Author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her Parasol Protectorate books, their manga adaptations, and the first two books in her YA Finishing School seriesabout Victorian girl spies were all New York Times bestsellers. Her newest book, Waistcoats & Weaponry, is out November 4th. She was once a professional archaeologist and is overly fond of tea.
Gail was kind enough to answer some questions about her latest novel and writing in general. So pour yourself some tea, button that waistcoat, and let’s get started!
Rachel Cordasco: Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third book in your young adult steampunk Finishing School series: can you give us an overview of this latest installment and explain how it fits into the series as a whole?
Gail Carriger: In this book Sophronia and her friends finally get to spend time away from their school, putting all their newly leaned spy skills to good use. There is a train heist, an accidental kidnapping, a renewal of old acquaintances (not all of them welcome) and, finally, some serious flirting. Also, I suspect someone throws food at someone else – in my books, they usually do.
Here’s what it’s about:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
SOULLESS is the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
Award-winning photographer Lauren Zurchin has created a fantasy photography calendar with fourteen world-famous authors: Holly Black, Gail Carriger, Cassandra Clare, Tessa Gratton, Lauren Kate, Gregory Maguire, Brandon Mull, Lauren Oliver, Christopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Maggie Stiefvater, Tad Williams, and Brenna Yovanoff.
Each month features a photograph of a different author (or authors, in one case) dressed in custom costumes made by Lauren, and placed in unique locations with one-of-a-kind props. The overall effect is sometimes dark, sometimes ethereal, sometimes whimsical, and completely fantasy.
In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.
Today’s recommendations are by Gail Carriger. New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award. Her Parasol Protectorate books, their manga adaptations, and the first of her new YA series, Etiquette & Espionage, are all bestsellers. Her new book, Curtsies & Conspiracies, releases November 5, 2013. She was once a professional archaeologist and is overly fond of tea.
Soulless, the first book in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, turned four years old this week, so over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I thought I’d take a look at the Manga version of the book.
From the post:
Miss Alexia Tarabotti lives in Victorian England. She enjoys high tea, reading books, the company of her very best friend, Ivy Hisselpenny, and the vampire, Lord Akeldama. Alexia’s family sees her as a spinster, too old to marry, and a bit of an oddball for not caring one-whit about it. She lives with her mother, step-father, and two step-sisters. When a starving vampire attacks her at a social event, he is shocked to learn that Alexia is a preternatural, a ‘soulless’ being who has the power to render the supernatural mortal through touch. She is forced to kill the vampire, which only complicates matters. Lord Maccon, a werewolf, a member of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry, and the Earl of Woolsey, arrives to investigate. He and Alexia spar verbally, but she is sent home. The next day, she is invited to visit the Countess Nadasdy, Vampire Queen of the Westminster Hive…
Click on over to Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the review.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Today’s Young Adult authors are undoubtedly a big influence on young minds with the stories they tell and the rich worlds they create, but I’ve always wondered what authors and novels made an impression on them when they were young! So I asked them:
Here’s what they said…
I have two rather different answers – Stephen King and Madeleine L’Engle. They both illustrated to me in different ways that you if you set it up properly, you can sell even the most ludicrous of storylines, and have your reader completely invested. If you’ve ever tried doing a one line pitch of any of their books you’ll see – you sound ridiculous! But in your heart you know it’s so good!
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
This week we asked about rebranding adult novels as YA:
I’d like to hope they already have been rebranded, but two of my favorites are part of larger series. Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen trilogy is possibly the most YA of her early Valdemar books. And Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong trilogy is a great introduction to the Pern universe. I’d like to see both reissued with updated cover art, in hardback, for a YA audience.
I’d also add two books that are the first in their respective series but stand well enough alone as YA. Mary H. Herbert’s Dark Horse, and Cherry Wilder’s A Princess of the Chameln both include one of my favorite plot points: a girl disguising herself as a boy.
Last, I think The Forgotten Beasts of Eld would make a great rebranded YA book. Although the protagonist isn’t technically young enough, she has an isolated innocence that makes her seem young. Also Patricia McKillip’s writing style is so atmospheric, like a fairy tale, I think younger readers would really appreciate her style.
Gail Carriger is on the verge of launching a new series tied to her Parasol Protectorate series. On February 5th, you can get your properly gloved hands on Etiquette & Espionage, the first book of the brand new Finishing School series aimed at young asults (but enjoyable by “old” adults as well).
Here’s what the book is about:
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.
Here’s the trailer…
In episode 154 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester gathers a group of SFSignal folks to discuss: History That Never Happened, Our Favorite Alternate History Stories.
Alternate histories play a big part in SF&F – what are some of your favorites?
Why? What made them stand out to you?
Here’s the the cover art and synopsis of Gail Carriger’s upcoming novel Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in her young adult Finishing School series set 25 years before her widely aclaimed Parasol Protectorate series…
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.
Book info as per Amazon US:
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 031619008X
- ISBN-13: 978-0316190084
SF/F fans love to talk about their favorite books being adapted for film. But what about television? Are there books better suited for a television series? We asked this week’s panelists (inspired by a suggestion from James Wallace Harris)…
Here’s what they said…
My choice for a TV miniseries would be More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon. Since the book is already divided into three distinct sections, it could be presented as three two-hour episodes. It focuses on character rather than on special effects, which is good for the small screen. Finally — it’s a wonderful story.
- Cool news! Scott Westerfeld‘s Midnighters is coming to NBC. The story “revolves around a group of people born at the stroke of midnight who have access to the 25th hour of each day, which they use to stop crime.” [via SFX]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- John Scalzi answers Stargate Universe questions.
- Innsmouth Free Press has a brief interview with Mary Robinette Kowal.
- 3 Questions with Mindy Klasky at SF Novelists.
- Jeremy Tolbert and Jeff VanderMeer join host Tony C. Smith in the latest Sofanauts podcast.
- @Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy: David Gunn.
- @Sci-Fi Fan Letter: Gail Carriger.
- Frederik Pohl on Fandom. (Part 3)
- Octavia Butler’s Papers Bequeathed to Huntington Library. [via Locus Online]
- Guest-hosting at Tor.com: Cherie Priest, author of the the aesome recent release, Boneshaker.
- The Post-Modernity of Steampunk.
- The Directors of Spectrum announced that Richard Corben is the recipient of the 2009 Grand Master Award.
- The World SF News Blog is now hosted over on WordPress.
- Rare Gene Roddenberry Science Fiction TV Pilots are coming to DVD.