I started writing My Soul to Take, the first in my new young adult series (Soul Screamers), more than a year and a half ago, and since that moment, the two questions I’ve been asked most often are, “Why YA?” and “Why bean sidhes?”
As for that first question, well… you may as well ask me, why I write at all. The answer is simple (probably disappointingly so): because this is what I do. This is what makes me happy. What feels right. This is the only job I can imagine never getting tired of. The only work I still want to do at two in the morning, when I’m wrist-deep in edits, drowning in caffeine, and terrified of how my product will be received.
I write because I can’t not-write. And I write YA specifically because I can no longer not-write it. It’s really that simple.
But that second question… Why bean sidhes? Well, why not bean sidhes?
I got similar questions when my very first book came out (Stray, 2007) and people discovered that even though the heroine on the cover sported obvious claw marks, I was not writing about werewolves. “Why werecats?” They’d ask. In fact, some people had so much trouble with the idea that urban fantasy could contain something other than vampires, werewolves, and witches that I wound up with multiple reviews (with each new release) that referred to Faythe as a werewolf, and to her Pride as a pack.
Fortunately, I think there’s much less chance that my bean sidhes (banshees, to the uninitiated) could ever be mistaken for anything other than what they are. Due, in large part, to Kaylee’s tendency to rupture ear drums and shake glass with her screams.
Ever seen a vampire do that? ;-)
Yeah, I think I can cross mistaken identity off my list of things to worry about with this release. ;-)
For the record, I have nothing against vampires or werewolves. In fact, two of my favorite (adult) series are Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress books and Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson books. (And yes, I know Mercy isn’t a werewolf. ;-)) But I also have nothing to add to vampires or werewolves. At this point in the game, werewolves and (especially) vampires (especially in YA) are treading very well-worn paths, and the best authors in the genre have broadened those paths a bit by putting their own twists on conventional legends.
But I wanted to travel a lesser trod path through the urban fantasy landscape. Maybe even cut my own.
Did I invent bean sidhes? Of course not. Am I the first to write about them? Nowhere near. But when I was buried in research, swimming in possibilities, I knew the moment I read my first bean sidhe tale that I’d found something I could work with. A fascinating paranormal entity I’d never read about as a viewpoint character. A legendary creature whose best-known feature posed as many questions as it answered.
I’d found a new playground, with plenty of room to spread out my toys. And that’s exactly what I did.
Bean sidhes scream, and they foretell death. Most people know that, if nothing else about the old legends. But I needed more than simple harbingers of death to support the framework of the story already half-formed in my head by that point. So I played a writers’ favorite game: What If. What if… a bean sidhe is doing more than just wailing? What if her scream has a purpose we can’t understand? What if there’s more out there—dangerous creatures and terrifying worlds—than we know about, and what if a bean sidhe’s purpose in life puts her in conflict with some of those other, darker beings?
What if that bean sidhe didn’t know she wasn’t human? What if she didn’t know what she could do, or why? What if she was the only thing standing between her classmates and senseless, premature death? What would she risk to save them? Who would help her?
What if she isn’t strong enough?
Those questions form the framework for Kaylee’s world, and for her first story. Want the answers? You’re in luck. ;-) After what feels like forever for me, My Soul to Take (the red cover) is finally officially available, and My Soul to Save (the blue cover) comes out January 1. But first a word of warning before you get too far in: if you find yourself in the Netherworld, don’t touch the plant life.
Just… trust me on that one. ;-)
Thank you Rachel for taking time out to be here today and even though My Soul To Take has only just hit the streets, I can't wait for My Soul To Save to arrive in January.
Rachel's prequel novella My Soul To Lose is available free to download here. You don't need to have read it to read My Soul To Take. In fact, I would recommend reading the novel first and then reading the novella to fill in the back story.
Soul Screamers Series:
- My Soul To Lose (July 1, 2009 - novella)
- My Soul to Take (August 1, 2009)
- My Soul To Save (January 1, 2010)
- My Soul To Keep (June 1, 2010)
- Rachel Vincent website
- Rachel Vincent blog
- Excerpt of My Soul To Take
- SciFiGuy review of My Soul To Take
- Harlequin Teen website