Please welcome today, Caitlin Kittredge. Caitlin is the author of two popular urban fantasy series: BLACK LONDON and NOCTURNE CITY and the co-author with Jackie Kessler of the ICARUS PROJECT. She will be stopping by throughout the day to respond to fan questions and comments and to give away a copy of Street Magic and Demon Bound. So, please make sure to thank her for stopping by and let her know which novel you prefer to receive.
SB Frank: Caitlin, you are a self-confessed rocker, but I note on your website at your website that you also play the violin. When did you start playing? How often you play now? And with whom? And what type of music, groups, concerts, you enjoy? [I’m pausing a moment here to picture you playing in a blue-grass band and wearing a shaggy gray beard].
I actually haven’t played since college, but I was a classical violinist for ten years before that and I also played Irish folk music. The folk music was way more fun – I played at a lot of dances, in folk bands, all that. Unfortunately, I fell out of playing before the resurgence of folk-punk, or I would have been all over that.
What are your favorite rock groups and bands? What would we find on your iPod?
I have a lot of single-artist playlists since I tend to get in a groove, and I also make playlists for my novels and characters for a “mood” when I’m writing. Off the top of my head, the stuff I put in heavy rotation includes the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, early Bowie, Nick Cave, Lazy Cowgirls, some Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Clash, the Dead Kennedys and, because I am a child of the 90s, Nirvana and Green Day.
Nirvana, huh? Well, your bio does say that you acquire bad habits. Speaking of which, other than Nirvana are there any notable bad habits you’d be willing to share?
Procrastination! I am a world champion putter-offer. But I’m trying to collect good habits to balance that out.
Another bad habit is getting into internet slapfights with people who don’t appreciate my musical nostalgia. :-))
In addition to your two urban fantasy series, BLACK LONDON and NOCTURNE CITY, I understand that you and Jackie Kessler are coming out with the ICARUS PROJECT, starting with Black-and-White, which your website describes as part of the genre superhero fiction. Can you tell us a little about the project?
The ICARUS PROJECT is a set of novels set in a dystopian future, where superheroes keep the peace but are really controlled by a mysterious and far-reaching corporation that may have been responsible for the hero’s very creation. The story follows Jet, a hero who uses shadow to fight crime, and Iridium, a hero-turned-criminal who rebelled against her corporate masters and is trying to set the rest of the heroes free – but both of them have hidden motives and a villain that’s much worse than either of them has started to threaten their lives.
Sounds great. I understand that as a teenager you wrote an epic fantasy: sword, sorcery, elves… Do you have any plans to reenter the sub-genre, either retelling that story or coming up with something new?
As the title suggests, your BLACK LONDON series takes place in the UK. You seem to know a lot about the area including a lot of British slang and curse words. Have you lived in the UK? Or, if not, how did you pick up on all of this?
I’ve never lived in the UK, although I’ve spent a lot of time there as a visitor. My ancestors were English and came from Sussex in the 1660s, so they weren’t terribly helpful. Honestly, I watched a lot of English non-fiction programs (reality shows and the BBC world news and the like) to pick up speech patterns and idioms, and then I turned a few of my Brit friends loose on the manuscript of Street Magic to tell me where and how I’d screwed up. Now I like to think I can fake it pretty well.*
You have a great imagination for dark characters/creatures, and I also notice you refer quite frequently to mythology and legend. I’m wondering how much of this stuff comes straight from your brain and how much comes from research. How do you go about inventing a monster or a world setting?
I like to use research as a jumping-off point more than gospel. I tend to find something interesting from folklore (for instance, I used the legend of the Black Dog in Demon Bound, a mythological dog that’s said to follow travelers on dark roads and also take souls to the underworld when their time is up.) I started with the idea of the spectral dog – kind of a scent hound for Death – and ran with my own ideas of how that might work in a modern setting from there.
If you see something really weird and effed up in one of my books, though, chances are it was all my idea because my brain can be a strange place.
We’re giving away a copy of Street Magic and Demon Bound to two lucky commenters.