Alex Dueben interviewed Mike Carey for the California Literary Review.
The introduction and their first exchange:
Read the full interview.
Mike Carey’s third novel is out in the U.K., but his first has just been released in hardcover in the U.S. The Devil You Know is the story of Felix Castor, a freelance exorcist who happens to be an atheist in a London where the dead have started to rise.
This may be his first novel, but is far from his first published work. Carey is one of the finest writers in comics in addition to being one of the most prolific. This year alone he’s released Crossing Midnight, God Save the Queen, Re-gifters, Faker, Confessions of a Blabbermouth and Voodoo Child, among others. He’s also developing a joint project for Virgin Entertainment and the Sci-Fi Channel.
Mike Carey’s career in comics has been an odd one. His writing career has rested on two series, Lucifer and Hellblazer, both complex, adult works that straddle multiple genres. We sat down to talk about his novel’s American release.
- Where did novel come from?
- I honestly don’t know. It comes from a lot of things that are kicking around in your head at any given time. I’d been thinking about this idea of explaining–you know the idea of the grand unified theory, the theory of everything which sort of explains the relationship between all the fundamental physical forces–I was thinking of a grand unified theory of the afterlife, something that would explain ghosts and demons and werewolves and zombies and vampires and so on, by means of a single mechanism. That was definitely one of the triggers.
- The other one was just Castor himself. I was thinking about, what if an exorcist was like a private dick, a shamus, rather than a priest. So the idea of a noir-ish, Raymond Chandler-ish Exorcist was the other thing and then putting those two together became the basis for the pitch. It happened over quite an extended period of time and was just floating in the back of my mind.