This week's author is fantasy writer Jacqueline Carey. Her Kushiel series has won several awards since the first one debuted in 2001.
For more on Carey, visit her website.
WN: Your latest book, "Kushiel's Justice" came out this summer. When youstarted the first one, did you expect it to grow into a series like this?
CAREY: At the very beginning, no. By the time I finished, I sensed the possibility and left the door open. I took a break to let the creative wells refill, and behold! The overall series arc took shape in my mind.
WN: The world you've created for the Kushiel series is quite complex anddetailed. How did you go about your world building, and how do you keepit all organized now?
CAREY: Research, research, research! Some elements are pure fabrication, but because I’m writing alternate historical fantasy, most of the cultures, mythologies and geographies are based on real-world analogues. I’m always on the lookout for those little details that breathe life into a scene. I’d love to say I have an efficient system for keeping it all organized, but in truth, it’s all stored in my mind... which is a very crowded place.
WN: What's your writing process like?
CAREY: Once I have the basic framework and itinerary of a plot in mind, I do a lot of research up front. After I begin writing, I research on the fly as questions like “What’s the saline content of an iceberg?” arise. When I’m immersed in a project, I write for 3-4 hours a day. I’m an edit-as-you-go writer. Every day begins with polishing the previous day’s writing, and I can’t move forward until it’s as smooth as I can make it. No skipping ahead for me, ever!
WN: Were you a reader as a kid... what turned you on to reading/writingbooks?
CAREY: Yes, I’m a lifelong reader. I suspect that would have been true no matter what, but I also credit my mother for reading extensively to my brothers and me. The last book she read aloud to us was “Watership Down,” which took a long time. As soon as she finished, she handed it to me so I could reread it for myself. Don’t tell my old teachers, but I started writing when I was sixteen and bored in high school! It became an addictive hobby that turned into a genuine calling years later.
WN: What's the best part of being a writer to you? What's the most challenging part of writing for you?
CAREY: For me, the best part is being able to do what I love for a living. There are writers who, as the saying goes, hate writing, but love having written. I love the actual process of writing. Consequentially, the most challenging part is ending a major project. I know I need downtime, but I’m always at a loss. What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you? I always go back to Mary Renault’s “The Persian Boy,” a novel about the latter half of Alexander the Great’s life. I borrowed it from a camp counselor when I was ten years old, and it was the first grown-up novel I’d ever read. It introduced me to the wonder of bringing to life a world that no longer was, populated with gods and heroes and villains. That led me to one day create a world that never was, but might have been.