There are few vampire stories as loved as Rachel Caine’s Morganville series. The latest book, Daylighters, left many fans hungry for more – and Caine is only happy to give them something to sate their appetite. Her new book Midnight Bites is a collection of short stories that take place in the world of the Morganville vampires.
Midnight Bites features some stories that fans will recognize from Caine’s old Morganville site, but half the collection is brand-new stories featuring characters like Myrnin, Eve, Hannah, Shane and Claire.
Since Caine stopped in a few months ago for a more formal feature on her new fantasy novel Ink and Bone, we thought a more casual Q&A about Midnight Bites would be fun.
What inspired you to put together a Morganville short story collection?
I have an entire file of requests from people asking where they can find all the stories (the short answer was, it’s difficult, because I had placed them in so many different publications), what order to read them in, and to put them all in a book so that they could have them … but I didn’t want to just do a collection of what I’d already done. I didn’t feel that was at all fair to ask people to pay for that. So … there are six new stories in this anthology (about half a regular book’s worth of content) that they won’t have read before! And they’re still getting all the hard-to-find exclusives that were offered in different anthologies and as bonuses for foreign editions, plus (almost) all of the short fiction that was on the website. (The only exceptions were the diary entries, because they were too short to be relevant, really.)
Of the six new stories, which was the hardest for you to write? Which was the most fun?
It’s always super fun to come back to Morganville, and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them … but I always love writing Myrnin the most, and he gets prominent placement in three of the six stories. I really also enjoyed doing Hannah’s story, which is more of a straight-ahead detective story approach. But really, I loved writing all of them.
Contrary to popular belief, the stories don’t all take place after Daylighters – they span throughout the series and are in chronological order. How often did you have to reference your books to keep things consistent? Do you have a series bible that you maintain to help you?
Yes, that’s right … the goal was to capture all of the short stories that I’ve done along the way and make sure they don’t vanish, because many of them were placed in out-of-print anthologies, or were offered as bonus material on editions in other countries. Plus, of course, the free stories that I did for the web, which have been pulled off as they were requested for reprints and such. This seemed like a good opportunity to pull all that material together and try to make it (finally!) into a cohesive whole.
I very often referenced the books when putting this together … I have indexed ebooks that make searches a whole lot easier now! I’ve tried putting together a series bible, but to be honest, by the time I had the opportunity to attempt it, the series was already so big that it would have been a six-month effort. I tried hiring others to do it, but they found it just as overwhelming. So the indexed ebooks is probably my best solution.
Will fans still be able to find some of the original diary-style entries that aren’t included in the book on the Morganville website?
Great question! The Morganville website has been folded into my main Rachel Caine website and I will be putting the diary entries up there as soon as I can under the “Free Short Fiction” page. I just got the site redesigned, and am still adding to it.
I didn’t include the diary entries because so many of them weren’t really stories, just random scenes. I didn’t feel they really worked in the context of the collection.
We lost some of the diary entries when a WordPress update crashed the Morganville site, but I’ve recently recovered a backup!
Do you have a writing routine – the same place you sit, what you listen to? Did it change when you switched from full-length novels to shorter stories?
I have two lovely writing areas in my house—an office and a sunroom. I try to move between them fairly regularly because it helps adjust my ergonomics and prevent problems with my shoulders, back and wrists if I’m not stuck in the same position all the time.
I change my playlists depending on what I’m writing, and very rarely repeat the same songs from list to list. I love discovering new music, which is why I try to always put the playlists in the back of the books. For the short story collection, I pulled together a list with songs from each of the original book playlists for Morganville, which was really fun!
The Morganville series is currently on pause, not quite finished. What can fans expect when you jump back into it?
Hmmm, great question. It’s a SUPER busy 2016 for me, so I’m going to tentatively say late this year or early next year.
What else do you want fans to know about Midnight Bites?
I think all but the most dedicated collectors will find a lot of new-to-them stories there … especially the ones that were previously published in anthologies. And even the dedicated collectors haven’t read the new stories, so I think it’s a win for everyone, plus all the stories finally available together! It was really fun for me to revisit Morganville, and I hope it will be just as fun for everyone who loves being there too.
What are some YA books you’ve read recently and would recommend to fans while they wait for Midnight Bites?
Oh gosh, so many! I’m a superfan of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, and also Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. Just started Truthwitch by Susan Dennard as well, and Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything was stunning too. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an insta-buy author for me, as is Holly Black. But there are so many amazing YA books that it’s difficult to go wrong with anything right now. It’s going to be looked back on as the golden age of YA, I believe. Such great work being done, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.