This Friday (May 29) the urban fantasy novel Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey is being released. Santa Olivia is one of the best novels I have read this year, so I was especially pleased when Jacqueline Carey graciously agreed to an interview to discuss the new book and her writing. You can view my earlier review here.
I have 5 copies of Santa Olivia available for giveaway courtesy of the wonderful folks at The Hachette Book Group and Grand Central Publishing. Details at the end of the post.
Jacqueline Carey is also the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Kushiel's Legacy series of historical fantasy novels and The Sundering epic fantasy duology. You can visit her website here for more information.
A very warm welcome to Jacqueline Carey!
Q1. On your website you talk about some personal events that surrounded the creation of Santa Olivia. Can you tell us a little more about why you chose to write this particular book now?
It had a lot to do with the political climate – the debate over immigration, proposals to build a giant wall along the Mexican border, propaganda wars, intelligence being twisted to serve a political agenda, rendition and torture of detainees. Those are all themes that serve as a backdrop to the book, and issues that are ongoing despite the change of climate. I thought it would be interesting to take those elements to the extreme, and see how one character, my genetically-fearless heroine Loup, might inspire hope in the midst of despair and apathy.
Q2. You have said that Santa Olivia contains some of your favourite secondary characters ever. Can you tell us more about them?
I love Pilar Ecchevarria and Miguel Garza, because they’re so unabashedly themselves. Pilar’s a would-be unrepentant gold-digger with a big heart that leads her in the opposite direction of everything she thinks she wants. Miguel’s a bully and a jerk who turns out to be far less of a jerk than he realizes. And he gets a lot of good lines! Both of them are just a great deal of fun to write.
Q3. Do you have any sequels planned for Santa Olivia or perhaps similar projects that may delve into urban fantasy territory?
I have a sequel to Santa Olivia in mind, a sort of caper novel that’s more light-hearted than the first book, although it would continue to address ongoing political themes. And I’m considering another possible urban – actually, small-town – fantasy project that’s barely in the gestation stage. We’ll see!
Q4.The sport of boxing features prominently in the story. What kind of research did you do to prepare for writing those scenes?
It’s a little-known fact, but I enjoy watching boxing. No one else I know does, so I don’t really follow it, and mostly watch when I’m alone on the road. I read an extensive history of the sport, as well as a few technique and training manuals, and watched a lot of old matches online. Oddly enough, in college I happened to see the tragic match between Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Duk Koo Kim that led to the latter’s death due to brain injuries sustained in the fight. No doubt that’s been in the back of my mind all these years.
Q5. Originally you were going to publish Santa Olivia under a pseudonym. What changed your mind?
Initially, my editor and I were concerned that coming out with a book so completely unlike anything I’m known for writing could have a negative impact on sales momentum. Taking creative risks is good for artists, but there’s always a potential commercial downside. We thought using a pseudonym could offset that risk, and possibly pick up a different audience. But when the publishing schedule was determined, we realized Santa Olivia was coming out within a month of Naamah’s Kiss, and decided that sales momentum wouldn’t be an issue, and that there was more of an upside to cashing in on whatever name recognition I have. In other words, it’s all about the bottom line!
Q6. What books do you read when you have the chance? Any must have authors, series or genres?
Sadly, I don’t have as much time for pleasure reading as I’d like; I spend a lot of my reading time on research materials. As a result, I don’t have any current must-haves. But I’m an eclectic reader, and I’ll happily read across the board in any genre. I do have old favorites I’ll return to from time to time, like Mary Renault’s novels set in ancient Greece; or in fantasy, works by authors like Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Richard Adams.
Q7. If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
I’ll go with a siren, because I always wished I could sing. And there’s a certain parallel with being a writer, except instead of using a beautiful voice to lure men to a watery grave, we try to use beautiful language to lure readers into the depths of the worlds we create.
Q8. Next month you have the newest book and start of a new trilogy in your Kushiel series being released. Tell us a little about Naamah’s Kiss.
It’s the first book of a new trilogy set in the Terre d’Ange milieu, several generations after the end of the Kushiel’s Legacy series. My heroine, Moirin, is born to the bear-witches of the Maghuin Dhonn, but her father is a D’Angeline Priest of Naamah. Moirin has a small gift for subtle magic, a powerfully sensual nature, and an inconvenient destiny that will send her to the far side of the world.
Thank you Jacqueline for your time and the interview! Jacqueline Carey will also be returning on June 17 to be interviewed for her June release of Naamah's Kiss. A very busy spring for Jacqueline. I'll also be hosting a giveaway for the book, details to come.
Directions for entering the giveaway for 5 copies of Santa Olivia can be found here. Contest ends Midnight May 28th.