Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview - Author Jacqueline Carey (Part 2)

Next Wednesday (June 24) is the release date for Naamah's Kiss, the highly anticipated seventh book in Jacqueline Carey's wonderful Kushiel fantasy series. I had the privilege and pleasure of reading an advance readers copy and fans will not be disappointed (my review here). Naamah's Kiss comes hot on the heels of Santa Olivia which was released just last month and is receiving terrific reviews everywhere. It looks to be a Jacqueline Carey summer of hits!

Last month Jacqueline Carey graciously agreed to an interview to discuss Santa Olivia and Naamah's Kiss. This is the second part of that interview. You can read the earlier Santa Olivia interview here.

I have 3 copies of Naamah's Kiss available for giveaway courtesy of the wonderful folks at The Hachette Book Group and Grand Central Publishing. Details at the end of the post.

A very warm welcome to Jacqueline Carey!

Q1. Naamah’s Kiss is the first book of a new trilogy set in your Kushiel universe. How does it differ from the previous trilogies?

One major difference is that my heroine, Moirin, possesses a gift of magic, the ability to summon the twilight and conceal herself. Her mother’s people, the bear-witches of the Maghuin Dhonn are a wild folk who were never civilized, and they’re one step closer to the spirit world than anyone else in my alternate reality. This puts Moirin at odds with the sophistication and intrigue she finds among her father’s people in Terre d’Ange. She’s a lot more impulsive than prior protagonists, which sometimes leads her into trouble; and provides the opportunity for more overt humor than in the previous trilogies.

Overall, it does contain a lot of the same elements: Adventure, romance, intrigue, eroticism, an epic, sweeping tale. Hopefully, I’ve breathed new life into a new set of familiar, beloved tropes of the genre!

Q2. Phèdre & Joscelin and Imriel & Sidonie‘s stories are among the great romances of modern fantasy. What can we expect in the way of romance in the new trilogy? (Do you have a favourite romance novel?)

Well, Moirin falls in love very, very easily, so in that sense, there’s a whole lotta lovin’ going on. As for her Ultimate True Romance, all I’m going to say is that this one has a dynamic that’s unlike any other I’ve written, and it won’t play out in its entirety in the first book. I wanted to present a set of new obstacles to the course of true love, and present a relationship that at once had echoes of the great and terrible romances of the Kushiel trilogies, while at the same time, serving as a foil to them.

I don’t have a favorite romance novel, oddly enough. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I keep writing books with an epic romance at the heart of them.

Q3. I understand you traveled to China as part of the research for the book. Tell us a little about that experience and how it factors into the story.

The most profound creative impact came from experiencing the landscape first-hand, which informed my descriptive writing in a way that mere academic research couldn’t have done. Some of the places we visited were so lovely, I was moved to tears. I ended up taking a number of liberties with the geography because I wanted to include a lot of those elements. Ultimately, that’s why I write historical fantasy, and not straightforward historical fiction; so I can have the freedom to reimagine the world.

Q4. Do you have long term plans for the series beyond the current trilogy? Are there other projects you would like to tackle in the future?

I don’t have any long term plans for the series at the moment. Currently, I’m contemplating a sequel to Santa Olivia, as well as a possible contemporary paranormal series. But I love the Terre d’Ange milieu, and will likely return to it at some point. Upon finishing the Naamah trilogy, I’ll have to take a bit of time to clear my head and let the process of creative Darwinism take place.

Q5. Can you tell us a little about your writing process and routine (where do you feel most comfortable writing, do you set targets for yourself, do you work from an outline or let the story go where it takes you).

I have a messy little home office I call my cave, and I hole up and write there in the late afternoon/early evening. I don’t draft outlines on paper, but I have the book fairly thoroughly outlined in my head before I begin writing. I’m an edit-as-I-go writer, so I don’t set targets. A good day of writing may consist of generating lots of new material, or it may consist of editing the previous day’s work; either one is good. I do keep mental track of my overall progress, measuring the arc of the story’s progress against the time-frame in which I have to write it. And I never, ever skip ahead! Many writers do and it works just fine for them, but I can’t do it.

Q6. Tell us what it was like when you sold your first novel. What was your reaction when you heard the news? How did that compare to the first time you made the New York Times Bestseller List?

When Kushiel’s Dart – actually, the first Kushiel trilogy, although only Dart was written at the time – sold, it was surreal and euphoric. I’d been a struggling writer for over ten years, and it was make it or break it time. If it hadn’t sold, I was planning to go back to graduate school and pursue a career in psychology. The fact that it did sell, and in quite a nice deal, was a staggering relief. Making the New York Times Bestseller list, which first happened with Kushiel’s Avatar, was awesome, but it doesn’t compare with the sheer joy of that first big sale and the realization that maybe, just maybe, I was going to be able to spend my life doing what I loved best.

Q7. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

You know, I’m not sure! Whatever it would be, past-tense me would probably ignore it. I have a stubborn, independent streak, and a tendency to have to learn the hard way, by making my own mistakes. Obviously, that’s not the most desireable of qualities, but it’s a reality. So maybe I’d just pat my past-tense self on the head, and tell me to enjoy my youthful metabolism while it lasts.

Q8. When you are not writing, what do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

I love to travel, and I feel as though there’s so much of the world I haven’t seen yet. Eating and drinking; hence the regret for not appreciating the metabolism of my younger days! I enjoy cooking, which is a visceral creative process so different from writing. Books, music, art, movies, guilty TV pleasures. Spending time conversing with good friends, preferably over a nice bottle of wine. On a rare summer day, going for a barefoot run along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Q9. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks to all my wonderful, diverse readers who have done so much to promote the books by word of mouth!

It has been wonderful having you as a guest, sharing your time and thoughts. And most of all thank you for writing two new fabulous books.

You can visit Jacqueline Carey's website here or visit her on Facebook.

There is still time to enter the Naamah's Kiss "Kissing Contest" for 3 copies of the book. Two winners will be drawn tomorrow (June 18) and a a final draw for the last copy on Thursday June 25. Entry details can be found here.


  1. Hi Doug!

    Wonderful interview, I always like to know how an author writes, what bring the story to life for them. The process they go through to create what we, the reader, see as an endless tale is actual work as well art.

    Dottie :)

  2. Enjoyed the interview. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

  3. Jacqueline Carey is one of my favorite authors. I can't wait to read her latest two novels. Loved the interview.

  4. Thanks for the interview, sounds like another good read!

  5. I love the term 'process of creative Darwinism'! So evocative - and much more benign-sounding than, say, 'social Darwinism'.

    I have not yet read this author but am intrigued by the description of this book.

  6. Hi Doug:

    I hope this doesn't repeat post - apologies if it does - traveling this week so hotel internet is sometimes wonky.

    I love Carey's work. A stranger I met in a book store recommended her work to me and while initially I was a little reluctant, I now understand my new friend's enthusiasm. Carey is brilliant and I can only imagine where she'll take us readers next. I can hardly wait. Thank you for the excellent interview!

  7. Thanks Dottie. Jacqueline takes her craft very seriously but obviously truly loves what she does. It show on every page.

    Jory you should love it. I like romance with my fantasy and Jacqueline delivers.

    tetwa it is. If you have never read anything by Jacqueline Carey this is a great book to start.

    M that is a great phrase isn't. Gives the old muse a rest.

    Cybercliper you are dedicated checking in while on the road! Which Carey books have you read? This book isn't out yet and I already am eager for the next.

  8. Ahhh, it's the little things while on the road that keep me sane. I've only read the first two of the Kushiel series (Dart and Chosen) but have Avatar and Scion sitting on ye old TBR pile. There’s a couple more I have to get, but I’ll track them down when I get closer. I won Naamah's Kiss from your blog a week or so ago. My TBR pile is getting to be a monster – and wipe that smirk off your face – you know you and your blog have been steadily feeding the monster!!! And I love it!!

  9. Bwuahaha! So my master plan of conquering the universe one book at a time is working Cybercliper. I wish I had several unread Carey's sitting on my TBR pile...sigh.


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