Carrie Vaughn is the author of the popular urban fantasy Kitty Norville series. A Hugo Award nominee, Vaughn has published over fifty short stories in various magazines such as Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, and Asimov’s, as well as in several anthologies.
Now Vaughn has a Kitty Norville story collection out, entitled Kitty’s Greatest Hits. The book showcases Vaughn’s storytelling skills and provided a good opportunity for Omnivoracious to catch up with this talented and extremely knowledgeable writer…
Amazon.com: Your body of work is much wider than “urban fantasy” but you are best-known for the urban fantasy Kitty Norville series. Do you like the label and do you ever see it as a constraint?
Carrie Vaughn: I have to admit, I’m a bit ambivalent about the label. On the one hand, it’s a great identifying mark, and the audience who loves these books has really embraced it and celebrated it, and it’s nice being part of such an energetic community. On the other hand, I get frustrated because the label means so many things to so many people, and I spend a lot of time answering questions about where books that used to be known as “urban fantasy”—those by Emma Bull and Charles de Lint, for example—fit into all this. (I think they’ve been relabeled “mythic fantasy,” but that just goes to show you how mutable labels ultimately are.) And I do think authors run the risk of being constrained by the label, from a couple of sides. Some readers won’t read anything that even resembles urban fantasy, no matter what (and their comments about it online are downright hateful). From the creative side, I’ve talked to authors who think that in order for their books to be considered urban fantasy, there has to be a love triangle, or epic fight scenes, or a tortured heroine, etc. Really, though, I think “urban fantasy” ought to mean “fantastical elements in a modern world” and that’s it. The more broadly we can define the label, the better for all of us.