I don’t remember much after Ursula K. Le Guin. My literary ventures blur together, but I clearly remember the day I read Rachel Vincent’s series opener “Stray”. The year was 2008 and it was a cold morning, when I picked the book. I actually remember that it was January – the New Year’s festive spirit still hung in the household (read this as there being delicious leftovers) and I had a very special present in my hands.
Here are the most important bits about my experience with it:
(1) Urban fantasy is a thing? Hello there! Nice to meet you. Never ever leave me, OK? Do you pinky swear?
Bulgaria, I feel, has been the slowpoke of the world. Trust me. A cultural revolution could spark around the world and we’d catch up on it after the dust settled. Can you believe Buffy took until 2006 to actually air on Bulgarian Fox? I knew I liked it, but I had never suspected it existed as a genre – in fiction no less.
I thought Faythe Sanders to be the book equivalent of Buffy (which to a point can be said about a great many urban fantasy heroines) and followed her readily in her pride politics. Vincent writes a good fighting scene and as far as I can remember, she nailed down the mandatory flirty scenes.
I still enjoy urban fantasy, but it has to be darker, raw and weirder. Something like “Zoo City” by Lauren Beukes.
(2) Who are you, Rachel Vincent and are there more like you?
Blogging isn’t really big here and in 2008, Bulgaria still had no clue what a blog was, but I did a short Google check on Vincent and discovered her blog. “Stray” is Vincent’s debut, so she had a lot more time then so her blog discussed writing – inception, creation, editing and submission. I learned all there is about being a professional writer from her blog.
Your first draft will suck? Vincent taught me. Your first book(s) might not sell? Yep, Vincent’s fault. You as a writer might never make enough to live on your work? She told me.
I also learned agents are incredibly hard to get, unless you’re a genius; completing anything right takes time; publishing moves at a glacier speed; your work is never done; rejection sucks and it’s your job to grow thick skin. I had decided to be a frigging writer. I live to tell stories. That’s the thing I want to do, so I absorbed everything Vincent ever talked about. Followed the people she respected and mentioned. Educated myself and wrote on the ill-fated urban fantasy novel that’s in my trunk, but nevertheless, I cherish the crash course in publishing reality.
(3) Wait, people actually create blogs and review books?
It’s Rachel Vincent who got me into reading urban fantasy, which lead me to find the first ever review blogs dedicated to reading and reviewing books. This was my first brush against genre community and I loved it, because I discovered people who loved the same books I did and let me tell you, it was hard to find people who love urban fantasy.
In short, Rachel Vincent not only writes sweet urban fantasy series, but she schooled me in the ways of the writer and is responsible for me being here now, a part of this community. For that, I give my sincere thanks!