Gail Carriger Interviews Lauren Harris About Unleash

My dear Gentle Reader,

Please join me in welcoming my dear friend Lauren Harris to the blog today for tea and a chat. Funnily enough, Lauren has already made her debut here on this blog, I talk about her as my fellow fangirl squeeing over Mercedes Lackey in this post: Behind Romancing the Inventor: Blame Mercedes Lackey

About Lauren, The Author

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
I drink both equally. Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening.

Coffee: Americanos are best, but drip coffee is what I make at home, usually freshly ground and in a French press or pour over. If not espresso, it MUST be either a dark roast or a full-bodied medium with low acidity. This is possibly the only instance in which I’d refuse a blond.

I take it with half and half or heavy cream. The only time I will get a sweetener is if I get an iced coffee, in which case I add two pumps of either vanilla or toffee nut. Iced drinks are rare for me, though. I like hot drinks.

There are very few exceptions to my coffee rule, one being if there are no other hot drinks available or the only other hot drink available has “Liptons” or “Luzianne” in the name. I live in the South, so this happens more often than one might hope. As the quality of drinks go down, so do my coffee standards. I’m usually not so much of a snob that I would rather go without.

Tea: Ceylon or Assam-based black teas. Much to Gail’s distress, I still take sugar in my black tea, along with milk. Favorites are English Breakfast, Earl Gray (someone get Gail the smelling salts), and Chai. Twinings is the favorite, loose leaf when I can get it. I’m also not mad at green tea or mugicha. You can’t live in Asia for any length of time and not get a taste for it. White tea can scamper off to whatever dark, flavorless hole it came from.

[Gail: I have tried my dears. I have tried.]

Describe your personal style for author appearances.
It depends on whether the appearance is at a convention or elsewhere. Usually, it’s at a convention, in which case, one might encounter me in street clothes (usually edgy or casual), or some manner of corset. Sometimes both!

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?
Notebooks! I still like to write longhand. RSIs from work are making this more difficult, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to start books. For some reason, it helps me to tap into the characters and the world more deeply. I’m sure it’s a psychological trick of some kind, but I don’t care. Most of my beginnings and some of the more difficult scenes tend to be written in notebooks first.

If you drive, what do you drive?
I drive a gunmetal gray Prius C named Padfoot.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
Chocolate in sugar cone. How is this a question?
[Gail: Lauren is judged to be entirely sane. Except that she questions my question.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?
A truly clever play on words. My roommate informs me that my most “satisfied” sounding laugh is when *I* make a truly clever pun.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?
Very partial to Vodka Collins, Cape Cod, Moscow Mule, and Mojitos. Sangria and red wine is also an option. Absolute nos are: anything with pineapple juice, tequila, absinthe, or jaegermeister. I will make an angry bunny face.


Lauren was raised by an impulsive furniture mover and an itinerant TV News professional in a string of homes up and down the East Coast of the United States. Eventually settling (sort of) in Raleigh, NC, Lauren befriended a band of whimsical nerds who found themselves de-facto beta readers for her scribblings.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she studied English and Classics, Lauren moved to Tokyo, Japan for three years. While there, she studied Japanese, taught English, and fell in love with the hot drink section in the vending machines.

Now, Lauren balances a day-job of Cardiac Ultrasound with her passion for writing and other creative pursuits. She is the author of The Millroad Academy Exorcists novella series and an Assistant Editor at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. Her narration and voice acting can be heard on, EscapePod, and various short fiction podcasts.

About Lauren’s book: Unleash!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
If possible, Korean bulgogi. Keep those iron levels up for spellcasting.

What form does evil take within its pages?
Sinister Scottish Sanguimancer. Also, Sorcerers. A more esoteric evil is absolutism.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?
The cute Korean love interest because I had the power to make him an excellent kisser, so I did. Also, he is mischievous and funny and looks like Lee Minho in my head.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
Classics was one of my areas of study in school, so I am partial to the Bronze Age, but I’m also a big fan of the Middle Ages. Most of my high fantasy stories are set in some analog of our 600 -1600 ACE.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
Said sinister Scottish Sanguimancer, because he’s the reason my poor heroine has had such a terrible life. She’s been magically enslaved to his human trafficking ring since she was three years old.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?
The most fun parts for ME were the big disasters. I like to let people kiss and then have everything explode. Sometimes literally.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
Freshly sharpened pencils. Our heroine is an artist, and that slight tinge of blood scent to hot graphite feels suitable.

Unleash by Lauren Harris

Orphaned. Hunted. Pissed as hell.

Helena Martin doesn’t know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. It’s not the price she expected for escaping magical slavery, nor is the unstable power now pulsing in her veins.

Caught between her former master’s hunters and the Guild Sorcerers determined to kill them, she finds a safe haven at a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. But Helena’s newly-unleashed power is a beacon for her enemies. And they’re threatening the first place she’s ever thought of as home.

[Incidentally Lauren and I share a cover art designer, Starla.]

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}


The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lord Akeldama nick names from Kelly Schneider‎ via the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

World seems a big dumb at the moment, so no smart links to offer. You guys have any for me? Something interesting about tea or octopuses or the like?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

~ Somerset Maugham

Book News:

Heartless Shelf in Gail’s Office

Quote of the Day:

“I often feel sorry for people who don’t read good books; they are missing a chance to lead an extra life.”

~ Scott Corbett

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


Posted by Gail Carriger

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