With the release of the fourth and final Soul Screamers compilation volume, which graces shelves today, Rachel Vincent is officially finishing this chapter of her writing career. Readers have stuck by Kaylee, the series's fiery heroine, through thick and thin, and we're sure it's just as hard for them to say goodbye as it is for Rachel. We recently asked Rachel to reflect on her time writing the series and what readers can look forward to next. And be sure to stay tuned at the end for a special giveaway! Rachel, take it away!
With the publication of the final Volume 4 compilation next week, the Soul Screamers series will officially be drawing to a close after four and a half years, seven novels and six novellas/short stories. My Soul To Take was my first foray into the young adult side of publishing. Soul Screamers represents the most I’ve ever written in a single series and the longest I’ve ever spent in a fictional world, so for me, this the end of an era. Saying goodbye to the characters is difficult, but I’m feeling both nostalgic and optimistic.
Kaylee and friends have had a good run.
When I’m asked to pick a favorite moment from the series, I always have trouble deciding, but two moments in particular stand out. Series readers probably won’t be surprised to hear that the first of those is Tod and Kaylee’s hallway kiss, near the middle of If I Die (book 5). To this day, that book is the one that generates the most mail from readers, and that scene in particular was one of my favorites to write. But what you may not know is that it was supposed to come a full book earlier. I didn’t delay the moment intentionally — the story must follow its own path — but looking back, I think it came at just the right time. For everyone but Nash.
My other favorite series moment is when Tod and Kaylee are reunited near the end of With All My Soul. I’m particularly proud of the emotion in the scene where the two of them are sitting on the floor in the basement because in the original draft, that never happened. When my editor read the first version, she liked it, but thought we should see a little more of their reunion, and I’m happy to say that she was right. Bringing them back together — and showing that moment of connection — made Kaylee’s sacrifice and Tod’s pain worth it for me. Their reunion was the long-awaited light at the end of a very long tunnel.
With Volume 4 coming out a full year after the publication of the last individual book, I had a pretty unique opportunity — the chance to show some of what happened with Kaylee’s friends and family during her absence at the end of With All My Soul (book 7). For a couple of years, readers had been asking for a novella from Nash’s point of view, but for most of the series, his psyche was fragile enough that anything told from his perspective would have been difficult for me to write and heartbreaking for readers to read. But the specific time-frame of both the final omnibus and the novella itself gave both Nash and me the distance needed for that perspective.
The result is “Last Request,” which is told from both Nash’s and Tod’s perspectives, where they try to grant the last wish Kaylee might have made, if she’d had the opportunity. I’m really pleased with the story, but if it makes you sad, I recommend re-reading the end of With All My Soul for a pick-me-up!
While I’m sad to say goodbye to the Soul Screamers world, I’m so proud of what Kaylee and I accomplished, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Harlequin Teen on the entire series.
My next YA project is a novel called The Stars Never Rise, due out in the Spring of 2015, from Delacorte. This new story is a departure from what I’ve done in the past, but features fast-paced action and characters that fans of Kaylee and her friends should love!
To enter for a chance to win one complete set of the Soul Screamers volumes, use the widget below! Contest is open to US and Canadian readers and the winner will be selected next Tuesday. Good luck!
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