INTERVIEW WITH LOUISE CAREY
I might be a little bit excited today!
No, I am not, I am....
Welcome to Fantasy Book Nerd. It's a real pleasure to have you on the site. (Please excuse me while I take five fanboy rescue breaths - it's Louise Carey everyone!)
Thank you so much for having me!
So, I have just finished Downfall (in fact , I read the whole trilogy back to back) and flippin heck, I needed to take a breather after that. Now, I have questions - a full interviews worth actually!
However the main question I have is ………
How does it feel to have finished the third book in this series?
…Strange! I’ve been working on the Inscape trilogy, in one form or another, since 2015 – the world and its characters have been living in my head for seven years, so writing the last sentence of book three felt pretty momentous. At the start of the process, I wasn’t sure I could write one solo novel, let alone three, and there were many points along the way when I doubted I’d be able to finish the series. So I’m relieved to have managed it, first and foremost!
This year, you released Outcast, and it doesn't seem long away that Downfall is out on 12th January next year. What can we expect from the daring duo of Tanta & Cole in the final book. Will ther be lots of battling the Intech Corporation?
Not long at all now! In Downfall, Tanta and Cole will face some of their hardest challenges yet, both physical and emotional. Their insurrection against InTech will put Tanta on a collision course with Reet, her ex-girlfriend – and Cole is battling not just the corporation, but also his own demons. They won’t be facing these trials alone, though: with the addition of former wasteland bandit Fliss and rogue InTech agent Yasmin Das, their duo has grown into a fully-fledged crew. Yas and Fliss share Tanta and Cole’s aims (more or less) and have their backs, but taking on the corporation that has dominated their lives for so long is going to take them to some surprising places, and test them all in ways they didn’t expect.
So, you have written a number of books, like Confessions of a Blabbermouth, The City of Silk & Steel, The House of War & Witness etc. How do you feel that you have grown as a writer?
I’d say I’m much more confident writing solo than I was at the start of my career. Unusually enough, all of my early novels were co-written, so my first experiences of writing professionally were as part of a team. I loved doing that, but it did mean that Inscape was the first novel I had ever planned, written and edited from start to finish as a solo writer. That was a difficult learning process for me – I was used to always having people to bounce ideas off and discuss things with, and had to adapt to managing those processes by myself more. Three books in, I’m more comfortable with that.
Your book City of Silk & Steel was a collaboration between the Carey family as a whole, is there anyone alive (or dead) that you would like to collaborate with in the future.
Writing both City and House with my parents was an amazing experience, and I’d actually love to do that again! Those novels were written by the three of us rather than the whole Carey crew, so I would also love to add my two brothers, David and Ben, and my partner, Camden, into that mix. A novel co-written by six people would be chaos, but beautiful chaos, I think!
Outside of the circle of my immediate family, I’d have to say Diana Wynne Jones, who was a childhood idol of mine for her Chrestomanci series.
Confessions of a Blabbermouth was a graphic novel, do you think the Inscape trilogy might ever get ported over (If anyone's listening I would buy that!)
I would love that!! I’d be really up for writing it, too – though I co-wrote Confessions of a Blabbermouth way back in the mists of 2007, so my graphic novel writing skills are probably a little rusty!
With the use of AR technicology, you tapped into latent fears that technology isn't necessarily good for us. If you were fitted with one of the chips that you portray, what do you think would be the good and the bad of the technology.
Hmm, that’s a good question! I think the good of the technology in the Inscape trilogy (and much of the contemporary tech that I was riffing on in the novels) is that it’s overwhelmingly convenient. Everything is so much quicker and easier with a smartphone than it was back in the days of dial-up connections and CD-ROMs. When you have a powerful computer in the palm of your hand, many everyday tasks—getting from A to B, ordering food, conducting research, watching a movie—become trivially easy, frictionless processes. If our smartphones evolved into chips in our heads that could intuit our desires from our thoughts, those processes would become easier still. The bad, I suppose, is what we’re giving up in return for that frictionless convenience—our attention spans, our ability to switch off, control over our personal data—and the entrenched class inequalities and social divides that are widened even further by who has access to the technology, and who doesn’t.
Looking at your back catalogue, you have written books in a number of different genres and styles (including flash poetry) which would you like to write in next. I mean do you have an overarching urge to write a horror bodice ripper or anything like that?
Not currently, haha – though you might give me ideas! I’d love to return to fantasy, actually. I’ve not written anything with a hard magic system yet, so that’s something I’d be interested in doing. I’m also a huge fan of folk horror, though again, I’ve never written any myself—it’s a genre I’d love to dip my toes into as a writer.
What books do you like reading (when you aren't busy writing of course). Do you have any particular favourites?
So many! I probably read more fantasy and horror than I do sci-fi, but I recently finished Natasha Pulley’s historical science fiction duo, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, both of which I’d highly recommend.
If you had a choice of taking Tanta or Cole out on a slap up dinner of Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas, who would you invite and why?
Haha, I love this question. I hate to say it (because I love all of my characters equally!) but it’d have to be Cole. He has a sense of humour and would be a better conversationalist. Tanta has many excellent qualities, but she’s not known for her easy-going attitude or sense of fun! I imagine she’d be thinking about work the whole time.
Besides writing you also have the blog Tabletop Tales about D&D etc. Do you still get time to play tabletop games? What is your favourite? (Got to say, I could definitely see the Inscape world working as a TTRPG)
Not as much as I used to! But I still make time for regular family D&D (5th edition) sessions with my parents, brothers and partner. We’re playing the Curse of Strahd campaign at the moment, which is a gothic horror-themed game about a vampire lord. It’s tons of fun. I’m the dungeon master, and in a family of writers, as I’m sure you can imagine, I get to see a lot of fantastic roleplaying and great character development! My partner’s the real expert on TTRPGs and he’s often said that he’d love to develop an Inscape game, so who knows! Maybe one of these days we’ll make it happen :D
When you aren't writing, how do you relax? Are you a gamer, what TV shows are you watching at the moment?
I read, I play games of all varieties (board, video, tabletop), and I watch a lot of TV! Game-wise, I’m currently playing Hades, which I’m enjoying immensely despite being quite bad at! In terms of shows, I’ve recently finished Severance, which blew the roof off the top of my head. If you liked Inscape, you HAVE to watch it. I’m also working my way through all the old Star Treks—I’m currently on Deep Space Nine. They’re good comfort TV.
So, as the Inscape trilogy finishes, what next?
Good question! I recently wrote a novella for PS Publishing, A Candle for Malka, which came out in December. It’s a cosmic horror story about climate change, Judaism and the bond between siblings. It’s very different from Inscape, and I’m really proud of it. After that, well… I’m working on another climate-change inflected science fantasy novel at the moment—more news about that to come, I hope!
And my final question. At the end of Downfall there is the statement 'End of book 3'. Will there be more in this series or is this the last mission for Tanta & Cole?
I’d love to write another novel set in the world of Inscape, and I do have some ideas(!) but it won’t be about Tanta and Cole—I’m satisfied with where I left them. One of the things I enjoyed the most about writing book three was expanding the supporting cast. I had a lot of fun with Fliss and Yas in particular, and now that the trilogy is over, I have some plans for what they’ll do next that I’m quite excited about…
Well, that's it folks! Thank you for tuning into Fantasy Book Nerd for the first interview of the year
Downfall by Louise Carey
is out today
Published by Gollancz