NY Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey is the author of 16 novels, from her 2001 epic fantasy debut Kushiel’s Dart (in the Top 10 of Tor.com’s Best of the Decade poll) to her current urban fantasy series, Agent of Hel, most recently Poison Fruit. She’s the author guest of honor at this weekend’s illogiCon at the Embassy Suites RDU, and along with panels on “Contemporary Culture Influences on Dystopian Futures”, “Diversity and Representation in Genre Fiction”, “Religion and Mythology in Science Fiction and Fantasy”, “Sexuality in Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and “That Which Yields Is Not Always Weak: Feminism and Submission”, and Worldbuilding, she also has a reading (Saturday at 1 pm), and will surely be signing books sometime in the dealer room. I’m looking forward to meeting Carey, and thank her for her time via email for this interview by Sharon Stogner.
Interiew by Sharon Stogner
Q: Hello Jacqueline, and congratulations on being the Illogicon 2015 guest of honor. Have you ever been to our state? If you had the time, where/what would you like to visit most in NC?
Thank you! This is my first visit, and I’m looking forward to exploring the Raleigh-Durham area insofar as time permits. I’ve read that there’s a vibrant food and wine culture, and as a huge foodie, I’ll spend my holidays researching restaurants to put on my wish list.
Q: I saw all the picture of tattoos inspired by your books on your website. How does that feel, knowing people want to wear your words on their bodies…forever?
It’s amazing and humbling to know that the books have struck such a profound chord with so many readers, but I’m also mindful of the fact that it has everything to do with the connection that individual readers have forged with a phrase or a symbol or a character, and nothing to do with me personally. That helps keep it in perspective.
Q: You’ve written epic fantasies such as Kushiel’s Legacy series, Naamah Trilogy, and The Sundering, to name a few. What made you want to write the urban fantasy series Agent of Hel? Were there aspects of writing an urban fantasy vs epic fantasy were you looking forward to?
Urban fantasy just seemed like a lot of fun—and it is! I love the vast scope of epics, but after a while it’s like eating a seven-course meal every day, and I need something fresh and light to cleanse my writer’s palate. That, and the ability to use contemporary cultural references were what I looked forward to the most. When my hell-spawn heroine Daisy calls her friends her Scooby Gang, it’s two layers of metacommentary. Daisy’s referencing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which itself was riffing on Scooby Doo, Where Are You? That kind of thing just tickles me.
Q: When you write something as massive, material wise, as an epic fantasy, do you keep a book bible as you write for reference or do you do the panicked search and find (wishing you had kept that freaking bible this time) for forgotten details?
Definitely the latter, though I have—or at least I used to have—a fairly good memory, so there weren’t too many panicked searches. At this point, though, my head’s a pretty crowded place, and I’ve had to jettison a lot of unimportant stuff. Like, say, most of junior high.
Q: Are you still part of the Mystik Krewe of the Kalamazoo? Do you have a favorite float?
In my heart, I’ll always be a member of the Mystik Krewe, but sadly, the krewe doesn’t really exist anymore. We were a small group who put in a ridiculous amount of work building floats every year. Eventually, it just became too much for some members to handle. My favorite float was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. That was the year that I, as Snow White, accidentally threw a pair of lacy Mardi Gras panties to a pair of young boys. I’ll never forget the look on their faces.
Q: What does 2015 hold for you and your readers? Any secret projects you want to tease us with?
I just delivered a stand-alone novelette, One Hundred Ablutions, to Subterranean Press for inclusion in an upcoming anthology. Beyond that, nothing I’m ready to reveal yet!
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and I look forward to meeting you at Illogicon.
My pleasure! I’m looking forward to it, too.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Sharon Stogner is the co-creator of the quirky multi-media reviews and interviews site I Smell Sheep and a freelance editor though her Devil in the Details Editing Services. A stay at home mom for a 12 year old daughter and an 18 year old daughter (who will be going off to college in 2014) and married for 21 years, she has a BS in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill and a Masters in Microbiology from NCSU. She and her family currently live in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area of NC.