Soulless, Gail Carriger’s Notes That Started Everything

Every year on (or around) October 1, Gentle Reader, I post a bit about the beginning of it all: Soulless. (Soulless, incidentally is on sale at $4.99 (ebook USA) so now is a great time to get others hooked!)

This year I thought I would take you back to the very beginning of everything.

Some time ago, around nine or ten years now, Gentle Reader, an event occurred.

Picture this, little Gail Carriger biding her time, humming softly to herself, in some unnamed hotel somewhere at some unnamed convention. She has just been to a panel called “Escaping the Slush Pile” and she is considering a new project.

She jots down some notes in a notebook.

They read as follows…

  • “I was born without a soul.”
  • Blah. Blah. Something about not being undead. Poke. Poke. No, decidedly alive. People make that mistake all the time, natural people, but the thing about the undead is they all have souls that couldn’t die – too much soul, really.
  • Me, I’ve none at all. Born that way.
  • Preternatural (preter)
  • Supernatural (super)
  • Natural
  • “I” therefore is just a whole lot more representative in my case.
  • I have identity – a heart. I can love and feel, but I’m null.
  • Undead call me a soul sucker, werewolves = anti-change, ghosts = grounds.
  • ? What supernatural creatures do I want in my universe?
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Ghosts
  • Remove Undead

There it is. The seed that became Soulless.

I had entirely forgotten that I wrote it in first person originally!

After those notes there is a line break, probably signifying a week or so, then a switch in pen color and tidier handwriting, a surefire indication that the Authorbeast has given the project Serious Consideration.

Via Carina “I shield in the name of fashion. I accessorize for one and for all.”

Then comes the heading:

Some Additional Thoughts

Under that are world building notes, including some on Victorian government and earlier history detailing how the immortals integrated. Then there’s some notes on Victorian Gothic romance novel structures, the beginnings of characters, including Alexia, Conall (who was Conall Goring, Lord Brindle), Ivy (who was Ivy Thistlewaight), Professor Lyall (who had no first name), and Lord Akeldama (who was Lord Ambrose, Earl of Serkan, although I have another side note that says Akeldama “field of blood” is more dramatic).

After that, there’s several pages of mini scenes in the sloppy handwriting of “middle of the night” or “just out of the shower” inspiration. (This is still how I write, sometimes jumping pages or even books ahead of myself to write a scene I see really vividly.)

The first scene written is the one between Ivy and Alexia in the park, but after that most of the others are between Alexia and Conall or Conall and Lyall.

And that, as they say, was that.

I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the creative process of an unpublished author-baby.

Today the Little Paranormal That Could (original code name for Soulless) is eight years old.

And I… need breakfast.

Here’s to eight more glorious years!

Praise for Soulless

Readers are still finding it for the first time!

  • Kyromagica says: “Highly recommended – really enjoyed this. It had me laughing out loud a lot, generally sniggering in various rooms in our house, and even in public places… I had to stifle my hysterical laughter whilst drinking a cup of tea in Starbucks!”
  • Golidlox and the Three Weres says: “Soulless is one of the wittiest and smartly written books with one of the best heroines that I’ve ever read. Rather than rely on the traditional male hero to swoop in and save the day, Alexia embodies tenacity, critical thinking, stubbornness and independence. She is NOT helpless, she is NOT passive, and she is NOT stick thin.”
  • Delighted Reader says: “From page one, I was enchanted by this fun story. Alexia Tarabotti is a blend of sensible and scientific with quirky, strong-willed and heedlessness when she’s nosing out the answers. Conall Maccon is a good foil for her with his brash, equally stubborn and sensible nature alongside his willingness to see the true diamond in a lady that almost all of London society rejects or ignores because she is different.”

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“I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.”

~ Oscar Wilde


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RTW Romancint the werewolf Gail Carriger free pdf


Direct from me! 

Gay. Victorian. Werewolves.

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Posted by Gail Carriger

7 Responses

  1. Jennifer said:

    Happy Anniversary! I am currently rereading the Finishing School Series, but of course, it all started with Soulless. I have a quick question. I am not an epicurean and the internet is not helpful. WHAT IS AN EMULSIFIED BISCUIT? (Terribly sorry for the shouting, but it’s been a stressful search. I can only imagine it’s some sort of cracker/cookie soaked in vinegar, and I have no idea why Dimity would fancy such a thing.) Thanks for writing for our entertainment!

    1. Gail Carriger said:

      Erm, nothing. It’s nothing. It’s me making fun of “water crackers”. Because I can. Sometimes the thing I put in the book is just *whispers* because I like the silly words stuck together.

      But come on, wouldn’t that be a GREAT band name?

      1. Jennifer said:

        It sounds wonderful. I would buy it! (As long as it wasn’t really a cookie soaked in vinegar.) Please continue with the occasional nonsense word. Keeps me on my toes.

  2. Charlotte Walker said:

    Again, I am so grateful for this series. I am spoiled by your gift at telling stories. None other really seems to compare. Looking forward to November. I am checking out the Jeeves stories, though. Happy Anniversary and Many Happy Returns!

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