The fantasy author talks about writing characters who have flaws—just like the men and women found in the Bible.
Patrick W. Carr is an acclaimed fantasy author who has won the Carol Award, the Clive Staples Award, and the INSPY Award. He concludes his epic Darkwater Saga with The Wounded Shadow (Bethany House): The final battle over the Darkwater has begun—will anything be able to stop the evil sweeping across the north? In this interview, Patrick explains why he chose to mash-up genres, the hardest part of wrapping up the saga, and his surprising choices for the series most valuable players…
The Wounded Shadow is the final book in The Darkwater Saga. What’s the overarching story or theme for the series?
“What if the clues to a crime that would change your entire world were hidden in your mind?” Building a world with believable complexity is always a challenge, especially when I’m trying to connect it in meaningful ways to our own.
For a long time I’ve had this idea floating around in my head that at some level most of us are walking around with some preconceived notions about each other and the universe that are way off base. That idea became the germ of my character’s overarching story in The Darkwater Saga.
Willet Dura, like many men who survived the war, is mentally and emotionally scarred by the experience. Except, with Willet, it goes a bit deeper. He’s not only scarred, his mind is broken in a fundamental way. What makes this so delicious to write is that he knows it.
Every time he tries to remember the last days of the war and how he came to be the only man alive to spend a night in the Darkwater Forest and come out alive and mostly sane, he can’t. He remembers it differently every time.
Here we have a main character who knows his memories are fractured in a fundamental way, and he’s powerless to do anything about it. But the central problem of the series is, he has to get to the truth of those memories or all is lost.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about The Wounded Shadow?
This book is the fourth and concluding book in The Darkwater Series. The major plot threads that were begun and expanded in the earlier books are tied up here along with some story threads that might have seemed inconsequential at the time—even from the novella.
We finally get an answer to the question of what makes the Darkwater Forest evil and how is that evil transmitted. One of the fun things about this last book is that Bolt gets a little more screen time and we learn more about his past.
The series is very sequential, meaning that the reader really, REALLY, needs to read them in order.
- By Divine Right (free e-book download)
- The Shock of Night (Inspy Award Winner)
- The Shattered Vigil (also Inspy Award Winner)
- The Wounded Shadow
At the beginning, Willet Dura is introduced as a kind of detective investigating a murder. How did he change over the course of the series?
He’s still a detective at heart. Each of the books presents Willet with a murder, or series of murders, that need to be solved. However, as Willet’s power and influence have grown, so has his need to depend on others. By the time we get to The Wounded Shadow, the stakes are so high—literally the entire world is at stake—that he can no longer afford to play the lone wolf. He has to enlist the aid of others, and, as many people have noticed, while Willet has a great heart and a very strong moral compass, he’s not good with people.
Want to know what inspired Patrick to cross a mystery with epic fantasy? Click through to find out…