Fran here. As many of you know, I've been a fan of Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty Norville" series almost since it came out, and I've said her stand-alones knock it right out of the park. So when Carrie graciously agreed to answer The Questions, I jumped at the chance!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Carrie Vaughn!
--> How many rejection slips did you get before your first novel was published?
I never counted, but it was a lot. I wrote three novels that I couldn't sell before the one that did, that were all rejected multiple times. If you include all the short story rejections I've gotten, it's in the hundreds and hundreds. Many hundreds.
--> Have you ever thrown away a book that you just couldn't make work?
I wouldn't call it thrown away, but I have a few I wrote and never sent anywhere, and a couple I started and never finished. It's not so much that I couldn't make them work as I abandoned them for novels that worked a lot better. They weren't wasted efforts because I learned a lot working on them.
--> Is it still exciting to publish a new book even after all this time?
Of course it is! I still get nervous, I still anxiously await people's reactions, I still have lots of new ideas I want to share.
--> Do you get ideas for new books all the time and you keep them written down, or does one come to mind when you need one?
I get new ideas all the time. I write them down, and the good ones are pretty much constantly living in my mind. What I work on next depends on what's under contract, but sometimes one will just burst to the forefront, and I try to work on that one as much as I can.
--> Did you have the entire story arc mapped out when you began the Kitty books?
I didn't, mostly because I wasn't sure at the beginning if the series would be successful enough to even have an arc. I had the first book, then the first four books formed a mini-arc, but after that I've kind of been building it as I go along. I have a couple of big ideas that I'm heading toward, but I don't have the details mapped out. It's left the story wide open for me to do all kinds of crazy things.
--> Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
I like to know how a book ends before I start it. I really need to know where I'm going, so I can figure out what I need to do to get there. I've only written the one series, and it's not done yet. I figured out the end, but I was already a few books in. I have a series of steampunk short stories I've started writing, and after the first couple I figured out an end for the series -- once again, so I could see where I'm headed. If I have to feel my way to the end I'd never finish, so yeah, I like figuring out the end.
--> Have you ever considered publishing under a pseudonym?
I did early on, but I decided against it, and I probably won't moving forward, unless I write something so radically different that it would need to be classified differently.
--> Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories for different names/characters?
I'm not really sure -- if I do, it happens automatically, so I don't really think about it. I write in different worlds, especially for the various short stories, but the characters, settings, and tone really guide how the writing goes. I write Kitty in first person point of view, so I've written most of my other books in third person, and that helps differentiate. But it's really pretty natural -- and fun -- for me to slip into the different tones and mind-sets of each character.
--> Is there any kind of book you would like to write but haven't?
Space opera. I really want to write a novel-length space opera some day.
--> If you could change anything about your writing career, what would it be?
I wouldn't change anything, really. Maybe more confidence starting out that it would all turn out okay, but really, I have a great career and I'd be scared to change anything in case it made things less great.
--> What’s the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked about your writings, and what was your answer?
Probably, at least recently that I can remember, I was asked about how being a military brat influenced my writing. I started to say, Not much, since I don't always write explicitly about the military, but as I talked to this person more, we realized that the brat identity actually shows up a lot, in how my characters relate to their parents, who often seem larger than life in some of my books, and how big political issues impact my characters' personal lives.
--> If you could have written any single work – novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, history, biography – that you most admire and adore, what would it be?
I don't think I can answer that, just because I've I'd written it, it would be different, and I wouldn't be able to enjoy it the way that I do now!
--> Anything you’ve always wanted to be asked about your writing but no one ever has?
Wow, I can't even imagine. I talk about writing all the time and I can't think of anything I haven't covered...but I'll let you know if I come up with something!