A Scandalous Affair: Jacqueline Carey

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Welcome back to UTC, Jacqueline! We’ve been intrigued by your Kushiel’s Legacy series for years and we are so happy we finally took that huge plunge and started reading. This is such an intricate world and the way you depict it is beautiful!  How did the idea of this series come about?

Thanks for the kind words, and for having me back!  The Kushiel’s Legacy series emerged from a conjunction of different elements.  I wanted to write an epic fantasy with a mature emotional sensibility, vibrant female characters, and lush, lyrical language.  I wanted to tell a story with a vast, sweeping arc, but one that was rife with intrigue.  Research I was doing into angelology for a work-for-hire project inspired the theological framework, and a trip to the south of France, where I fell in love with the landscape and the quality of the light, inspired the setting.

KUSHIEL’S DART tackles some very dark topics. As the creator, how was it getting into the mindset required to write some of these scenes?

From the first spark of inception, the character of Phèdre was who she was – a highly trained, masochistic courtesan-spy.  I put a lot of thought into determining if this was an idea worth doing and if it could be done in a manner that wasn’t exploitative or sensational.  Ultimately, I decided that it could be uniquely subversive to take the elements of eroticism and violence which pervade so much of our popular culture out of the subtext and put them in the foreground.  I did a lot of research into BDSM to ensure that aspect was handled with integrity, which is one of the reasons consensuality is a sacred tenet in D’Angeline culture.

All of that said, there are a few sequences over the course of the series that were definitely challenging to write; I had to go to some pretty dark places, and I was glad to leave them behind.

Phedre is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read in a while.  Raising from adversities and rebounding stronger than she was before.  What would you say is your favorite thing about her?

No matter what happens, Phèdre never gives up.  She refuses to accept the role of victim, and has tremendous resilience and inner strength that see her through betrayal and incredible hardships.  Although her awesome foreign language skills run a close second!

This series also has a companion series called the Naamah Trilogy. Can you tell us a bit about this?

It’s set in the same milieu with a heroine, Moirin, who’s the opposite of Phèdre in many ways – largely untaught, wholly unsophisticated, raised in rustic isolation in Alba.  I wanted to be able to look at Terre d’Ange through fresh eyes, and her character afforded me the opportunity to do so.  She falls in love easily, at times unwisely, and makes mistakes that set her far-flung destiny in motion.  Ultimately, I think the Naamah series has a more adventure-tale, Indiana Jones vibe to it.

If you had to describe KUSHIEL’S DART in 3 words, what would they be?

Opulent.  Epic.  Erotic.

What was your favorite thing about getting this story on paper?

Knowing that the story was fully told, and told well.  This is bittersweet, but my great-aunt Harriett, who was an avid reader and one of my biggest supporters, passed away before the final volume in the original Kushiel trilogy was finished.  At that point, the ending only existed in my head.  One of Aunt Harriett’s last requests was to know how Phèdre’s story ended, and I’m so grateful that that was a gift I was able to share with her; and now that these stories exist outside me.



“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity on me.”

In a kingdom born of angels, Phedre is an anguisette, cursed or blessed to find pleasure in pain. Sold to the Court of Night Blooming Flowers, her fate as a beautiful but anonymous courtesan was sealed. Her bond was purchased by the nobleman Anafiel Delauney, who recognized the scarlet mote in Phedre’s eye as the rare mark of one touched by a powerful deity. Under Delauney’s patronage she is trained in history, politics, language, and the use of body and mind as the ultimate weapon of subterfuge in a dangerous game of courtly intrigue.

Guided into the bed chambers of Terre D’Ange’s most influential nobles, Phedre uncovers a conspiracy against the throne so vast that even her teacher cannot see the whole of it. As her nation is besieged by invading hordes from the north, the most unthinkable threat to her beloved home comes from traitors within. Betrayed and blindsided by her own longings, only Phedre and her trusted bodyguard Josselin are left to cross borders and warring armies in a race to stop the final blow from falling.

Enter a lush world of pleasure houses, ambitious warlords, scheming courtiers, and the harsh justice of blessed deities through the eyes of a heroine like no other. Sprawling and darkly sensual, Jacqueline Carey’sKushiel’s Dart is the start of a truly original fantasy series.


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About Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.

She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a work exchange program. While there, she decided to write professionally. After returning she started her writing career while working at the art center of a local college. After ten years, she discovered success with the publication of her first book in 2001.

Currently, Carey lives in western Michigan and is a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state.



We have three (3) paperback copies of KUSHIEL’S DART up for grabs!



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Great interview! I can’t wait to read this author’s work!


Love Jacqueline!

Kimberly Benyak

I have heard great things about this series! Thanks for the giveaway!

jenna waller

I’ve heard really good things about this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

Deborah K.

The comment you made that resonated with me and made me HAVE to read this is…
“No matter what happens, Phèdre never gives up.”
Those are the characters that I crave…the ones that stay with me long after I finish a book.

Lisa M

Great interview … i have not read this series but I think i should! 🙂


thanks for the awesome interview 🙂 I’ve read such glowing reviews for this author and I’m dying to start this series 🙂 thanks for s haring!




Such an awesome series.


Just today i recommended this to a friend who had finished all of KM Herkes fiction and needed something new to read.

Rae Greco

I have loved this series since I was in high school, and I’ve given friends more copies than I can remember!


I’ve heard great things about this book. I really enjoyed her agent of hel series!


Kushiel’s Dart is my favorite book. I’m so excited that it’s being re-released.

Angela S.

Lovely interview with the author. I’ve only read the first trilogy and it’s interesting to hear about what a different vibe the Moiron trilogy has.

And if I’m allowed a bit of shameless plugging, if you find yourself liking Phedre’s trilogy, I’ve been doing illustrations and artisan crafts inspired by the series here. Old and new fans might enjoy it!:


So glad she could share the ending with her aunt!


Some of my favorite books! Great interview!


I love this series, and was so upset when my copies got water damaged.


I have loved this series for a long time, and I’ve lost more copies than I can count because I’d loan them to a friend and they’d refuse to give them back. Jacqueline Carey is an amazing author.


love these book every one should experience them

Dana Packer

I absolutely love the Kushiel Legacy! Jacqueline is one of my very favorite authors, I admire her so much!It’s great to hear a little about her mindset and what inspired her writing!


LOVE this series! The 6 Kushiel books and the Naamah trilogy count among my favorite books ever!

Naomi Davis

Love the new covers! Beautiful!


these are some of the most epic stories I’ve ever read. both series hooked me right away. getting to hear what and how the author researched and develop the characters is icing on the cake

Ava Dowell

LOVE these books and so glad to see more people appreciating them!


I looooove these books, I always wonder where she came up with such great mythology & back stories. I have read & reread these books too many times to count.


I need copies to give away, rather than lending them, so I can stop tapping my toe while I wait to get my copies back. 🙂


I love this series! I even have my own marque tattooed on my back. Great interview.

Susan Irving

Great interview. I’m a fan of everything Jacqueline Carey writes. I’m so glad she was able to share how Phedre’s story ended with her aunt.


I have read Kushiel’s Dart more than 10 times now, and I love it every time…it’s my all time favorite book! I love this cover rework, and thanks for doing the interview Jacqueline! Always wonderful to hear how my favorite authors get their ideas 🙂

Roberta Brake

I fell in love with this series, which was actually introduced to me by my father, who thought I would enjoy them after he had read them . It was one of the last series he and I talked about before his death. He was interested in the philosophy he found in the books not to mention the alternate history of the world… Earth, but not earth….


This was a great interview. Phedre is one of my favorite women in literature

Ashley D

Absolutely LOVE the Kushiel’s Series! I have read the series over 8 times and my copy of Kushiel’s Dart is falling apart. I would love to have a new copy. Great interview!!


Still my absolute favorite series of all times.


didn’t know this was a series


Great interview. I can’t wait until the new book comes out. The audio versions are awesome as well.


Love Jacqueline Carey and all of her work! Always great to read an interview and really digging the new cover design. Hope this brings even more attention to the books – they deserve it!


Great interview!
This series sounds amazing!!
Thanks for the chance to win!


Totally love the cover, I’m glad to find the interview and learn more about the background. Especially since I’ve been meaning to check the series out.


The new cover is gorgeous. I’ve been reading this series since I was 15, I would love to have the new set. <3


Great interview and fantastic series! I wish you’d discussed Imriel a bit too– hope the trilogy told from his perspective will get covers with him on them next time around!

Diana Doan

Great interview!


One of my favorite series of all time. Actually all 3 are. I re-read them all the time. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t before.


Reminds me of her AMA on reddit a while back. She’s a wonderful author and she’s super active with her fans which is amazing.


It makes me so happy that this is being rereleased. One of my favourite books ever.

Amy R

I’m intrigued by the series description and the covers are gorgeous.

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