A: Soul Screamers is a young adult urban fantasy series narrated by teenage bean sidhe (banshee) Kaylee Cavanaugh as she tries to balance a normal high school experience with the threat of the Netherworld, a terrifying, hidden world full of reapers, hellions, and countless other mythical monsters out to possess her, body and soul.
Q: Kaylee is a Bean Sidhe, a being of Irish mythology. How did you come across this particular myth and what made you decide to write about it?
A: Actually, I already knew what a “banshee” was, from growing up hearing phrases like, “scream like a banshee,” but when I was doing research, looking for something mostly unexplored in urban fantasy, I rediscovered the lore I already knew and realized there were enough unanswered questions about bean sidhes to leave a lot of the creation up to me. Which made Kaylee a perfect subject for both YA and urban fantasy.
Q: Would you want to have Kaylee's powers?
A: Nooo! No way. I don’t want to know when someone’s going to die.
Q: Who is your favorite character in Soul Screamers and are any of them based on yourself or anyone you know?
A: No, none of them are based on anyone real. Other than Kaylee, my favorite characters are Tod and Sabine, because they both have completely different outlooks on life than normal humans have, and that makes writing them a lot of fun.
Q: I absolutely love all of the covers to the Soul Screamers books. They are gorgeous! How did you decide on the images?
A: I didn’t. That’s not how the cover art process works. Most authors have little-to-no say on their cover art or design, and even those who do get approval or significant input (major bestsellers, for the most part) don’t actually pick out the images. The cover is entirely up to the publisher.
My role in cover art is simply to describe the characters, their world, and the plot for my publisher, who then designs the cover. With foreign covers, I usually don’t see them until they go up for pre-order online.
Q: Readers may not know this, but you also have a series, Shifters, that is geared more towards adults. Is writing for one genre easier than the other?
A: I actually started out writing for adults. Stray, my first novel and the first in the Shifters series, came out in 2007. But no, neither genre is easier than the other. My YAs are a little shorter than my adult books, though not much shorter at this point, so they usually get written faster. But writing is hard work. Period. There are zillions of details that go into it, and I’ll have read through each book a minimum of eight times before it’s printed, doing various rounds of revisions, edits, and proofreading.
Q: What book are you currently reading and what is your all time favorite book?
A: I’m about to start an ARC of Delirious. My favorite adult book is The Stand, by Stephen King, and my favorite YAs right now are Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers, and White Cat, by Holly Black. I heartily recommend all three of them.
Q: Many readers are also aspiring writers. How did you get your books published and what advice would you give when it comes to writing?
A: I don’t have any advice, about writing, because it’s just not that simple. No one tip is going to make you a brilliant writer. All you can do is practice—a lot—and study your craft by reading—a lot. However, if you want to study technique, there are hundreds of books about writing fiction out there. But be careful; too much advice too early in the process can stifle your creativity and block the development of your own “voice.”
As for how I got published, I wrote a book. Then I wrote another book. Then I wrote a third book. I thought this third book (Stray) was good enough to publish—but I was wrong. So I spent several months polishing and rewriting (through six different drafts), then started querying literary agents. My future agent Miriam Kriss read and loved my partial (sample chapters) and called to ask for the whole thing. She read it and liked it, so she offered to represent me. I accepted, then she started pitching my books to editors.
Stray received offers from four publishers, and a couple of weeks later, we accepted my first book deal, for the first three books in the Shifters series.
Because a LOT of new writers fall victim to scams, let me add this:
The thing to remember about publishing is that money always flows TO the author, never from the author. If a literary agent or publisher asks you for money to represent or to publish you books, turn around and run. You ARE being scammed. I do not pay my agent. I do not pay my publisher. My publisher pays me for the right to publish my books. My agent gets 15% of what my publisher makes me. That’s how it works. Period.
Q: What are you working on now? Is there more to the Soul Screamers series that readers can look forward to?
A: Right now, I’m working on the first draft of IF I DIE (Soul Screamers book 5, which comes out sometime in the summer or fall of 2011.
Q: Finally, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Is there anything else you want readers to know about you or your books?
A: Thank you for having me! You can keep up with my latest book news, releases, and contests on my website, blog, or Facebook.
I hope this encourages everyone to go out and read Rachel's books, they are truly awesome. I have a review and a recipe for My Soul to Keep under the Read and Eat tabs on the blog too, so you can get a little more information.
I'd like to once again thank Rachel for answering my questions. I love the information given about the publishing process.I'm sure readers will find it very helpful too.