interesting powers. I mean, who as a teen didn’t really want to be able to hypnotize a teacher? I certainly would’ve. So, I think that’s really where a lot of it comes from. It’s that basic need to identify with an outsider, but an outsider who either doesn’t care what people think or doesn’t have to care.
Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. Her videos include author interviews and tutorials.