Sleeps With Monsters: Vivian Shaw Answers Seven Questions

A new column over at

LB: Let’s start with a basic question. Strange Practice’s main character is a doctor who operates a clinic specialising in “monsters”—from mummies and vampires to ghouls and banshees. What’s the appeal of having a physician for an urban fantasy protagonist?

VS: Partly it’s because I love writing clinical medicine. I wanted to be a doctor way back in the Cretaceous but never had the math for it, and I read medical textbooks for fun, so getting to come up with a whole new set of physiologies and the consequent diseases is an endless source of pleasure. Storywise—it’s competence porn. Watching a doctor do what they’re good at is exciting the way watching a lawyer argue or a pianist play is exciting to me, and I love being able to put that kind of easy I-got-this expertise into my books. It’s deeply satisfying to write about people doing things I can’t actually do myself.

Sleeps With Monsters: Melissa Caruso Answers Six Questions

A new column over at, my first Q&A in a long while:

MC: Probably the single biggest influence on me as a young writer was Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. It felt like the book I’d always been waiting for. I took it out of the library again and again as a kid, then bought a used copy with my own money and read that over and over, too. I love so many things about that book, from the wonderful heroine to the voice and the deep sense of setting (so many little real-feeling details!).

Sleeps With Monsters: Martha Wells Answers Eight Questions

Over at

MW: As for characters, when I was growing up it was very hard to find adventure stories geared toward children or young readers with female main characters, or even with female characters who were active participants in the adventure and not just there to be rescued or to act as an antagonistic babysitter to the intrepid male characters. One of the reasons I was drawn to adult SF/F was because it was possible to find female characters who actually got to do things, though again there were a lot of women rescuees who didn’t see much actual action. I read Zelde M’tana by F.M. Busby at way too young an age, because the paperback cover showed a woman with a ray gun in her hand who clearly was not a victim and was not there to be rescued.