Tagged occasional FAQ

Please Write Us A Story About Lord Akeldama, Miss Gail! (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Write Goldenrod’s backstory for the love of Oolong!!!

Look Gentle Reader,

Lord Akeldama is best in very small doses.

Writing him for any length of time, IMPOSSIBLE. Can you imagine spending the space of one short story in that man’s head, let alone an entire book?

via antique royals tumblr

Plus most of his charm is to do with his mystery, I I tell you too much about him you’ll find him less interesting.

Although someone once said I should write about him from the perspective of his cat, which seems too silly even for me. (I know right? Who knew those words would ever come from my fingers?) But it is a possibility. Maybe some day when I am very drunk and I feel like the cat has something to say. The cat has to come alive as a voice in my head and have a specific scene or story to tell before this will happen. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just very very improbable. (10 points to anyone who gets that reference.)

Here’s what I can tell you…

There is a big, MASSIVE, reveal about Lord Akeldama’s past and his reasons for doing what he does in Reticence. So if you aren’t caught up on the Custard Protocol I recommend you do so before the last one comes out because otherwise the chatter will drive you mad.

Mad I tell you!

If what you love about Lord Akeldama is his flirty irreverence and general all knowing superiority than you should check out bot Max and Mana in the San Andreas Shifter series. And I and promise you that you will love Tristol, my alien character in the 5th Gender.

Hush now and let me write,

Miss Gail

Other People’s Opinions

Why Comic Relief Characters Often Don’t Make Good Main Characters

OUT NOV 4, 2018!

The Omega Objection San Andreas Shifters

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks
Direct from Gail

Can a gentle giant with a trampled heart
show a man who’s been running all his life that
sometimes there are monsters worth running towards?

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

  • The 5th Gender (a tinkered stars sci-fi under the G. L. Carriger brand). No links as yet, wait for it…
  • Secret Project Ommm, coming October 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know more about what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

More Than Just Representation: 5 Queer Reads

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“I get very worried about this idea of art. Having been an English literary graduate, I’ve been trying to avoid the idea of doing art ever since. I think the idea of art kills creativity.”

~ Douglas Adams

Book News:

Fan Art Lord Akeldama & baby Rue

Quote of the Day:

“… and that’s how I snuck an incredibly tasteful orgy into my young adult novel.”

~ Overheard in Borderlands Books, from their awesome occasional blog 

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


3 Things Readers Want to See from Authors (Occasional FAQ with Gail Carriger)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

At the beginning of 2018, Gentle Reader, Goodreads posted this article:

Three Things Readers Want to See from Authors

I thought, hey, why don’t I just give you what they think you want?

Gail’s Top 3 Questions

1. What other books has Gail Carriger written?

You can find a comprehensive list of EVERY SINGLE thing I have officially written on the All Books section of my website.

The in world chronological order list for the Parasolverse is on the wikia!

2. What books inspired Gail Carriger to write?

To answer this question I wrote this blog post:

This Is Why I Write: 10 Books That Inspired & Formed Gail’s Identity As An Author

3. What additional background information does Gail Carriger share about the books she has written?

That is what this blog is for. Follow it or join the Chirrup.

You want everything I have written in the past? Wellp, I divide my background and behind the scenes posts into two easter egg piles by the tags:

Special Extras

  • deleted scenes
  • character studies
  • fantasy casting
  • worldbuilding thoughts & analysis
  • games & quizzes
  • academic style articles & guest blogs on steampunk

Behind the Magic

  • research & victoriana
  • cover art
  • chapter titles
  • sample chapters
  • foreign editions
  • author business musings

Hopefully you can find what you are looking for there.

If you are looking for an answer to a specific question you can Google “author gail carriger” + “[your question]” or you can search for various keywords on my massive never ending interview page.

Hope that helps!

Meanwhile here is some silliness of me taking the Tea Scout Oath at Tucson Festival of Books!

Do you want more behind the scenes info & release announcements? New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Coop de Book for March is Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina. (Discussion here.)

OUT MAY 13, 2018!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct from Gail

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger is now awabile (print, audio & other editions will follow). Featuring a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him). Add this book on Goodreads.

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1910 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Self in various Dark Garden Corsets

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Piper & I shared a cheese plate at a hub airport recently, and discussed future topics for 20 Minute Delay podcast

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Business Musings: The Small Traditional Publishers (2017 in Review)

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

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


Gail Carriger Parasolverse All Books In-World Chronological Order & Dates! (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello my darling Gentle Reader!

By far one of my most frequently asked questions is:

In what order do the Parasolverse stories take place?

This is a really hard question answer because I am always adding new ones, and they often fit in around one another. So I can’t really do a perineal post here on the blog, which is, by it’s nature temporally, finite.

But Imma try!

This image is missing 2 (as of 2017), Curious Case – which would be far left, Romancing the Werewolf – far right.

The following list is current as of the end of 2018.

Which is to say any releases with a 2019 or later date will not appear, unless I am very good about updating this post.

If you want the MOST updated list of Gail’s Parasolverse books then you MUST VISIT THE WIKIA.

Sorry but, frankly, that is what the wikia is for. Ya know?

Parasolverse Books

Chronological Order

With Dates!

The Curious Case Spring 1841
Etiquette & Espionage Fall- Winter 1851
Curtsies & Conspiracies March 1852
Waistcoats & Weaponry February 1853
Manners & Mutiny December 1853
Poison or Protect Spring 1867
Soulless 1873
Changeless Winter 1873
Blameless Spring 1874
Heartless July – August 1874
Timeless April 1876
Romancing the Inventor Summer 1878
Prudence September 1895
Imprudence October 1895
Romancing the Werewolf December 1895
How to Marry a Werewolf April 1896
Competence Spring 1896

There you have it!

What About Reading Order?

Now reading order is a different matter and is hotly contested by my fans. As a completest I myself would read them in chronological order. However, most of the members of the Parasolverse Facebook Group contend they ought to be read in order written.

Which, as of now is…

  1. Parasol Protectorate
  2. Finishing School
  3. Delightfully Deadly
  4. Custard Protocol
  5. Supernatural Society
  6. Claw & Courtship

Yours,

Miss Gail

Do you want more behind the scenes info? New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Werewolf.

OUT NOW!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available (audio will follow).

Gay reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some unexpected holiday gifts.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Carry Arms, from the Parasol Drills series

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Earl Grey Comes Out of the Cupboard

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Infographic: The Most Popular Font Types in the USA

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

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


Occasional FAQ: What Would Gail Do?

Posted by Gail Carriger

Busting my tush editing right now, Gentle Reader.

However I did notice that The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley is on sale today for $1.99. One of my favorite short story collections ever.

So, for the today’s blog post? Here’s a quick fun one for you. Some pithy answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

Great British Bake Off, closely followed by Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala and Marie Claire magazine. Sometimes I can be found indulging in all three at once.

What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

I like to sew, dance, cook, read,  and eat. All of these things sneak into my books: I’m always describing the way people move, what they are wearing, and what they consume. In Competence my characters form an on dirigible book group.

What can we find you doing to relax?

Shoe shopping, drinking tea, more shoe shopping, thinking about shoe shopping, drinking more tea – it’s a simple life.

What would happen to your writing if there was a shortage (gasp!) of tea or chocolate?

I could probably survive without the chocolate. I don’t know if I could function as a human being without tea, let alone write.

Has your sense of humor ever gotten you into trouble?

More times than I can possibly count. I always think I’m hilarious and I will open my big mouth at the most inopportune times. Booze, let me just say, does not help with this problem.

Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?

Yes, any place where I can have a great cup of tea and be surrounded by a civilized little shade garden.

1925 Esther Borough Johnson (British artist, 1867-1949) Tea Table in the Garden

What’s one random tidbit about yourself?

I find endless comedic enjoyment in the ridiculous: the Westminster Dog Show, rubber animals, string cheese, squid, that kind of thing. Also, I’m a mean lean pinball player.

Can you tell us something about you we can’t see on your wikia?

All my inanimate objects have names (I think it’s rude to yell at them without calling them by name). Oh and I’m famous amongst my friends for a certain breakfast item called the “eggy cup.”

Would you rather be a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost?

Werewolf, no question. I’ve always wanted to be able to change shape, even if I were forced to do it every month. Most of us ladies are quite accustomed to engaging in the emotional equivalent of a monthly shape change already, I suspect it wouldn’t be too difficult to adapt to werewolfdom.

How would you react if you were you attacked by a vampire without even a proper introduction?

Oh, I have no pride or gumption. I would run to the nearest public area yelling for the constabulary.

If you could spend one day in Victorian–era London, what would you do (and, more importantly, what would you wear)?

I should love to visit the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition displays housed there. I’d wear the appropriate day dress, probably something in teal velvet with hundreds of tiny buttons and a very outrageous hat. Ivy has nothing on me with regards to taste in hats. (Find out more on the Crystal Palace on my 1850s History Pinterest board.)

What are some of your favorite films?

In no particular order:

Find out more on my Recommended TV & Movies Pinterest board.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

“She would rather have drowned in tea.”

what it will actually say is

“She only wanted to taste it once.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1888 Charles Courtney Curran – Lotus Lilies via history-of-fashion

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

All the colors people purchased this t-shirt in from my store just after it was announced. You ladies & gentlemen are the best!

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

High Street, Exeter, Devon, England, ca. 1895

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Three Award-Winning Romance Novelists Discuss Their Craft

Book News:

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Marketing Podcast: Transitioning from Traditional Publishing to a Hybrid Career with Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:

“There are lots worse curses to have, but she writes them SO SLOWLY, and I read them SO FAST!”

~ Overheard at Borderlands Books in San Francisco

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


Where’s The Audiobook? Occasional FAQ

Posted by Gail Carriger

Dear Gentle Reader, this blog is part of my occasional FAQ series being comprised of questions I get a lot and would like to answer here in depth.

Where is the Audiobook of Gail’s latest Parasolverse novella or San Andreas book? Or Competence & Reticence outside the USA & Canada?

Audiobook Buy Button

It doesn’t matter which story you’re looking for, if you can’t find it by clicking on the audiobook buy button on that book’s website page (and if you can’t, that button brought you here *waves*) or it’s not in Audible in your country, then this is what is going on…

Know this please:

  1. Audiobooks are costly to do well, and I only want to produce quality books. Therefore, I’m careful about investing in production. We’re talking thousands of dollars.
  2. Audiobooks are time consuming for everyone, so it’s unlikely one will ever drop at the same time as my ebooks.
  3. Voice talent is not easy to find. I only use high quality professional voice actors.

So where is it?

  • If the story you are looking for has no Audiobook buy button then currently I’ve no plans to produce it in audio.
  • If you are outside the USA or Canada and you can’t get it then there are distribution or rights issues in play and I’m either working on it, struggling, or have given up.
  • The story you are looking for may be in production. Sign up the Chirrup to find out exactly when it releases.

Why?

Because the book you want in audio did not make enough money as a print/ebook to warrant the expense. If people don’t want to read or review it then likely they really won’t want to listen to it. I know you may want to, but you’re obviously unique.

  • If you are outside the USA or Canada and you know the audiobook exists just not in your country, I probably own foreign rights but I must rerecord (with a different narrator, pissing people off) or buy & redistribute the USA version. Both are prohibitively expensive.

But I REALLY WANT the book on audio, how about crowd funding it?

No. Time project managing is also money. That’s exponentially more work on the back end and while I enjoyed my Kickstarter experience with Crudrat, I am not inclined to do it again. Ever. Sorry.

Other FAQs

Will you be using the same voice actress as the Parasol Protectorate (Emily) or Finishing School/Custard Protocol books (Moira) for other books?

No. Both are high end professional voice actresses with multiple contracts for existing books. They do not have the time (nor do I have the money) . However, if I find a voice actress I like, who is comfortable with my range of accents, then I will try to use her multiple times. See Emma Newman who narrates both How to Marry a Werewolf & Romancing the Inventor.

Will you ever use a male voice actor?

Yes. For those books which have all/mostly male POV characters. Romancing the Werewolf is narrated by Peter Newman and the San Andreas Shifter series is narrated by Kirt Graves.

Will you read/record your own books?

No. (See the part about high quality and professional. I am neither.)

Will you ever use an American voice actor?

Yes. For those stories that take place in America, listen to Kirt Graves narrate the San Andreas Shifter series.

 

Miss Gail, I want to do eeet! I can voice act with the best of ’em.

  • Do you have a professional voice acting website with contract information and rates?
  • How good is your accent range & do you have a reel?
  • Do you have a studio and are your recording instruments high quality?
  • Will you work for hire (flat fee) and are your rates competitive?

Answer yes to ALL of the above questions?

Then you may contact me through the calling card feature on my website. However, I have a producer and he has the final say.

Will you do any full cast audio (like Crudrat) or use multiple voice actors for multiple POVs?

Unlikely. Here’s a sample of the first chapter to see what we’re talking about…

Where’s the Audiobook of Gail’s latest Parasolverse Novel?

What you’re asking about here, is traditionally published.

In the USA it comes out right around the same time as the first edition of the physical book, usually within a few days. In the UK and other English language territories it can take up to a month for the audiobook to drop.

Are you looking for Competence & Reticence outside the USA & Canada?

Go back and read the first paragraph again.

Hidden in Pages says of Imprudence audiobook:

“The narrator does an absolutely wonderful job narrating and it was a joy to listen to. I kept finding myself creating reasons to listen to the audiobook so that I could listen to more.”

Midwest Book Review: Library Watch says of the Imprudence audiobook:

Imprudence will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library audio book collections and is a “must” for all science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts.”

I Am, Indeed says of the Imprudence audiobook:

“Narration for this story is provided by Moira Quirk, and she does manage to present both sides of every conversation with clarity and style: each character is distinct, the rapid-fire moments of dialogue don’t impede her forward progress, and there are appropriate pauses for breath, laughter and tension (when required).”

More on audiobook! Are You Self-Publishing Audiobooks? Why You Should Be

CAN WE HAVE SAMPLES?

Sure!

Poison or Protect

Poison or Protect narrated by ~ Audible USA |  UK | FR | DE | iTunes | Amazon

How to Marry a Werewolf

How to Marry a Werewolf narrated by ~ Audible USA |  UK | FR | DE | iTunes | Amazon

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor narrated by ~ Audible USA |  UK | FR | DE | iTunes | Amazon

Romancing the Werewolf

Romancing the Werewolf narrated by ~ Audible USA |  UK | FR | DE | iTunes | Amazon

The Sumage Solution

The Sumage Solution ~ Audible USA |  UK | FR | DE | iTunes | Amazon

Crudrat

Crudrat full cast produced by Artistic Whispers ~ Audible | iTunes | Amazon

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1874-1875The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston _ OMG that dress!

1874-1875 The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston _ OMG that dress!

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Flower Island

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage

the-north-west-passage-info-copy

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A Traditional Publishing Timeline

Book News:

Characters on the Couch: Gail Carriger’s Imogene & Genevieve

Quote of the Day:

“I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write.”
~ P. G. Wodehouse

More from Gail? Join the Chirrup!


Why Do Books Release Later to the UK, Australia & New Zealand? (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

This is one of those blog posts, Gentle Reader. Like the Fat Chance of my Book Actually Being Made into a Movie post, I’m writing this one primarily so I can direct annoyed email + social media demands at it. Humans need a why in order to calm down.

Things A Lady Would Like To Know 1872

What follows is a great deal of why

1. PRINT

I’m an Aus/NZ reader of your books, why does it always take so long to release here? Why do you hate people in the Southern Hemisphere?
Not my choice. Nothing to do with me.
Aus/NZ market is usually 2 weeks later than the UK, because that is how long it takes physical copies of a book to ship from the UK to the far reaches. Books have to get across the sea, and then overland into the shops. Shipping early, if even possible for the distributor, results in confused bookstores shelving the book for sale at different times before the ISBN is in their computer. This means errors at check out, possible litigation from the publisher if the book has a SOS (strict on sale date), and serious damage to the author’s sales figures and general sucess of the book.

But we always get it on the same release date if it’s a King, Simmons, Patterson, (name your preferred major white dude authorbeast), why not you?
I’m not that big a deal. Thanks for thinking I am.

Surprise! Laundry Jail.

 

2. DIGITAL

So why don’t your publishers just drop the eBook at the same time in all English speaking territories?
My agent has a blog post touching on this. Other guesses: Because they are afraid that then no one would buy the physical book if it released behind the eBook? Because then all the readers of paper books would write emails to me complaining that I am punishing them for preferring the dead tree and why do I hate print readers so much? Because digital globalization is terrifying? Because rights and distribution contracts vary? Here is Charlie waxing poetical on the subject.

3. AUDIO

I’m a UK/Aus/NZ listener to your books, why does it always take even longer to release audiobooks? Why do you hate audiobook listeners?
Not my choice. Nothing to do with me.
I don’t know what’s up with UK audio distribution services. They seem to take forever. Or maybe it’s my UK audiobook publisher. If I were to ask, I can guarantee you that each would blame the other. Having minimal contact with Audible US via Crudrat, I can say that they are unusually painful to work with on these matters. Regardless, it seems about 2 weeks after print release before my audiobook drops in old Blighty.
Aus/NZ audiobook dropping can be as much as a month after US print release date if not more. I DO NOT CONTROL THIS. This has nothing to do with me. My guess is that, as an offshoot of the already challenging UK audiobook market, things are compounded down there. I don’t know what the audiobook market share is Down Under, but I should think small. Thus no one is motivated to fix it.

I really do feel empathy for you. Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to get a hold of the book you want, in the medium you want, in a timely manner. (Don’t get me started on all the OP books from my youth that aren’t available as ebooks.)

As a traditionally published author, I do not have the power to affect this. And YES I have tried. SO HARD. It’s wrapped up in contracts, rights grabs, fighting for other things I really want as a creative, and sacrificing some stuff on the altar of others. On the bright side, you do get the book, eventually. Imagine being one of my Italian or Spanish readers?

Yes, it is monumentally frustrating. Imagine being on my end of this equation? Because, boy, there ain’t enough tea in England… or Australia.

Here have a photo of a cute cat, fuzzy blanket, and tea. Does that make it better?

Occasional FAQ ~ Things Gail Collects (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Things Gail Collects

  • Octopus ephemera
  • Shoes (specifically peep toes & wingtips)
  • Demitasse teacups
  • Baedeker’s, Terry’s, Baddeley’s, and Galignani’s travel guides printed prior to 1900
  • Ideas for making decorative canapés
  • Recipes for cakes that can be made with only a food processor

Information Gail Collects

  • Mythology from cultures and times her characters might visit
  • Images of vintage corsets
  • Anything about real historical female warriors
  • Custard recipes
  • Old Victorian menus

 

Proofs have arrived

 

Lilliput is excited about it.

{Gail’s monthly read along for February is Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper Book 1 by Tamora Pierce.} Review might be a little late, compressed edit and proof pass deadline is really killing me.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1857 shewhoworshipscarlin-tumblr Fashion plate, 1857, Philippines.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Books and Knitting says of the Finishing School series:
“These books are fantastic. Gail Carriger really knows how to create illustrious adventures with humor and action. Really, in my opinion, these books are never dull, a lot due to the great writing style Carriger has.”

Quote of the Day:
“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”
~ Julia Child

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Inside the Actor’s Studio Questions with Gail Carriger (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Inside the Actor’s Studio: 10-questions

1. What is your favorite word?
Kumquat

2. What is your least favorite word?
Compromise

3. What turns you on?
Efficiency

4. What turns you off?
Slovenliness

5. What sound do you love?
The pop noise you make with your finger and your cheek.

6. What sound do you hate?
Screaming children.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
Bollix

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Dancing

9. What profession would you not like?
Anything to do with bad smells.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Good God, who let you in?


Silliest Questions Gail Carriger Has Ever Been Asked (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

 

Silliest Questions Gail Carriger Has Ever Been Asked

Why don’t you have an English accent?
I’m not actually British. My mum is an expat, I spent many a summer in Devon, several months in London, and two years in Nottingham. I’d put one on for you, but my fake accent is really bad.

Besides eating your cat, what is your zombie plan?
I have this vague idea of escaping to Alcatraz, depending on whether the zombies can go under water. Otherwise, I think heading out to the coast to some obscure fishing village would bebest. Isolated, ready food source, and one can always take to the ocean if necessary.

If you could be any element on the periodic table, which would you be and why?
Helium. Because I’m a rare noble gas that makes people squeak on a regular basis.

What’s the hardest question you’ve ever been asked?
What’s your favorite fruit?

Have you ever been fishing for octopus? What’s your favorite way to eat them?
I’ve never fished for them, but I do love the story one of my professors told of his Greek fishing village and the treatment of octopuses there. Apparently, they slap them against the streets to tenderize them and hang them out on clotheslines. “You know you’re in Greece,” he used to say, “When you wake up to the sound of an octopus being slapped of a morning.” My favorite way to eat them is Greek style ~ grilled with lemon, olive oil, and fresh oregano. Heaven.

Thus far, have you been able to get through an interview without the word “steampunk” coming up?
Nope. But then, why would I want to?

What’s one random tidbit about yourself?
I find endless comedic enjoyment in the ridiculous: the Westminster Dog Show, rubber animals, string cheese, squid, that kind of thing.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
That jiggly leg thing particularly prevalent in men, or any similar hand tapping, twitching, etc. It drives me bonkers. I’ve been known to go up to perfect strangers and stress the delicacy and skill required to sit STILL. With friends, I’ll put my hand on said leg and then slowly but surely start digging the nails in until it stops.

Give us one embarrassing author moment:
I arrived for my very first in-person meeting with my agent with the back of my dress unzipped. The moral of this story? Always travel with a lady’s maid. The moral of the moral? Sell enough books to afford a lady’s maid.

What will you name the three monkey butlers we’re sending you for Christmas this year?
Eeek, Oook, and Ni. Because I am 1. afraid of monkeys, 2. enamored of Terry Pratchett’s Librarian (I know, not a monkey), and 3. a Monty Python fan.

What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
Project Runway, closely followed by Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala and Marie Claire magazine. Sometimes I can be found indulging in all three at once.

How often do you wear your Victorian and Steampunk clothes around the house, just for yourself?
Dahling, who says I wear anything around the house when I’m by myself? Honestly though, I only wear full on Victorian costumes for appropriate events. I wear steampunk jewelry and little touches of steampunk garb most of the time when I’m going out.

Do you name each of your parasols?
Nope. I name my machines, but not my clothing or accessories. The car is Chanterelle, the computer is Hestia, and the iPod is Olive.

Can you tell us something about you we can’t see on your website?
I’m famous amongst my friends for a certain breakfast item called the “eggy cup.”

What’s your D&D Alignment?
Somewhere between Neutral Good and Chaotic Good last time I checked.

Any favorite vampires from lit, film, or TV?
I don’t think he really counts, but I love Dorian Gray. I have a real soft spot for Mina Murray in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman graphic novel series and I adore the character of Drusilla on Buffy. Not to sneak in werewolves, but I was turned to the furry side by Klause’s brilliant YA novel Blood and Chocolate.

Has your sense of humor ever gotten you into trouble?
More times than I can count. I always think I’m hilarious and will open my big mouth at the most inopportune times. Bubbly, let me just say, does not help with this problem.

Strangest dream you have ever had?
One of my favorites was a zombie attack dream where the zombies could be killed if I threw uncooked yams at them, at which point they turned into rock salt.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
This one.

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
Let It Steep: Chronicles of a Wierdo between Tea Breaks

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Boston Worldcon to meet Tamora Pierce.

Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Walk into a bar on Mercury.

Johanna von Klinkosch wife of Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein
via antique-royals-tumblr

 


All About Steampunk Goggles, Gaiters & Glory (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

The World of Steampunk: Goggles, Gaiters & Glory

To me there are two main kinds of steampunk. The first, which I shall be call, traditional steampunk, envisions a future as the Victorians imagined it. The writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are good examples. The second, which I think of as industrial steampunk, sees a far future world that harkens back to Victorian culture, for example a bustle dress made of Kevlar. There are also other temporal options like clockpunk (c. 1500s) and dieselpunk (WWII).

I write the traditional kind of steampunk, and my approach is two fold.

First, I postulate that it is through the presence of immortals that steam technology of the Victorian age diverged from our own timeline. Vampires are particularly interested in mechanics and so promote technological advancement beyond that of the actual Victorians.

Second, I try to remain true to the scientific theory of the day, however much modern scientists have debunked it. In Gail’s steampunk world the science is (at least internally) consistent, though occasionally mysterious.

by J Daniel Sawyer

Steampunk FAQ

What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a re–imagining of either the past or the future where steam technology never died, and electricity never dominated, and a Victorian aesthetic overshadows all. Think Jules Verne and hot air balloons flying to the moon.

What’s with all the dirigibles?
I think dirigibles (and other types of airships) are particularly appealing to writers of steampunk because they quickly show the reader the alternate nature of the author’s world, and because they represent the slow majestic dignity, and slight ridiculousness, of that time period.

How did you get into steampunk?
I came to steampunk first as an aesthetic movement. I’m a longtime fan of vintage clothing and Goth style; steampunk drew me in as a cheerful melding of the two. I also love seeing recycled technology used as jewelry, and other examples of how creative the maker community has become over the past few years.

What was it that drew you to steampunk?
My Mum is a tea–swilling ex–pat. I was raised on British children’s books (Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Borrowers, The Water Babies, Wind in the Willows) and I spent many a youthful summer in Devon and two years of graduate school in the Midlands. It was this, plus the fashion aesthetic, that first drew me to steampunk – the beauty of 19th century clothing but with a less ridged everyday feel. I adore the Victorian era. I used to make hoopskirts out of my hula–hoops as a child. I also love the makers side of steampunk – technology you can see working, rather than little silver iPods with all their functionality secreted away.

What is it about steampunk that particularly excites you?
The Victorian Gothic literature movement saw the birth of science fiction. The current steampunk movement is a weird kind of full circle, taking sci–fi back to its roots ~ I love that.

Most steampunk novels are set in the Victorian era, but why did you choose that setting for yours? What’s unique about the setting in your book?
I’m comfortable writing within the Victorian Era due to my own love of Victorian literature, too many BBC costume dramas, and ten years participating in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The Parasol Protectorate world is unique because, unlike many other steampunk novels, it doesn’t depict a dystopian future–past but instead a cheerful lighthearted one.

Where do you see steampunk going, or where would you like it to go? How much do you think it’s going to grow as a genre?
Steampunk is a unique movement in that it isn’t entirely literary – it has ties to the green movement, the maker community, historical reenactment societies, and the fashion world. Should it crest in popularity within all of these different areas at the same time, steampunk might well rise to the forefront of world counterculture. But I don’t think that is likely. Right now, I believe it has immense escapist appeal. With our economy in chaos, steampunk offers up an alternative lifestyle of sedate civilized behavior. Do I see that lasting? Probably not, but then no one attributed urban fantasy with much staying power either, so I continue to hope.

Can you think of a non–steampunk book that could be rewritten and make a good steampunk book?
Lawrence of Arabia? No, truthfully, I’d rather see original writers and debut authors take steampunk in new and different directions.  I melded my steampunk with urban fantasy and comedy of manners, how about some steampunk noir? The possibilities are endless – and so shiny and well dressed.

As one who is completely unfamiliar with steampunk, can you clarify for me which aspects of your books are considered steampunk?
My world is steampunk: an alternate 1800s England with new and different mechanicals, evil scientists, airships, docking spires, and attack automatons. The integrity of the alternative world is held together by the simple fact that I play by my own Victorian science rules (no magic). I didn’t want to overload new–to–steampunk–readers with too much gadgetry all at once. You might consider my stuff steampunk light as a result.

Phrannish

What exactly is steampunk fashion?
The current aesthetic movement (essentially the visual equivalent of the love child of a BBC costume drama and Hot Topic) emphasizes the importance of creativity, found object art, and the maker mentality ~ all of which I find very exciting. If you’re still curious, I did a blog post on the subject.

What one steampunk book would you recommend to readers who are unfamiliar with the genre but would like to give it a try?
I’m going to branch out and pick a graphic novel. There’s none better than the original League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

telecom

Your books feature a lot of steampunk technology, how much is based on existing technology, and how much of it is your own creation?
I’d say it’s about 50/50. I like to sneak in crazy Victorian gadgets that actually existed whenever I can, or modify them to suit my needs. Some of the technologies in my books are built out of flawed Victorian scientific theory that I made real. Some are more modern. There’s a cable transport in Blameless based off experimental US military research from the Korean War. But the rest of the time I just make things up, or go running to some of my techie or RPG friends with a plot problem that needs a steampunk solution.

I love the descriptions of all the inventions and the technology of Alexia’s world – are you a tech-savvy person? Does someone help you with that?
I’m a terrible neophyte and a very reluctant adopter of new technology. However, I am lucky enough to number many tech-savvy individuals in my life. Sometimes I create steampunk inventions from exacerbated actual Victorian gadgets, but other times I will call up one of my friends and beg them to have a conversation with me. “I need the invention to do this, but to have these limitations, and this kind of size. Any ideas? Oh and it should be funny.”

Why do you think Steampunk is appealing right now?
I have many theories on this. Part of the appeal, I think, has to do with our own sense of chaos and impending doom. This often causes people to look back and seek out time that was more ridged and controlled, full of polite manners and forms of address. Or a world that appears to have this.

What are the ingredients for a good steampunk novel?
There is a delicate balance to steampunk. You do need to do your research and know the language of the day, however, getting too flowery and Victorian can make your work inaccessible to a modern reader. It is hard to make everyone happy. There are always going to be readers who want hard science–orientated steampunk and others who can’t wade through all that techno–babble. I like to I write steampunk gateway drug. I also feel you can’t go wrong with comedy, that’s always lacking, even in the broader genres of SF/F, romance, horror, and mystery (steampunk has been classified under any of the above).

Which are the Gothic or steampunk novels that have influenced your writing?
I like the early Gothics: Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and later, of course, Austen’s lovely parody in Northanger Abby. I can take or leave most of the romantics although I’ll borrow their archetypes and mock them openly on a whim. Many of the Victorian classic Gothics annoy me, although I do love Jane Eyre and Poe (particularly Fall of the House of Usher). I tend to prefer to read lighter fair from that time period. Later on, Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray is deliciously creepy, but in the end I would say I’m more influenced by his playbill humor. I suspect this is because I write spoofs and not actual Gothic literature. As for steampunk, I do borrow from Wells and Verne but not directly, more for atmosphere than anything else.

Which are the Gothic tropes or aesthetics you utilize in your own writing?
I only nominally dabble in the terror/horror side of things, and usually interrupt it with macabre humor whenever possible. I like the mystery and supernatural elements so they are always pretty strong. You’ll see the haunted house/Gothic architecture/castle thing pop up occasionally. Most of the action takes place at night, because of the conceits of the universe, but again I will break a description with comedy and because of Alexia’s snarky take on life things never get too dark. I do borrow character archetypes a lot mostly to turn the into caricatures I can break down later: human eve, evil eve, and innocent eve all pop up and then get messed with. I don’t use a lot of Byronic heroes, so I guess you could say my men are more modern romance archetypes of alpha/beta. Although Lord Akeldama and Biffy together share the role of mocking Byron as he actually was in real life. I also avoid both the arte of the supernatural (magic and the occult) and ideas of angels/demons/devil. I feel the steampunk element takes out these concepts and replaces them with science and pseudo–science, secret societies, and dastardly experiments.

Are there any (Gothic) novels you have read recently and would also recommend to your readers?
I always suggest the Cask of Amontillado, which I think of as Poe’s best and cleanest works.

In your non-fiction piece for Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer),”Which is Mightier, the Pen or the Parasol?”, you touch briefly upon the various aspects of steampunk literature. For those yet unable to read this piece, which appears to be steampunk’s more enduring legacy: its subversion of past political/social views or its commentary on today’s modern society?
Oh, definitely its commentary on modern society. Whenever you get a combined aesthetic and literary movement with so many other aspects. One feels compelled to ask why it is being born right now, and what it may tell us about ourselves, our desires, and our feelings about the greater society around us.

How has your interest in steampunk affected the formation of your characters, what with Victorian mores and all. Speculate as to what they and their relative relationships would be like had they been born in another time, such as today?
The Victorian side of steampunk is vital to my characters and to my enjoyment of writing them. I experience gleeful joy when taking modern tropes ~ a strong urban fantasy heroine, barbaric alpha male, flamboyant San Francisco gay man ~ and making them play nice within an 1870’s British class and etiquette system. Suddenly my strong heroine has to cut more with her tongue than a knife, is worried about showing her ankles, and constantly seeks both a useful role in society and friends who value her intelligence and wit. My alpha male becomes a werewolf chaffing against the rules of polite society and proper dress. My flamboyant gay vampire borrows from both Oscar Wilde and the Scarlet Pimpernel, manipulating the threads of society over centuries, his relationships bittersweet and complex, allowing him to be more than just a gay BFF.

I genuinely feel that without the steampunk setting the characters would be less whole. They would need other ~ possibly more artificial ~ components and struggles, and frankly I don’t think I would enjoy writing them as much. I love the tension a Victorian world gives any kind of modern mind set. All my characters are struggling to balance their true natures against the pressures of society and in turn against modern sensibilities (informed, of course, my their creator who is quite definitely a creature of the contemporary world). This gives me a conflict of culture to play with and nothing is more exciting to me as a writer. It helps that the clothing back then was just so much more fabulous!

 

 


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