Epic fantasist Carey launches a contemporary series with [embeded attachment not found], in which half-demon Daisy Johanssen must resist her yearning for the “Seven Deadlies” while investigating a suspicious death in a small Michigan town where humans and supernatural entities live side by side.
What has it been like for you to explore this new genre, and how would you describe it—supernatural mystery? Suburban fantasy?
It’s hard to decide what to call it. I’ll take a page from PW’s review and simply go with contemporary fantasy. After having written epic fantasy, historical fantasy, and postapocalyptic SF, working in a wholly contemporary setting was a big departure for me.
How does your humorous approach intersect with telling a serious story?
I describe it as a blend of whimsy, wonder, and creepiness. I love storytelling that combines disparate elements, and that includes taking a humorous approach to dark themes. It’s a balancing act, and if it’s done poorly it can be jarring, but if it works, it can give us a new perspective on familiar territory.
What do you think makes for a strong female protagonist?
When I consider my own pantheon of female protagonists, it comes down to not giving up. Whether the conflict is external or internal—in Daisy’s case, she struggles with the temptation that’s part of her demonic birthright—they keep fighting, refusing to surrender to despair, refusing to accept the role of victim.
Which of the nonhumans in Dark Currents do you feel the most affinity for?
I’m fond of my ghouls, or Outcast, as they call themselves. No surprise, since they’re my own personal contribution to the canon. Viewed through one prism, they’re disturbing emotional vampires; through another, tragic figures. In terms of individual characters, I love Lurine the lamia, whose physical depiction was inspired by John Keats’s poem “Lamia.” I didn’t have the opportunity to delve deeply into the mindset of my vampires—the bloodsucking variety—in this book, but I hope to explore it more in subsequent volumes.
One of the major themes in Dark Currents is the tension between characters’ essential natures and their choices about how to interact with the world. What made you pursue this as the core eldritch existential crisis?
Clearly, I’m drawn to characters with inner conflicts. For me, inner conflicts make for more complex characters, and a richer, more rewarding read—even in a book with a relatively lighthearted tone like this one. Based on past correspondence with readers, I know that they do draw strength and inspiration from fictional characters. We may not have demon fathers dangling offers of infernal power before us, but everyone understands what it means to struggle with temptation, or resist the urge to give in to our baser natures.