Sleeps With Monsters: Vivian Shaw Answers Seven Questions

For this week’s column, Vivian Shaw—author of Strange Practice (Orbit, 2017)—has generously agreed to answer some questions. It’s not everyday you get an urban fantasy whose protagonist is a doctor for monsters, so I have been a little bit intrigued to learn more.

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 ...