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Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn

In this week’s Author Spotlight, we ask author Carrie Vaughn to tell us a bit about her story for Fantasy, “The Nymph’s Child.”

Carrie Vaughn“The Nymph’s Child” was originally published in Fast Ships, Black Sails, an anthology of pirate stories. Could you tell us about the process of writing it? 

I’d actually already written it when Ann and Jeff VanderMeer announced Fast Ships, Black Sails, and opened it to submissions. It seemed like a good fit, so I sent it in. I seem to remember this being a story I played around with for a long time, and wrote a couple of different versions of before being happy enough with it to send it out. How much to include of the past, and how to include it in the present timeline of the story, were big issues.

Steel, your new YA novel, is also about a girl sailing with pirates. What’s the best part about writing about pirates? Do you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th)? 

I’m afraid I don’t celebrate it! I’m usually at home, by myself, working, so I’d end up talking like a pirate to my dog, who wouldn’t appreciate it. Pirates have been prime fodder for stories for three hundred years, and they include so many romantic adventuresome things like sword fighting and sailing and spiffy clothes. I’m a sucker for swords and frock coats as much as the next writer.

The dragon asks, “Why does your kind not sail?” and Grace does not have an answer. Why aren’t there more stories about female pirates?

I’m not sure there aren’t more stories about female pirates. Anne Bonny and Mary Read are two of the most famous historical pirates there are, and plenty has been written about them. We also have Grace O’Malley, a pirate captain who worked around Ireland, and Madame Cheng commanded an entire pirate fleet in the South China Sea. There’s evidence that quite a few women disguised themselves and took the seas. Fast Ships, Black Sails included quite a few stories about women pirates. Should I bring up Cutthroat Island? No?

You said in a recent Tor.com interview that you’ve decided it’s your mission “to write books starring teen girl characters having awesome adventures that don’t involve getting a boyfriend by the end.” Would you recommend a few books that fit the bill?

You’ve put me on the spot now, since I don’t think I’m all that well read. Deryn in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan has awesome adventures. Tamora Pierce’s books star adventuresome teen girls. I’m a big fan of Robin McKinley’s Damar books, The Blue Sword and The Hero and The Crown, in which the heroines have boyfriends, but their main focus is definitely on saving the world. I don’t have anything against boyfriends or romance; I just don’t like that they’re the focus of so many otherwise girl-centered stories.

You’ve had a busy year. Steel was released in March, After the Golden Age in April, and another Kitty novel, Kitty’s Big Trouble in June. How do you unwind after a busy schedule?

I don’t think I’ve figured that one out yet … my schedule hasn’t really stopped being busy in a couple of years.

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. Before we conclude, will you tell us what is next for you?

I’m working on more books in my Kitty the werewolf series, and I have some other projects I’m working on.

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Jennifer Konieczny

Jennifer KoniecznyJennifer Konieczny hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An alumna of Villanova University, she now pursues her doctorate in medieval studies at the University of Toronto. She enjoys working with fourteenth-century Latin legal texts, slushing for Fantasy Magazine, and scanning bookshelves for new authors to read.