Shivers and Sighs Week: Interview: Caitlin Kittredge

Today, we talk to Caitlin Kittredge, urban fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her Nocturne City series focuses on the adventures of werewolf and cop Luna Wilder, and her relationship with fellow shape-changer Dmitri Sandovsky. Her young adult novel The Iron Thorn, inspired by Lovecraft’s work, is out this month.

IFP: How did you happen to try your hand at urban fantasy?
CK: I stumbled into it completely backwards. I didn’t know that my first novel was “urban fantasy”, or what that was, really. My publisher told me after the fact.

IFP: Why a werewolf?
CK: I like werewolves. Shapeshifters of any kind, really They have the duality of their nature that makes for good fiction; plus, they’re much cooler than vampires.

IFP: How did your big break happen? Did you have to send your manuscript out many times? Stroke of luck?
CK: I wouldn’t really call it a “big break”, as it was very standard – I queried, I got an agent, and she sold my novel. No luck, just submitting my work until I found a good fit.

IFP: What the hardest part about writing a series?
CK: Escalating in each book without repeating myself. There’s a line from the Buffy TV show where Buffy says that she’s saved the world five times. When the danger in each book is “and then the world blows up”, the stakes start to not mean anything. Balancing upping the tension in each novel with keeping the characters grounded is hard, but I like it.

IFP: We are here for Valentine’s Day. So, let’s talk about love. What makes a good romantic lead?
CK: Honesty. Compassion. Loyalty. All that corny stuff.

IFP: Favourite romantic heroes? Any genre. Spill the beans.

CK: I was always very taken with Count Dracula and Mina Harker. In the Francis Ford Coppola Dracula film, he has a line that goes, “I have crossed oceans of time to be with you.” That kind of fundamental, undying love – that’s my favourite kind.

IFP: You have a novel that takes place in a Lovecraftian 1950s. Can you tell us more about it?
CK: The Iron Thorn is the first in a trilogy of steampunk novels for young adults, set in an alternate 1950s where steam power and magic co-exist uneasily. Aoife Grayson must leave her comfortable life at boarding school to find her missing brother, who may or may not have been stolen by fairies, and discovers she’s the last in a line of ancient gatekeepers holding unimaginable evil at bay.

IFP: How did you discover Lovecraft?

CK: I read “A Shadow Over Innsmouth” in a collection of horror stories when I was a kid and was hooked.

IFP: Is writing YA with Lovecratian elements hard? Mind-bendingly difficult? Or is it a non-Euclidean piece of cake?
CK: It wasn’t difficult at all. Lovecraft is very much literature of the fantastical and surreal, and navigating being a teenager is often the same way. The world that Aoife lives in fits pretty naturally with Lovecraft’s creatures and creations…the blend of magic and technology helped me take the basis he laid in new directions, which hopefully, is what he would have wanted.

IFP: Is there any genre you secretly want to try your hand at? Western? Science fiction?

CK: I’d love to write a crime novel – not a mystery but a crime novel, an old school noir. Sadly I don’t think my schedule will ever permit it.

IFP: What are you working on right now?
CK: The fourth book in my Black London series, Devil’s Business.

Visit Caitlin Kittredge at her website.

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IFPShivers and Sighs Week: Interview: Caitlin Kittredge