Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty and the Silver Bullet"

Carrie Vaughn is the author of four novels about a werewolf named Kitty.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to the latest installment in the series, Kitty and the Silver Bullet, and reported the following:
My one-sentence tagline description of the Kitty series is this: Kitty is a werewolf who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Kitty and The Midnight Hour is the first novel in the series. The fourth, Kitty and the Silver Bullet, came out earlier this year, and the fifth and sixth will be out early next year.

Kitty and the Silver Bullet wraps up a lot of threads that developed through the first three books. The overall arc of the series is something of a coming of age story. Starting with the first book, Kitty learns to stand up for herself, and to be independent. In Silver Bullet, she comes full circle and confronts some of the people who have threatened her and abused her in the past. Now, she has the skills and strength to be able to stand up to them.

Page 99 has one of my favorite scenes in the book. Kitty is a rather unusual werewolf in that she tries to avoid violence. She prefers to talk her way out of situations whenever possible. But by now, it's becoming clear that that isn't going to be an option this time around. Because she's facing down a whole group of werewolves and vampires, all of whom have it in for her, her werewolf strength and abilities aren't going to be enough to protect her. So, her friend Ben is going to teach her how to shoot a gun.

"What's this?" My voice seemed small.

"Nine-millimeter Glock semiautomatic, weapon of choice of law enforcement officers everywhere. Compact, light, has some kick because of that, but it's worth the trade. It can still do a fair bit of damage."

Dread fell like a weight over me.

He continued. "We're not strong enough to take on Carl and Meg hand-to-hand. We need other advantages."

Like hell. "Ben, no, I've never touched a gun in my life--"

"That's why I'm taking you to a range where you can practice."

"No. No no no. It's cheating..."

I like this scene for a lot of reasons. We hardly ever see this kind of character--the kick-ass heroine--actually learning how to shoot. You can't just pick up a gun and be good at it, and I wanted to show that. It's also a fun bit of interaction between two of the series' main characters. Both of them are snarky and funny, and watching them together is a hoot. I have a lot of fun writing scenes with Kitty and Ben.

All in all, this really is pretty representative not just of the book, but of the series. There's a hint of menace--Kitty is learning to shoot because her life is in danger. But the humor and character interaction, which I like to think are some of the strengths of the series, come through as well.
Read an excerpt from Kitty and the Silver Bullet, and learn more about the author and her work at Carrie Vaughn's website and journal.

--Marshal Zeringue