I recieved the sad news today via both Facebook and email that Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampires among other tales, had sadly passed away. She had been battling with a particularly rare and aggressive soft tissue sarcoma and had announced not too long ago that it had become impossible to treat and it was only a matter of time. The full announcement can be seen here on her fan page.
I never met Roxanne Conrad, the author who used the name Rachel Caine as her pen name, but she had an influence on my life and my writing work in more than one way. In the height of ‘Twilightmania’, she was publishing novels about vampires that were refreshing and unique. The town of Morganville was something akin to what could exist in White Wolf’s World of Darkness – a place ruled by vampires – and it contained a bunch of entertaining characters and stories that I could not stop reading. It represented for me the epitome of urban fantasy writing. Few authors have the nounce to not only make Oliver Cromwell a character but also to hide him under an assumed name and leave it up to readers to work out who he actually is (by working it out from his birth date given in one of the books…). Oh and not to mention one of the characters might possibly be Merlin… sort of…
I read some of her other works (Ink and Bone, the Weather Warden Series and the Revivalist series) and saw a great talent in her work. She twisted tropes, played with concepts and seemed to have a never ending pool of great ideas that she seemed to churn out at an alarming rate compared to my pedestrian writing speed. However, it was always the Morganville series for which I will always remember and thank her for.
In the past year, I had become aware of her on Quora where, like Mercedes Lackey, she had been making a name for herself as someone who gave sensible advice to upcoming writers. I was even honoured on a number of occasions to have had an upvote from her on some of my answers. For a fan that is an epic form of recognition.
The missed opportunity I mentioned in the title was that I have always said that I would have loved to have had her doing a piece for Vampire month. Sharing her ideas about vampires and urban fantasy in general. I never had the guts to ask and now I will never get the chance. I guess this is an appropriate time to remind you all to carpe diem while you can because things can change so quickly and chances disappear.
Anyway, I urge you to check out her books if you haven’t already. You can find them all on Goodreads/Amazon right here… And if you have any interest in Vampires at all and are sick of all the many tropes about them, I strongly suggest you check out Glass Houses, the Morganville Vampires book 1.