Upon the 4th Birthday of Soulless

October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market.

A very nervous debut author hummed and hawed over her offering. Would anyone actually like it? It was such an odd mash up of paranormal, steampunk, and comedy – who would enjoy such a ridiculous story? Were there readers out there irreverent enough to want whimsy?


Well, Soulless turns four years old today. The silly little book that I thought would find a home in only a very few people’s hearts seems to have miraculously wormed its way out into the world and touched many.

FrenchSoullessPaperback copy JapeneseSoullessCover

Soulless has now sold into 13 different territories for translation. There’s a graphic novel manga version of the first three books (which itself is due for translation into German and French) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, fan art, pumpkin carving, tattoos, cosplay, several tea parties, audio books, and an iPhone app. There is even a fan site.

SoullessAUDIO SoullessFinalCover copy

Little did I know how much that one book would so utterly change my life.

In these last four years:

  • After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  • I gave up teaching archeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  • Basically, I switched careers.
  • I relocated three times.
  • I visited 8 foreign countries promoting the books, 6 of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  • I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  • I watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  • I went to conventions and signings all over the world in various different capacities and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  • I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  • I wrote 8 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, Crudrat, and 3 Finishing School books.
  • And, best of all, I got to meet my readers: some here on the blog, some on twitter, some on Facebook, some in person ~ all of you so warm and fun and strong and smart.
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Series Review

There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled tough times in social media, and made more than my share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to the writing. Did the book make you smile? Then I did my job.


So, thank you so very much, Gentle Reader, and if you have the time or inclination please raise up a teacup in honor of Soulless, who’s original secret code name, at the dawn of this blog, was “The Little Paranormal That Could.” I guess Soulless could and did.

And if you put a spot of amaretto in your tea, well, I won’t tell.

Thanks for four glorious years.

P.S. If you’d like to leave a comment about how you first met Soulless, I’d love to read it.  Four years later and I am still startled anyone found my book and actually read it.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Donna in the original cover image.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Cover That Wasn’t

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
7 Ways to Get to Know Your Character (I like to give mine quizzes out of glossy magazines)

Book News:
I participate in a Mind Meld about my favorite and most influential YA author.

Quote of the Day:
“Books are immortal sons deifying their sires.”
~ Plato


Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Heather Button said:

    Has it only been 4 years? I started collecting twitter accounts of publishers when I started seriously putting my own words into print. I stumbled on a tweet by Orbit books about their interview with you as the author. I loved your interview so much, I bought the book right away. I have never looked back, and enjoyed every single word. I love the humour mixed with the paranormal and steampunk, and I'm glad so many enjoy your books. I know I've recommended them to anyone who will listen, and a few who won't. Congratulations!

  2. Morgan said:

    Three of my friends had read Soulless and the whole series (well, they were waiting for Timeless!) and told me how fantastic it was! It was my first foray into steampunk and I'm so glad I read it! I immediately went out to buy the next three books and only had to wait a couple months for Timeless. You could say I had good timing 😉 I adore the mashup of genres and the characters; Soulless is one of the most imaginative, fun, and well-written books I've ever read! It also made me want to drink tea. Love it.

  3. Christen said:

    My local library had your book on display as a New Author and I was curious about the lady with the parasol. I ended up buying the series. Thank you!

  4. Theophanie21 said:

    I was searching in Barnes and Noble for some historical fiction during the Victorian Era, and I stumbled across Soulless. These books were my doorway into the world of steampunk, and I fell in love irrevocably. I have been inspired to try writing again and even trying out steampunk flavored short stories. Thank-you so much for releasing your first child into the world, and also its four siblings and cousins! 🙂

  5. Anne D said:

    A friend lent me a pile of books a couple of years ago; one of them was Soulless. I fell in love with it, and went looking for more. The rest is, as they say, history.

    Happy Birthday, little Paranormal that could, and did!

  6. Anonymous said:

    I was wandering Barnes and Noble when the awesome cover art caught my eye and I bought the book because it was different from anything I had read to that point. The story was the best pick-me-up I could have at the time as I was unemployed and badly depressed about it. You are one of the favorite authors that I found as an adult. Soulless and her sisters are all in the top twenty of my re-read list.

  7. Jessica said:

    A former co-worker knew that I did not like books about vampires…she brought me Soulless and said "try this one, it is funny and different."
    I did and fell in love!

  8. Skye said:

    I discovered Soulless through the major pre-release advertising campaign that ran in Yen Plus magazine. I was reading a lot of adult paperbacks at the time, and after months of ads I decided to give it a try when it released. And I am so very glad I did!

    *raises teacup* Happy Birthday, Soulless! I exalt the day you were introduced into society, as you brought such an amazing and talented author with you. <3

  9. Kendra Young said:

    My husband's employment required us to relocate all the way across the country – to just north of rainy Seattle. I went from having a full career to staying at home – with my closest friends and family over two thousand miles away. I was lonely and depressed from all the rain and in the span of 6 months I almost read the entire fiction section at the local Lake Stevens Library (Lake Stevens is rather tiny, so while that's true it's not nearly as impressive as it sounds). Your book was one of the few I hadn't perused. I picked it up and was immediately hooked by your voice. The second book was checked out, so I gave up and drove to the Seattle Barnes and Noble rather than wait. I now own the entire set and an autographed copy of the graphic novel. I'm not sure how you feel about it, but I'm quite pleased with your career change. Thank you for making me smile and laugh out loud during a time when my daily goal was not to cry in front of my husband and daughter!

  10. Rina Kim said:

    Actually I only got to know this great series. I'm still reading it but every book seems to b better and more interesting. I just wish I knew about this book before.

    I wish I could celbrate those 4 years but luckily, one day I'll be able to celebrate 4 years of Eiquette and Espionage. I really wish for it.

    My story? I just needed a new,interesting and not too long book and not too complicated. Perfect for reading in between my shifts. My friend gave me Souless and well, I read it in one go. I haven't actually been so into any fantasy book since Harry Potter.

    Thank you for awaking the craving for reading again!
    And happy anniversary! Wishing you many more books to celebrate such birthdays! ^^

  11. Anonymous said:

    I found out about "Soulles" through a good friend from the Uni. She found the cover blurb fascinating. I later told here there are more partys, which both of us were happy about. "Soulless" is one of the few books I read pretty much in one go. It was that difficult to put aside. My sister later gave me "Soulless" in English for my birthday. Both of us, along with a number of our friends, greatly enjoy the series. Thank you for putting many smiles on our faces. I wish you many happy anniversaries. Cheers!

  12. Anonymous said:

    I picked it up because it had an octopus on the spine (seriously) then got the bonus of vampires, werewolves and tea. The whole series are my rainy day reads. Thankfully in UK, we have a lot of rainy days 🙂 thank you, Emma

  13. Jessica said:

    I saw it in the bookstore, and at first thought "That is just too silly. I am trying to be a Serious Adult, I don't think such silliness has a place in my life right now…." Then, months later, during my final exams, I realised I no longer wanted to be a Serious Adult. I went to the bookstore, and it was gone. I was very sad. I returned home, and ordered it from the internet. Then came some terrible waiting. When it finally came I read it in the park, on a sunshiney day, and could. not. stop. grinning! I felt very ashamed of my three-months-younger-self. I also blushed, at certain scenes, because I was in public. I went home and ordered the next one immediately. Thank you, Ms. Carriger, for a book, indeed a series, which I shall treasure, and thrust upon friends and family, for many years to come. Well done you.

  14. Anonymous said:

    First noticed ' Soulless' as it was a staff recommendation in a south bay area independent book store! – Iris, CA

  15. Anonymous said:

    Bought it after reading your author blurb. The wittiness sold me! – Iris, CA

  16. Anonymous said:

    Someone in my Uni (mums) facebook group posted a photo of having purchased Etiquette and Espionage which started a discussion on steampunk (of which I had never heard). I read the first chapter of Soulless online and then ordered all 5 in paperback. Did soulless (and the others) make me smile? Yes and laugh and worry and triumph and love. So thank you. – Becki, Australia

  17. GiggirlNY said:

    Well, dear Ms. Carriger, I have to admit you had me at "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening." And when I next read "To put the pudding in the puff" I knew that I was in for a textured read that would get me in all the right spots… literary, culinary and all things sensual.
    How I first heard of you was not unlike an archaeological expedition; new to the world of Steampunk, I did research into who had written books that were highly regarded by visiting book sites such as Goodreads and scouring through many comments on sites such as The Steampunk Empire. Your name, Gail Carriger, was inevitably at the top of any Best of Steampunk Fiction list. And after visually devouring all of the Parasol Protectorate novels, I am convinced that this is an honor well deserved.
    Thank you for adding joy and adventure to my life with your creativity. And thank you for sharing your transfiguration from inquisitive earth scientist to Lady Alexia Tarabotti Maccon of Woolsey!

  18. Cathy said:

    I'd had a horrible day, so I went to my local bookstore (that's since closed-sad) to find something new to read. I saw the cover, picked it up, and was hooked.

  19. April H said:

    A Facebook friend recommended the series in July 2012. It took only the first pages to hook me completely, and upon finishing the first book, I downloaded the rest of the series forthwith! I usually archive books on my nook after finishing, but I don't archive these so they're always accessible. I've added the manga books to my collection as well (couldn't resist a chance to see those outfits — and HATS — rendered in pics) and I'm now enjoying the Finishing School series.

    Thank you for this splendid mix of steampunk, humor, supernatural and proper manners, plus the genius alternate-history explanation of the British Empire that underpins all that well-endowed brilliance. 🙂

  20. Pat D said:

    I bought Soulless after reading a recommendation in the newsletter from Murder by the Book in Houston. I've been reading and collecting your stories ever since.

  21. Tianna Scott said:

    *big smile* One day i had a bit of extra money… so i left work for my lunch break… traveled to Hollywood from Downtown LA and popped into Borders (miss it sooo much). I walked up to a young woman who worked there and explained that i wanted to read something new…. out of my normal and she absolutely RAVED about Soulless. After listening to her for a while… i decided to buy the book… 24 hours later i was rushing back to that Borders and demanding the next book. I wish i could thank her because she has helped me find my new FAVORITE Author… *big smile* I even got to meet her at The Mysterious Galaxy bookstore!

  22. storytimewithbuffy said:

    I saw it on a shelf in Waterstones. I was reading a lot of steampunk at the time (I go through genre phases. It's how I find a lot of good stuff.) and I wasn't sure about it at first because the cover looks a bit girly and it was difficult to tell how heavy it would be on the romance side. (I'm not a huge fan of books that focus on the romantic aspect of a story.) But I took a chance and was so glad I did. It was delightfully silly and I giggled through the whole thing. Then I went out and bought the subsequent books. I had to wait for the last two books to come out because you hadn't written them yet, but I couldn't wait. I reread them every now and again, especially when I need to read something fun.

  23. Sam Coupland said:

    I was in Toronto, visiting the outlaws, where i visited what i am told is a famous SciFi bookshop in the city. The first of the series was the managers choice, up behind the counter and pride of place in the shop and window.

    I bought it there, read it on the aeroplane home and eagerly awaited no2.

  24. Anonymous said:

    I walked into the library at the school I work at together with my class. Not only did everyone of my students choose a book to read, but I did also walk home with a new friend. Soulless was that new friend.

  25. Jennifer said:

    I was identifying fish bones for the lovely Cristie Boone at the archaeology department at UCSC. She knew me as an avid reader and a fan of series fiction in particular, and said "my friend has written this awesome book, you should read it!" She lent it to me, and even though it was my first steampunk experience, soon enough I was giggling and blushing and loving every cleverly put-together scene.. well done Ms. Carringer! Needless to say, I have the whole series and it has been reread 3 times.

  26. Karen C said:

    I have been doing Steampunk costuming for almost 9 years now and have recently been writing more steampunk short stories. I wanted to read some novels in the genre, so I Googled. I found Soulless. A few weeks later a friend of mine recommended it, so I bought it. I loved it and love your writing voice. I have now read the entire series, back to back, and just picked up Etiquette & Espionage today. Thanks for some great entertainment (and some costume ideas!)

  27. BJR70 said:

    I heard about Soulless from a friend and picked it up. I fell in love with it. It made me laugh in public numerous times, and I got to meet Gail at the World Steam Expo in 2012. I still recommend this book to people weekly who are looking for something "different" to read. So far I've had great feedback on it too.

  28. Jess said:

    I heard about Soulless from a blog I follow. I instantly fell in love, bought the rest of the series, and have been eagerly awaiting all of your new releases since. I am so excited to meet you when you come to Seattle next month!!!

  29. Anonymous said:

    I work at a used bookstore and I was shelving paranormal fiction and was intrigued by the phrase "a novel of vampires, werewolves and parasols." I took the book home that night and Alexia and I have been close friends ever since…

  30. JuLee said:

    Saw it on the bookshelf at Third Place Books and thought the cover was very interesting. Then I read the blurb … it got me at "parasols". Fits in with the weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Took it home and read from cover to cover, had to wait till the next book, then the next, and again….
    Never have I been in the position to be reading an author from the very begining of her career. Here's to many long years of enjoyment ahead ….

  31. Anonymous said:


    I found a small trade paperback (at least i think that's what they're called), on the top shelf of a fiction room in my all girls high school library. The cover was interesting, it was in my favourite colour and the blurb sounded original and fascinating. werewolves and steampunk! what else could I ask for?
    so i sat down and read until the bell rang. I could barely put it down.
    I don't think I realised it has sequels until i found your blog, at which point, I started trying to hunt it down in every bookstore I could find.

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