Readers Ask the Questions, Miss Carriger Answers (Q&A with Gail)

Well hello Gentle Reader, I threw the door open to the Parasol Protectorate Fan Group recently. Basically, ask me anything, here’s what they wanted to know…

Emily asks…

How do you start your book writing process? For example, how do you go from a simple idea to….whatever your next step is.

Notes, usually lots of sporadic notes and thoughts on characters and scenes. I like to let a project germinate and am not actually writing the first draft, it can live in seed form for years (right now I have 12 of these in the Parasolverse alone). I think of it like a potato, all the eyes sprouting at once, no real plant. I can leave projects like this for years, in a few cases decades.

Alexia & Ivy Walk in Hyde Park, Soulless Vol 1 (manga).

Then some major scene jumps into my head, my epiphany scene, and I know I’m ready to write. (With Soulless this was Alexia & Ivy walking in Hyde Park. With Sumage it was Max & Bryan meeting at DURPS.) At that moment I write the scene, review my notes, and stick the proverbial potato in the ground (hoping it will it shoots up an outline).

Anabel asks…

Favourite poisons and their uses (cosmetic, domestic, curative, murderous) in any civilization you fancy.

I gravitate towards foxglove a lot (Digitalis) because they are my mother’s favorite flower (or one of them) so I grew up knowing they were deadly and that they speed up the heart. I tend to be super interested in things that are medicinal or useful in small doses but deadly in large ones.

Writing at Mum’s with foxglove in the background. Desk setup at mum’s oncludes: Griffin laptop stand, Perixx wireless keyboard & mouse, rubber mouse pad. (tea)

Heather asks…

What was the weirdest thing you’ve researched for your books? Follow up: did that little detail actually make it into print?

Huh, you know I can’t remember. I do remember arguing about oysters with some reader or another. Strangely enough, I had done my oyster research. (You can’t challenge me on food or clothes, that’s my jam.)

Kathryn asks…


These days. Anything that doesn’t wrinkle when I travel.

Rune asks…

Books set in the 1920s seem to be a thing right now. Do you have a favorite flapper girl that you like reading about ? Would you ever consider writing something set in that period?

No. I always say the moment corsets are gone I lose interest. I love Miss Fisher TV show, does that count? Being a super curvy lady, I do not consider the 1920s my time period. Although I do love the jewelry.

Rick asks…

Would you consider continuing your series forth with the descendants of Alexia?

Well there is the Custard Protocol but Things happen in WWI. Things.

Sarah asks..

Are your characters based on people you know?

I take the 5th.

Ashley asks…

Inspiration! Where do you get it?

My arse if I sit on it long enough.

Barbara asks about academia…

Did you take a course in writing or what prompted you to write?

The last creative writing class I had was in high school (and I didn’t like those because they were sniffy about genre). I took one advance lit crit class as an undergraduate in 1998 but otherwise never went near the English department.

Janis asks…

Have the werewolves posted in India brought back preferences for different tea and cuisine?

Oh, that IS a question. Man that would make a fun short story. (Goes off to scribble notes.)

Amber asks…

Good user friendly resources for seeing what major political and social goings on were going on worldwide while Alexia is galavanting around England and abroad. I love making connections between timelines in various countries!

I really like Grun’s Timetables of History. I have an old version, 1991 I think. I amend mine, both with other research I unearth, and what is going on in my own books. Here’s an example from the Finishing School time period.

Valerie asks…

Would you ever consider writing for tv or film? If so, in your wildest fantasies, what project would you become involved in?

Unlikely. I don’t consider screenwriting one of my skill sets. I suppose I could kinda hang out and help in the writer’s room with something like Another Period, but that would just be because I love them so. In my alternate life perhaps I got to be one of the QI Elves.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July 2017 is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}


The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
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?

The Hedgehog Librarian says:

“Some of Carriger’s trademark sly humor shines through and she has a complex set of new relationships to mine in future books.”


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900s George Frederic Watts (English artist, 1817-1904) Eveleen Tennant

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Spy Techniques of the Revolutionary War

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Airships On Carriger Covers

Quote of the Day:

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

Posted by Gail Carriger

4 Responses

  1. Andrew Stackhouse said:

    I LOVE that you are writing the rough draft of San Andreas Shifters #2! I was hoping it was going to be worth your while and thus encourage more. Go with the food trucks. I think Shifts + food + vehicles can only lend itself to comedy.

    Also, Miss Fisher is <3.

  2. MadameDoVary said:

    I m addict to the audio of Summage Solution. Am i the only one? Those voices…. First audiobook and i’m imprinted like a chick. Please, this reader for san andreas 2 and others male POV would be sooo munch fun… I also so wish to learn more about Biffy, Lyall, Tank, Colin, Quesnel… I so would like to see Percy fall in reluctant loyal love… The books are a bubble of foolish fun and foolproof relish. Thanks for it and good tea to you.

    1. Gail Carriger said:

      Thank you so so much. Delighted you like Kirt, he’s a wonderful reader and Produce Bryan loved working with him, so yes, if we can get him we will certainly try to use him for all the SAS books.

© 2021 Gail Carriger
Site built by Todd Jackson