Interview: Gail Carriger, author of Etiquette and Espionage

The lovely Gail Carriger is the author of the wonderful Parasol Protectorate series, and her newest novel, Etiquette and Espionage (the first of a new YA series), just came out yesterday! Gail was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book,and more!

3GailCarrigerCreamGail, your newest book, Etiquette and Espionage is written for a YA audience, but takes place in the same world as your Parasol Protectorate series. What made you decide to write a young adult novel?
YA is my favorite genre to read – I find it a joy and so easy to gobble up. So, I’ve always wanted to write YA. When I got the opportunity, I jumped at it. I like the almost breezy sensation of writing this age bracket. I believe it suits my style, as I tend to comfortably finish a story at right about 75k ~ which is YA length.

Most people assume that an author’s favorite character to write is their main character? Was Sophronia your favorite in Etiquette and Espionage or did you have another that you particularly enjoyed bringing to life?
I like them all, and Sophronia is my favorite, but Bumbersnoot is a joy to write as is Dimity. Soap is a challenge as is Monique, for exactly the opposite reason, but also because of Sophronia’s ambiguous feelings toward both of them.

etiquetteAll of your books have a distinctly “steampunk” flavor. Why do you think the genre has become so popular recently?
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. I believe it has immense escapist appeal. With the economy in chaos, steampunk offers up an alternative lifestyle of sedate civilized behavior where everyone (whether truthfully or not) knows where they belong.

What are some of your favorite “steampunk” inspired books?
I really love Steampunk graphic novels like the League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Girl Genius.

If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip

What are you reading now?
Richard Holmes’s Sahib: The British Soldier in India. I’m usually reading non-fiction, researching the next book.

You recently wrapped up your Parasol Protectorate series with Timeless. Was that tough for you?
I had this sense of listlessness when I ended the series. It was a little like breaking up with a partner I still loved, plus loosing friends through time and distance, plus ending a long vacation away. Which would make it, I suppose, somewhat like the end of college.

Victorian “rules” of etiquette play a large part in your writing. What’s one of your favorite etiquette tips?
I love the language of fans, parasols, and flowers. They never fail to amuse. I also adore the rules of dancing and introduction. Of course, there is also table manners. Really, there’s very few I don’t enjoy they are all so ridiculous.

What’s next for you this year?
First up, I have a book tour for Etiquette & Espionage . Then Curtsies & Conspiracies, the second Finishing School book, comes out at the end of this year! Right now, I’m revisingPrudence, the first book in a new adult series, the Parasol Protectorate Abroad. That comes out next year. After revisions, I’ll start writing Waistcoats & Weaponry which is the third in the Finishing School series.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!)?
I’ll be at all sorts of conventions and events this year and I love meeting readers so please come if you possibly can. I’m even traveling to France in the spring, squee! I’ve never been.
Keep up with Gail: Website | Twitter

etiquetteAbout Etiquette & Espionage:
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.


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