You might've seen or heard of a series called Kitty Norville. One of the most original and fresh series in UF that manages to stay not too dark, not too mushy and always with a lot of adventure. Ms. Vaughn just released KITTY STEALS THE SHOW, the tenth book in the series, and is here today so that we can help celebrate with her! Please be sure to give Carrie a warm welcome to UTC
Thank you so much for taking time to share with us today!
Thank you for inviting me!
Your KITTY NORVILLE series has some of the most original plots I've read in UF without being dark. What do you think is key to keep the plots fresh and readers interested after writing so many books in a series?
I'm always on the lookout for material, and I try to set myself a challenge with each book. I have a list of things I've wanted to do with the character and the series, and part of that list are stories that I just think need to happen in a world like this, where the supernatural is real. That's how Kitty Steals the Show came about -- if the NIH announced the existence of vampirism, you can bet there'd be a scientific conference about it in a few years. For Kitty's Big Trouble, I really wanted to focus on a non-European folklore tradition, so I sent Kitty to San Francisco's Chinatown and delved a bit into some Chinese folklore and mythology. By doing this kind of research and by following Kitty's progress and growth through this world, I'm pretty much always going to have new ideas to write about.
Congratulations on signing for another four books after book 10! Us readers are very excited about that. Where do you see the series going from here?
I introduced an ongoing story and a big bad guy with Roman and the Long Game, and I'm going to be developing that further. I also have Kitty dealing with issues at home and the pack. The next two books are already written, so I'm well on my way with those projects.
What can you tell us about KITTY STEALS THE SHOW?
Kitty and crew go to London for the First International Conference on Paranatural studies. She meets the Master vampire of London, Britain's alpha werewolf, and many other international figures -- as well as some old faces whom readers should be pleased to see. Chaos pretty much ensues, as usual.
For someone who hasn't read your series yet, how would you describe it and how do you see it stands apart from others?
My one line description: Kitty is a werewolf who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. How does it stand apart? Kitty's not a typical gun and katana wielding kick ass heroine. She's strong without being constantly violent. The series focuses on humor and adventure rather than sex -- for some people that's a plus, for some it's a minus, but that's what it is.
I have to ask this because I have a soft spot for Cormac. At the beginning of the series there was a connection between Kitty and Cormac that, in my opinion, needed to be explored because there were all kinds of sparks flying. However that's not what has happened even though they care for each other. How do you see these two in the past and what can we expect in the future? Is there hope?
This is a great example of the story I wanted to tell taking the series in a direction that I wasn't expecting. Lots of people love Cormac and really want Cormac and Kitty to be together, but in the end that didn't fit with the story that unfolded. How that happened takes a while to explain -- basically, two of the things on my "list" of stories I wanted to tell: I wanted to send my badass bounty hunter to jail, because that's something that never happens in these kind of books, but it's something that happens in the real world. So I did that. The other thing I wanted to do was make Kitty take care of someone important in her life who'd been attacked by a werewolf the way she was. My first thought was to have Cormac be that person, but I realized that if Cormac were ever infected with lycanthropy, he'd kill himself. He just would, that's his nature, and I'd have had to change his character entirely to have him live as a werewolf. So, that was out. But by infecting Ben, I got to have it impact both Cormac and Kitty, which was an incredibly interesting story for me to tell. After that, things ran their course and I just followed. At that point I decided it would be interesting to have Kitty in a challenging but stable relationship.
I'm not very interested in love triangle plots -- I've seen it in lots of other books, and I've stopped reading other series when the triangles got out of hand. So I decided to go a different route. I wasn't going to boot Cormac out entirely because he's a great character who's fun to write, so I decided to give him his own adventures while in prison. The novella in Kitty's Greatest Hits came out of that.
I know a lot of people are disappointed that I didn't do anything with those initial sparks, and all I can really say is my muse and I were drawn to other stories. He's a fun character and those scenes in the first book were fun, but there's a point where Cormac's own character worked against him -- he's sexy, but he's fundamentally terrible boyfriend material and I don't think it ever would have worked out between them in the long term. Cormac would never agree to have Thanksgiving dinner with Kitty's family, for example, and that would make her sad.
Cormac himself has also gone through a change due to things that have happened, which in a way makes me sad for him. Anything you can tell us about what we can expect from Cormac?
I'm planning on writing a novel about Cormac, from his point of view, as one of the next four in the series. We'll get a very good look into his new situation. As people say, when one door closes, another opens, and I've found myself very much intrigued by the idea of writing a "buddy detective" story in which one of the buddies is disembodied. It'll be fun. I'm actually not sad for him -- he's probably more stable than he has been in his whole life at this point.
I know favorites are always hard but do you have a favorite scene or plot in any of your books?
Each book has scenes that make me smile. I hate to be specific, but they're usually scenes that were very strong in my imagination, and then managed to be equally strong on the page. In Kitty Steals the Show, I love just about every scene with the Master of London, because he was such a fun character to write.
You are attending Comic Con. If you could dress up as anyone or anything, what would you pick? And who would you be excited to see and have a fangirl moment for?
I'm going to meet Nathan Fillion someday. I just am. And I'll squee. There's a whole list of people I'll squee over, actually. I have a lot of fangirl moments at Comic Con.
I might dress as the Baroness from GI Joe someday…
Do you have a writing process? Do you have to listen to music, have complete silence, write only on a full moon?
Wow, if I only wrote on the full moon nothing would ever get done. I write a little bit every day, I usually listen to music. I jump around in the story, I usually have a couple of projects going at once, a outline a little bit and revise a lot. I daydream a lot.
You are hosting a dinner party. If given the chance to invite any authors, who would you invite?
Do they have to be alive? Because my first thought is Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath. I have no idea what we'd talk about, but I bet it'd be cool.
Kitty has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world—and Kitty, Ben, and Cormac are right in the middle of it.
Master vampires from dozens of cities have also gathered in London for a conference of their own. With the help of the Master of London, Kitty gets more of a glimpse into the Long Game—a power struggle among vampires that has been going on for centuries—than she ever has before. In her search for answers, Kitty has the help of some old allies, and meets some new ones, such as Caleb, the alpha werewolf of the British Isles. The conference has also attracted some old enemies, who’ve set their sights on her and her friends.
All the world’s a stage, and Kitty’s just stepped into the spotlight.