22 August 2007

Author Answers with Jacqueline Carey

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.

No comments: