Why Did Gail Carriger Switch to Writing YA & More

Today, with the release less than a week away, here are some more philosophical frequent questions I am getting regarding Etiquette & Espionage . . .

Etiquette Finishing School Gail Carriger Shirt Team Soap

1. Why did you decide to write a YA series?

I adore YA. Since I picked up Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce I’ve been hooked. It’s still my favorite genre to read and I’ve always hoped to be able to write it. There’s something so breezy and tidy about the best YA novels. I find them comfortably immersive…and I can finish one in the space of an afternoon!

2. Why keep the Finishing School series in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate?

I felt there was more about the universe I wanted to explore. More about the way the Victorians accepted or reviled the supernatural creatures and their Steampunk technology. More about class structure and the etiquette of social interaction. More about what this environment was like for a normal, daylight girl. I’ve always admired writers like Mercedes Lackey who create a universe and then play with multiple books, various characters, and different time settings.

3. What’s the biggest aesthetic difference?

Etiquette & Espionage is set in 1851, while Soulless takes place in 1873. Aside from different kinds to steampunk technology and a much diminished presence of dirigibles (and more frequent use of hot air balloons) the clothing style is different. Alexia wears drape layers and bustle dresses, curiasse bodices, and perch hats. Sophronia wears large poofy skirts held out by multiple petticoats, often horsehair (crinoline had yet to be invented), the occasional Swiss waist, and classic broad brim bonnets. Alexia wields her parasol with untrained verve, while Sophronia carries about her person multiple small useful devices and weapons her first objective being to keep both hands free for nefarious purposes (or possibly porpoises).

4. How did you approach a younger audience?

I worked to create a more youthful and accessible voice and characters who would grow and change with the books. Sophronia has a different world view than Alexia. She’s private and introverted and must become more self actualized along the way by making new friends and discoveries. Her focus is on her immediate environment, less political, more personal.

5. Will we recognize any characters in Etiquette & Espionage?

Absolutely! One of the wonderful things about writing with immortals is they are immortal. Even though this series is set 22 years before Soulless there are plenty of familiar faces, although perhaps not immediately recognizable. There are also many lovable newcomers. In addition, I hope fans will have fun theorizing on how and why the technology is so different between the two time periods. Many steampunk details mentioned only in passing during Alexia’s journey will be explained through Sophronia’s adventures.

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Quote of the Day:

“Six Ways of Wasting Time to be Guarded Against
1. Indefinite musings
2. Anticipating needlessly
3. Excessive speculation
4. Indulgence in reluctance to begin a duty
5. In doubtful cases, not deciding at once
6. Musing on what has been said or done, or what may be.”

~ Adapted from Schott’s Quintessential Miscellany (Indispensable Irrelevance)

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