Interview: Gail Carriger

Please welcome Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate series and the Finishing School series.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Up, tea, slow start – perhaps read a bit of a good book. Then out for a tasty breakfast (should involve poached egg, tomato and spinach and a great latte). Clothes shopping in some vintage heaven, like Haight Street in San Francisco, followed by a light lunch then more reading and tea. I’d end the day with a quiet walk on the beach watching the sunset. Sushi orC&CFinalCarriger_CurtsiesAndConspiracies_HC copy something equally fishy for dinner, a new episode of QI, and then a hot tub before bed. Some variety of French macaron would also be included in there somewhere.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I like to wear spoons, octopus jewelry, and the occasional fake mustache. I usually smell like food (vanilla apricot is my favorite scent), say the word “lovely” too often, and drink too much tea. I eat leafy greens, raw fish, and custard at any given opportunity. As a cook, I’m known for killer brownies, boozy banana bread, shepherd’s pie, and eggie cups.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Erin when drunk, Phrannish most of the time, and many of my history teachers.

Do you listen to music when you write?
Short answer, nope. I’m a dancer. If music is playing I want to dance, not write.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
A dark chocolate turtle: sweet but not too sweet, chewy in places, and full of nuts.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
The book I’m writing right now is the third in my YA Finishing School series. It’s all about manipulating boys. Victorian young ladies who are trained as spies can wreak havoc with the young men around them. In the best of all possible ways, of course.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Strong willed smart women, the benefits of practicality and sensible thought, tolerance of alternative lifestyles, an appreciation for silliness and good food, and achieving goals with the help of friendships that become stronger and stronger as the books progress, because these are things important to me and whether I like it or not they’ll sneak in.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her to be the person she is today?
Sophronia is secretive and a great observer of human nature. At first she has a hard time fitting in to polite Victorian society, but once she is taught how to manipulate it ridiculous hijinks ensue.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
A fourteen year old British Belle Boyd meets Sarah Walker (from the television series Chuck) meets Yo Saf Bridge (from Firefly) only with less flash and more sarcasm.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie

What’s next for you?
Curtsies & Conspiracies, the second book of the Finishing School young adult series, will be released November 5th.


New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She survived her early years by reading most of her local library and memorizing Greek battles. Eventually, she escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. In pursuit of further finishing, Ms. Carriger traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London. Her latest book, Curtsies & Conspiracies, the second in her Finishing School steampunk series for young adults comes out November 5, 2013.


8 thoughts on “Interview: Gail Carriger”

  1. Thank you for a fabulous interview! (“I like to wear spoons, octopus jewelry, and the occasional fake mustache” is one of the most memorable answers we’ve ever had to that question.)

    Have read all of your marvelous books and regularly recommend them. So glad Curtsies and Conspiracies is coming out this week–can’t wait to read it! Many congratulations.


  2. What a great interview. Any woman who wears spoons and a fake mustache is one of our own. I’m a tea drinker, too. We must be British somewhere in our ancestral tree. I love your overall concept for your books. Finishing school reminds me of walking with a book on your head. I could never do it.


  3. Thank you for such a wonderful interview! I tripped and stumbled over your work–one of those times where the online purchasing feature “People who bought this also bought…” worked–and I promptly read the entire Parasol Protectorate series in about three days. There was no sleeping, but the most wonderful reading time! And then I read the series again. I’m thrilled to begin the YA series. It sounds delicious! Do you have a favorite piece of octopus jewelry? And which came first–the jewelry, or the cool octopus theme in the books? Thanks again for stopping by!


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