After I had a delightful time reading Soulless, I contacted Gail Carriger to see if she would be a guest on the blog. She kindly agreed to an interview and I am pleased to have her answers today to share with all of you.
About Gail Carriger (from her website):
Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of Armenian lovers, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. Soulless is her first book.
FC: How did you begin writing?
GC: My Mum used to read to me in bed and if I didn’t like the end of the book I would explain to her very carefully that the author got it wrong and then inform her of the real ending. That was the start of the madness.
FC: Was it difficult to go through the process of publishing your first novel?
GC: Some aspects were challenging and some were frustrating but never the parts I expected. In the end, looking back, I was pretty darn lucky.
FC: Did you learn anything about the process that you wish you’d known beforehand?
GC: Lots of terms that I won’t bore you with here (like “in house copy”), a few behavior modifications, and one or two better luck next times. The one specific thing I feel compelled to pass on to budding authors is: the response when you get The Call, even if you have no agent, is: “Thank you so much for your interest, let me pass you along to my agent.” Nothing more.
FC: Your website says there will be two more books after Soulless. Is it likely there will end up being more than three books in the series total?
GC: My contract is for three books. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t love to write more. I think we have to see how readers like Soulless first.
FC: Have you considered writing any prequels about the history of the vampires and werewolves and how they became accepted in Great Britain?
GC: I’d love to write a bit about Alexia’s father, but to go that far back, I’m not sure. That would be during the time of the Tudors, not a period of history that greatly interests me, and more clockpunk than steampunk. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind. I’m intrigued by both Lyall’s past and Lord Akeldama’s past, there may be books hidden there. I’d also love to explore the future, turn-of-the-century Old West steampunk has always appealed to me.
FC: You have mentioned that vampires and werewolves were your explanation for how such a small country like Great Britain became such a conquering force. Once other nations begin to see what a powerful weapon the supernatural is for Britain, what is keeping them from following suit?
GC: Ah, that is an excellent question and all I can say at the moment is that you’ll learn much of this in the third book, Blameless. The nature of this alternative world and its history is one of the things that is revealed more and more as the series progresses.
FC: The vampire and werewolf cultures each played a role in Soulless but although the ghosts were mentioned they never made an appearance. Will we see more of them in future novels?
GC: Ah, yes, quite a bit more. Ghosts of various personalities have small but pivotal roles to play, particularly in the second book, Changeless.
FC: Which group would you be most wary about causing offense to – the vampires or the werewolves?
GC: With immediate effect – the werewolves. In the long term – definitely the vampires.
FC: If you were to attend a ball along with each of the characters from Soulless, which one would you hope to be seated next to at dinner?
GC: Oh, Lord Akeldama, definitely! Even if he talked nothing but frivolities, they would excellent and highly entertaining frivolities.
FC: Is there anyone in particular whose presence would be so horrifying to prompt you to (discreetly, of course!) switch their place card with another if you found it next to your seat?
GC: Hum, I don’t think so. I tend to find most of my characters intriguing in some manner or another. I’m not sure I could tolerate an entire dinner next to the Countess, but even she can be charming – if she is in a pleasant mood.
FC: Soulless is a very diverse blend of genres – particularly urban fantasy, steampunk, and comedy. What are some of your favorite books from each of these?
GC: In urban fantasy I adore anything by Patricia Briggs, so far as steampunk is concerned I enjoy Girl Genius, and in the arena of comedy, I have to stay true to my first love, Douglas Adams.
FC: What are Alexia’s personal pet peeves when it comes to ill-mannered behavior?
GC: Introductions are very important to her, as are good table manners, well-behaved children, and respect for the social order. I think she is less concerned with proper dress than she pretends.
FC: How would you react if you were you attacked by a vampire without even a proper introduction? And you found yourself without a hair stick or a parasol?
GC: Oh, I have no pride or gumption. I would run to the nearest public area yelling for the constabulary.
FC: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from the next book, Changeless?
GC: This one is all about the werewolves!
Thank you so much for stopping by and answering some questions, Gail! I’m even more excited about the next two books knowing there where be more about the alternate history and the ghosts.