I’m so excited to have Jacqueline Carey on the blog today! Jacqueline is the author of the wildly popular Kushiel’s Legacy series, Santa Olivia (one of my faves), Saints Astray, and her brand new book, Dark Currents: Agent of Hel just came out! She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and there’s also a giveaway, so please check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Jacqueline, you’re the author of 14 novels (including the wildly successful Kushiel’s Legacy series), and your newest one, Dark Currents: Agent of Hel, just came out on Oct. 2nd! Will you tell us a bit about Dark Currents, and its heroine, Daisy Johanssen?
“Dark Currents” is an urban fantasy set in the Michigan resort town of Pemkowet, where Hel, the Norse goddess of the dead, presides over Little Niflheim in the old lumber town buried beneath the shifting sand dunes. Daisy Johanssen, my reluctant hell-spawn heroine, is the daughter of minor demon Belphegor, unwittingly summoned by her teenaged mother. Although Daisy struggles with temptation and the Seven Deadly Sins, her mom raised her to value traditional human morality, firmly believing that love could redeem even Rosemary’s baby.
Daisy serves as Hel’s liaison between the underworld and mundane authorities. When a local college boy is drowned and signs point to involvement by a member the eldritch community, it’s up to Daisy to solve the mystery before it ignites a catastrophic backlash.
What kind of research did you do for the book?
It feels almost like I cheated on this one! The setting is based on my actual home town, and much of the research is based on years of observation. I live in a quirky, charming place, the sort of oddball small town that you don’t often find outside a TV series. I always planned to write something set here and I’ve been making mental notes for ages. I just thought it would be a Serious Literary Novel. Instead, my Muse sent me visions like a frost giant driving a dune buggy.
I noticed you already have two more books planned in the series. When you started, did you already have idea of how many you wanted to write, or did you just decide to see where the series took you?
I tend to think in terms of three, so a trilogy was a natural fit for me. Perhaps it’s an echo of the classic three-act structure of drama. However, as I close in on the finish of the second volume, I’ll admit, I’m toying with the various possibilities that might be played out before the final endgame. We’ll see!
What do you love most about writing fantasy/urban fantasy?
This may sound facile, but… it’s fun. I love the fact that as an author, I’m held to a standard of plausibility rather than strict accountability. I relish the challenge of convincing readers to suspend their disbelief. And while the genre allows me to address serious themes, at the same time there’s a lot of freedom in it. Writing historical fantasy in the Kushiel’s Legacy series, I got to reinvent an entire tapestry of history, picking and choosing the strands I wanted to weave into it. Venturing into urban fantasy with “Dark Currents” allowed me to view the world in which I live through the lens of the fantastic, imbuing it with wonder and whimsy. Oh, and creepiness.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
My love of historical fiction began with Mary Renault’s novels of ancient Greece. Patricia McKillip’s “Riddlemaster of Hed” trilogy showed me that fantasy could be lyrical, and Richard Adams’ “Shardik” taught me that it could be intense and gritty, dealing with mature, complex themes.
What are you reading now?
As I write this, I’m preparing to head out on tour with a backlog of National Geographic magazines, which is probably not what readers are interested in hearing about, but always a potential source of inspiration. However, my most recent favorite read was “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein. It’s intense, heartbreaking, and a considerable narrative feat in the bargain. I recommend it highly.
I noticed that you love to travel! Where have you not been yet that you’d love to visit?
Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are a couple of places that are on the top of my wish list.
Also, I read that you’re a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state of Michigan. How did that come about?
Funny you should ask! It started with a handful of women who traipsed from bar to bar on Mardi Gras and decided a more large-scale celebration was in order. The next year, they invited a few more women, myself included, to form a krewe, build a float, and hold a parade. Despite the icy clime, we did. The first year, spectators were a little bewildered at being pelted by cheap, shiny necklaces, but they caught on quickly and learned to beg for beads by the following year. The tradition continues to this day.
When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Eating and drinking and talking with friends. For me, those are the building blocks that establish quality of life: Good food, good wine, good conversation. There’s nothing better.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about upcoming projects or events?
As I noted, I’m close to finishing the second Agent of Hel novel, with a working title of “Autumn Bones.” This one’s going to be a wild ride!
Keep up with Jacqueline: Website | Twitter
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