Message From The Author
From TORs Women in Fantasy series comes a brand-new beautifully rendered romantic epic. Jacqueline Careys debut novel, KUSHIEL'S DART, has been acclaimed by authors and fans alike as powerful and sophisticated, with exquisite characterization and intricate plotting. Carey spins the tale of an incredible heroine who, with the help of a warrior-priest who pledges her his love and allegiance, must save her world from destruction. Now, get an exclusive glimpse into the world of rising star Jacqueline Carey and KUSHIELS DART.
Q: How did your writing career begin and what inspired KUSHIELS DART?
When I was in high school, I kept a novel the way other girls kept diaries! It went through several generations of characters and was quite awfulbut I persevered. After college, I spent about 10 years honing my skills writing and publishing short stories, essays and nonfiction, all the while plotting to develop a vast, gorgeous epic filled with romance, intrigue and danger. KUSHIELS DART is that book.
Oddly, it was the setting itself which came first, but I was compelled by the idea of the fictitious country of Terre dAnge, luxurious, sophisticated and decadent, existing in medieval Europe. The story itself crystallized around my heroine, Phhdre. As a courtesan and a spy, shes uniquely suited to make the most of the dramatic potential of this exotic setting.
Q: What elements, time periods, mythologies, etc. came into play when you were creating the world KUSHIELS DART is set in?
Foremost among them is a mythos I created drawing on Judeo-Christian tradition: Blessed Elua, a wandering deity who was conceived in the womb of Earth of the commingled blood of Yeshua ben Yosef, or Jesus, and the tears of Mary Magdalene. The eight angels who abandon Heaven to become his Companionsof whom Kushiel is onedo so out of love, not rebellion. On mortal soil, they become enamoured of the pleasures of mortality; hence, the nation of Terre dAnge is begotten.
Terre dAnge is based on a version of medieval Provence, around 1200 AD as Phhdres story unfolds. However, this is a world in which a great many fantastic What ifs have occurred! The sophisticated DAngeline society has a Renaissance sensibility; in other cultures, an early medieval awareness prevails, and still others owe a debt to classical antiquity. Thats the joy of writing historical fantasy: All of history is fair game.
Q: Your heroine Phhdre sounds very unique. What attributes define her character?
Although shes drawn to danger and the darker side of desire, theres a tremendous amount of hope and optimism in Phhdre. Most heroines in fantasy triumph by virtue of wondrous gifts of magic or martial skills. Not Phhdre. All she has is her wits, a facility for language, and the capacity to never, ever surrender to despair.
Oh, and one surly, handsome Cassiline Brother, who does wield a mean blade.
Q: There seems to be a strong love story between Phhdre and Joscelin at the foundation of the story. How did you strike a balance between the romance and fantasy elements? Was it difficult to interweave the many different threads?
For me, these elements are two sides of the same coin. High fantasy should resonate with all the passion of a romance, and a great romance should have the sweeping scope of an epic. I envisioned the story as a seamless whole, and the course of Phhdre and Joscelins relationship follows the path of the story, with all its attendant challenges and obstacles.
Of course, their story doesnt end with KUSHIELS DART. There are two sequels in the works. While each book stands alone, the trilogy forms an overall story arc and Phhdre and Joscelins love is the crux on which everything turns.
For more information on KUSHIEL'S DART and to read an excerpt, visit www.jacquelinecarey.com.
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