Upon the 7th Birthday of Soulless (Behind the Magic)

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 seven 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.



Soulless has now sold into over a dozen different territories for translation. There has been a graphic novel manga version (which itself is now translated into French, Taiwanese, and German) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, various videos, fan art, several tea parties, audio books, cosplay, and an iPhone app.



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

In these last seven years:

  1. After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  2. I gave up teaching archaeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  3. Basically, I switched careers.
  4. I visited a dozen foreign countries promoting the books, half of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  5. I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  6. I’ve watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  7. I went to conventions and signings all over the world and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  8. I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  9. I wrote 13 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, 1 YA sci-fi, and 4 YA Finishing School books, 2 Custard Protocol books, 2 Parasolverse novellas.
  10. 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.



There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled rough times in social media, and made my fair share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to Soulless and 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.

Thank you all for seven glorious years!



Many of you have been with me all along, and several of you have already posted comments on my similar October 1 posts of the past, for which I thank you.

But if you would like to share your “How I discovered Soulless” story, I would love to read it.

Natalie Girshman says of Soulless: “Intrigue, flirtation, a mysterious order with nefarious intentions and treacle tart ensue. Carriger manages to strike a skillful balance between mystery and romance…”

Of Books and Baily says of Soulless: “The wit and humor of Soulless left me giggling out loud and blushing furiously. The world Carriger creates is meticulously put together much like the Victorian ladies of old. The characters are delightful, charming, and perfectly flawed. You cannot help but adore them.”

Alwaysbooking says of Soulless: “I can’t wait to read the next book.. this book has everything you are looking for romance, steam punk, vampires, werewolves and 19th century language!”

Gunna Blogs went for a vacation to Soulless and said: “I would love a jaunt through Hyde Park along with Alexia and Ivy Hisselpenny, even if she does wear hideous hats.”

Keep Calm with Books and Coffee gives Soulless 5 stars and says: “From the very first pages I found these characters irresistible. Alexia is witty and has some modern ideas but she is still a proper Victorian lady. I loved how Carriger created a strong lady of her time rather than a lady out of time.”

Cannonball Read 8 says: “The plot moved along in a sprightly manner. The characters were quickly sketched and sharply drawn. Carriger assumes that the reader can put together what alternate London would look like. The whole read was a delight.“

Shooting Star Reviews says of Soulless: “The heroine had me laughing out loud several times, and the whole plot line filled with mystery, a dash of romance, also had me devouring the book all in one sitting.”

Book Queen Reviews says: “Gail Carriger is a master at creating this world and incorporating details that are now considered to be “steampunk” in detail.”

Merin says: “It had been a long time since I’d read a book that was such pure and delightful fun. Soulless is exactly that, and I have to say, I definitely think going the audio route made it even more so.”

Catherine Hunt says of Soulless: “I can say without hesitation that I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance books with a supernatural/steampunk basis to them.”

I Read What I Want To says of Soulless: “The author is amazing in her inclusion of LGBT characters to her Victorian society. I love having LGBT characters that are fully realized, nuanced, and important to the story be included, since so many authors either don’t include any LGBT characters, make just a passing mention either them or their LGBT-ness, or have a LGBT character who is there just for representation purposes.”

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 4

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 4

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

20 Handmade Dolls Tell the History of Fashion

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Victorian Fancy Dress Party: Popular Costumes of the Late 19th Century

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Purple Prose

Book News:



Quote of the Day:

“I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

Tags: , ,

Posted by Gail Carriger

24 Responses

  1. Susanne said:

    My sister gave me “Soulless” as a gift. She used to work in a bookshop, and is now reviewing books for an online thing and on her blog and she always has the bestest recommendations.
    I don’t think I would have picked it up on my own but I have since bought all the other books.

    And I gave my almost 14-yo. son “Etiquette and Espionage” to read. He is now on book three and loves it.

  2. Victoria Howard said:

    Your friends and mine, Michael Chase Tipton Butler and John Tipton Butler introduced me to your books! I balked, as I am not into fantasy, but I fell in love with these books, and am so behind on them! Need to catch up! Really enjoy them.

    Keep up the wonderful writings!

    Victoria Howard

  3. Terry Harp said:

    I found Soulless while searching my local library for ebooks for my new Nook. I started reading and loved it. When my son got home I started telling him about it. He laughed and took me into his room and showed me Gail books on his bookshelf. I’ve been hooked ever since. Have met Gaillard twice. And am excited to be seeing her again next week at Gaslight. Our local San Diego Steampunk convention.

  4. Dessa said:

    How I discovered Soulless:

    My roommate at the time was a librarian, and was always bringing books home to read, both for personal pleasure, and to keep up on the newest YA (she’s the teen librarian at our library). Generally, she offers the books to me as well, if I want to read them before they go back.

    Well, one day she brought home this book that she said was historical fiction, romance, and had vampires and werewolves. Now, I don’t do historical fiction, I don’t do romance, and I’m not really interested in vampires and werewolves. So I passed. She kept reading them, I think it was between books 4 and 5 at this point.

    Well, then the manga came out, and she got it. Now, I love manga. Heaven knows I own far too much of it, and read even more. Also, it’s a fast read. A book that might take me all day, a graphic novel would only take an hour, tops.

    So I read the manga.

    Then I asked her if she could get the novels back from the library. I was hooked.

    I now own all 5 Parasol Protectorate, all 4 Finishing School, both Custard Protocol books, and all 3 manga volumes (slightly broke at the moment, can’t afford the print novellas).

    Oh, and my librarian roommate? She’s now my next door neighbor, and still offering me books she checks out. And a couple days ago, she brought me Poison and Protect, which I haven’t gotten to yet. I think today is a perfect day for it.

  5. Holly said:

    You did a book signing/reading at my local library a few years back. I had not heard of you then, but my friend had and she wanted me to go with her. She told me I would like your writing, so I bought Soulless and decided to read it a week before the signing. I devoured it in one night and bought the next three books and read them all in less than a week. Then I reread them. At the last minute, my friend flaked on the library event, but in an extreme (and unusual) act of bravery, I went by myself and won a copy of Etiquette and Espionage at the end of it!

  6. Dana Clemmons said:

    I believe I discovered Soulless about 2 years ago, on a Pintrest listing a friend had shared of best steampunk titles. I listened to all of the Parasol Protectorate during my daily commutes, lunches, etc. The Finishing School series had just begun, so began the familiar wait that all fantasy and Sci-fi readers love to hate. I have now read everything currently published in the Parasolverse, and I am a fan for life. You, dear author, have reached the lofty status of one of my favorites, up there with Terry Pratchett, Robert Heinlein, and Anne McCaffrey. I can give no higher praise.

  7. Jessie Voigts said:

    I first discovered Soulless through my mom. She got the book for a flight to Germany, and I was going overseas a few weeks later. She said – PLEASE wait to read this book until you’re on the plane. It will make the long flight so much easier. I did, and it did. And every since, if we’re going on a long flight, we re-read one of your books. Thank you for enriching our lives (and travels)!

  8. Chris said:

    I stumbled across Soulless in the bookstore. I saw the cover and was totally intrigued. Who was this Gail Carrier? I had never heard of her…but I decided I was going to give her a try. Best decision I ever made. I totally dove in and the next day went right out and bought the two other books that were available. Now Gail is one of my absolute favorite authors.

  9. Amanda said:

    I first heard about Soulless because of the dressup doll. But I was young and convinced anything vaguely historical fiction would be too stuffy for my tastes (somewhat hypocritically I’ll admit, since I was working on a historical fiction comic with my roommate at the time).

    Fast forward to a couple years ago and I came across the Finishing School series in the library when looking for new audiobooks to listen to while at work. I LOVED it, devoured the three books that were there (Waistcoats and Weaponry wasn’t out yet). And then I promptly went searching for more on audible and bought every single Parasol Protectorate book while kicking myself for not having read them several years ago when I first heard about them, because I LOVE Soulless. It’s exactly the kind of book and characters that I enjoy! And because of Soulless and the Finishing School books, I’ve found a love of new genres (steampunk and Victorian historical fiction) that I’d never let myself try before. I actually just finished listening to Soulless for probably the 6th or 7th time yesterday, and Imprudence the week before!

  10. Jen said:

    Around the time Soulless was coming out (or maybe just after?), I saw a time-lapse video about how the cover was created. I hadn’t heard of the book at the time, but between the short description of the plot and all the different elements that went into the cover, I immediately made a note to look for it the next time I was at the bookstore. I read the first chapter in the store and was hooked. I bought it, read it twice in three days, and started recommending it to family, friends, coworkers, and strangers on the internet.

    Happy Anniversary to you and The Little Paranormal That Could, still bringing joy via dessert-destroying shenanigans after all these years!

  11. William said:

    Sadly, I don’t remember precisely where it was I first saw Soulless. I DO remember that the title immediately grabbed my attention and after reading the first page I was sucked in and had to read it. I’m so glad I did, there’s nothing like falling in love with a character and a writer’s work, unlike most people, great writers have the ability to put your heart back together every time they break it without doing any lasting harm & actually enriching your life into the bargain. Plus, Gail’s books are funny and stuff, you know?

  12. Becca said:

    I was at university in Dundee at the time. On one of my many trips to the local Waterstones, your books caught my eye on the shelf. The covers were so striking. The blurb on the first also sounded highly amusing and it was 3 for 2 so I ended up grabbing Soulless, Changeless and Blameless in one go.
    I loved them from the first page! I proceeded to get them for my future sister-in-law as a Christmas gift that same year and have bought everything you have written without question ever since.

  13. Erica Jackson said:

    I was at the annual Steampunk Fest in Tucson, AZ a couple years ago. One of the booths was selling books/graphic novels with Steampunk themes. Soulless the graphic novel caught my eye, and I read the synopsis. I ended up using my bank’s rewards system to get it. I fell in love with the story and decided to get the books. I’ve all the Parasol Proctorate and Finishing School. Imprudence and her adventures is definitely on my list; along with the novellas.

    I rarely recommend books, and I’m proud to say that I was able to get a friend hooked on this series as well. It helped we were both at a bookstore when I told her about Soulless.

  14. Erica Jackson said:

    I was at the annual Steampunk Fest in Tucson, AZ a couple years ago. One of the booths was selling books/graphic novels with Steampunk themes. Soulless the graphic novel caught my eye, and I read the synopsis. Intrigued, I ended up using my bank’s rewards system to get it. I fell in love with the story and have been hooked ever since. I’ve all the Parasol Proctorate and Finishing School books. Imprudence and her adventures is definitely on my list; along with the novellas.

    I rarely recommend books, and I’m proud to say that I was able to get a friend hooked on this series as well. It helped we were both at a bookstore when I told her about Soulless.

  15. Stuart Castle said:

    It was either somewhere online that I read about what the story was about, or I read the back of the book in my local bookshop, but I like what I’d read. So I went online, as you do, and bought the entire set of The Parasol Protectorate. I love the characters. I’ve bought all the other series of books, love the way Gail writes. Thank you Gail.

  16. Crystal said:

    My friend in Oregon messaged me in 2011 that I should check out this book series. She’d loved it and thought it was right up my alley, and it was. At the time, I was preparing a Victorian outfit for a train ride, and I laughed heartily when I got to the description of Alexia’s evening dress — cream with raspberry. My outfit was cream, and I’d been toying with ideas for trimming, wanting to step out of my usual colour palette of greens and blues and had settled on raspberry. Well the dress is still untrimmed but I have plans to finish it some day (and the matching evening bodice I made in 2014 😉 ) and all of the books will remain in my personal library forever <3 (Plus I made my brother and sister read the manga, which they both loved, and went on to read the books too, and also loved.)

  17. Ashley said:

    I found Soulless at B&N when I was in college (I think it was on an end cap) and being a cheap college student I didn’t buy it at the time but I DID take a photo of it to remember it was a thing that looked interesting and right up my alley. And then sometime after that (I wanna say like 2 years later), I found it again at B&N and remembered how cool it looked so I bought it and have now bought everything since! I’m so glad I found it (and force it on almost everyone I meet) as it hits all the right points for me as a reader in terms of supernatural, romance, and comedy.

  18. anne said:

    A friend of mine who is a great steampunk fiction reader told me the first chapter 4 years ago. At the time, I was prejudiced against steampunk/fantasy fiction. But I found her description so funny that I borrowed the whole Parasol series from the library and read the 5 volumes immediately. I loved the series so much that I bought it in English. (Being French, the first reading was in French.) Since then, I have not only read and reread all Gail’s works in English, but also recommanded and/or offered Soulless to a few persons (friends, sister, colleagues), all of them loving it too. Gail’s works are always fun and pleasure to read, the only disappointment is that one will to wait until 2018 to know more about Rue’s adventures. Long live Alexia, Rue, Sophronia, etc.

  19. Larissa said:

    Oh my! Has it been so long already!? 😀
    Your writing has opened my eyes to a whole new genre that I never knew and I love it so much! Steampunk a perfect fusion of my favorite things! History, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and tea :3

    Thank you Madam Carriger for creating such an amazing world full of cool, confident, and colorful characters!

    Your various books and series entertain and inspire me so much!

  20. Jo said:

    I was recommended the Finishing School series by my wonderful school librarian, and what started as a brilliant little read quickly turned into a love affair. Miss Gail, thank you.

  21. Heidi Kneale (Her Grace) said:


    I went to WorldCon 2010 in Melbourne (Australia) and that was all anyone could talk about. Got to meet you, bought every book with your name on it and am so glad I did.

    Are you sorry you swapped careers, or do you receive just as much satisfaction out of your new one as the old one?

  22. Fiona Leonard said:

    My mom (the book purveyor who feeds my reading addiction) recommended it to me and I was immediately hooked. I have read all the books but only just found out about the novellas and short stories: yay! More to discover! I adore that you have both strong and delicate female characters, and both strong and delicate male characters. Now about this dress up doll I keep reading mention of…

  23. Lynn said:

    Soulless was in the front rack at my local B&N when I wandered in one day. The cover was so striking, I gravitated towards it immediately. I wasn’t sure I would like a “horror” book (as it was labeled on the spine), but the copy on the back cover was so amusing, I took it up with me to the cafe, where I read the the first chapter. I laughed out loud so many times in that chapter that I had to buy the book and take it home with me so I could read and enjoy it without getting any more strange looks from the other customers. The rest is history. When I hear you have a new book coming out, I tend to mark the date on my calendar, so I make sure to get it as soon as possible. (This was absolutely necessary in the case of “Blameless!” That was a long wait to resolve the cliffhanger from “Changeless.”)

  24. Anna said:

    I think I first heard about you in Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing. And then when I looked closer, it was said to be a mix of Jane Austen and steampunk. As I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, I couldn’t not check it out… Well, I don’t know if it’s Jane Austen, but it’s awesome in a different way. And all the tea and cakes… I even tried to get some treacle tart while in UK, just to know how it tastes (unfortunately it was always sold out…).

    You have definitely become one of my favorite authors, you know those, whose new books you always need to get and are awaiting eagerly.

© 2022 Gail Carriger
Site built by Todd Jackson