4 Common Questions on Categorizing the Parasolverse Books

1. How would you describe the Parasol Protectorate series for those who don’t know about it yet?

Imagine Jane Austen dabbling in science and steam technology. Then imagine P.G. Wodehouse suddenly dropped vampires into the Drones Club. The Parasol Protectorate books are the resulting progeny. They begin with a soulless spinster confronting Queen Victoria’s grumpy werewolf investigator over the issue of lisping vampires and go on from there.

BC New Front Glossy Business Card Gail Carriger Pink

2. How about the Finishing School series?

The Finishing School series is set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, only 25 years earlier, and features a finishing academy located in a giant caterpillar-like dirigible floating over Dartmoor in which young ladies are taught to . . . finish . . . everything . . . and everyone . . . as needed. There is steampunk etiquette! There is well-dressed espionage! There is Victorian fake food. There is a flying mechanical sausage dog named Bumbersnoot.

Here is the official industry press release about Gail expanding her world.

The first book, Etiquette & Espionage, was a New York Times bestseller and garnered star reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly.

Etiquette Espionage Print Accolades praise Finishing School Gail Carriger Promo

These books feature a marauding team of outrageous miscreants in a high-tech dirigible charging about fixing things; loudly and mainly with tea. This series explores the wider ramifications of my steampunk British Empire, not just how technology has shifted but how vampires and werewolves have evolved differently in other parts of the world. The first book, Prudence, begins several decades after the Alexia books.

3. And the Custard Protocol series?

4. What genre are your peculiar books?

The Parasol Protectorate books are usually filed under Science Fiction/Fantasy, although some stores put them into Romance and a few have even stuck them in the Horror section.

The Finishing School books can usually be found with other Young Adult books.

The Custard Protocol occasionally and incorrectly goes in with YA (at best it’s New Adult) but should be in the same are as the Parasol Protectorate.

I consider my books a mix of steampunk and urban fantasy. I like Carrie Vaughn’s term “urbane fantasy” which nicely incorporates both sub-genres. There’s also the delightful term “teapunk.” There’s certainly enough tea in my books for that. I tend to gently spoof Gothic classics, so there is also a large dose of comedy in my books – giggling readers are good.

Audio interview about the Parasol Protectorate books with Rick Kleffel of The Agony Column at SF in SF.

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .


1896-1903 handle by Fabergé,  The Victoria & Albert Museum1

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Quirky Victorian Term explained:

Hemp “A useful plant, resembling the common nettle; which is sewn in april, and, like flax, will flourish best in rich ground: the outward covering, or peeling of the stalk, is the part made into cloth and cordage. What is Tow? The refuse of hemp after it has been dressed; this thick gross part, when separated from the stem, is frequently spun into a kind of yarn, of which packing-cloths are made: it is useful in stopping the effusions of blood, and in lighting matches for canon.”

~ Mangnall’s Questions, 1830

Quote of the Day:

“The personality of a house is indefinable, but there never lived a lady of great cultivation and charm whose home, whether a palace, a farm-cottage, of a tiny apartment, did not reflect the charm of its owner.”

~ Emily Post

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Anne D said:

    "I consider my books a mix of steampunk and urban fantasy. "

    Yes, that's a good description (and you should know). I generally babble about werewolves and vampires and steampunk, oh my! when recommending them. Depends on the audience, I guess. As I recall, I got my Aged Mum hooked by telling her they had the sort of tone she liked in the Amelia Peabody books, if Emerson was a werewolf. I know I didn't really do your work justice, but it worked; I had to buy her her own set of books so I could have mine back.

  2. kitgibbs said:

    Teapunk sounds good! you know, when I read "teapunk" an octopussy-like teapot with the peculiar punk hairdo just materialized in my mind…

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