Monday, February 4, 2013

Interview with Author Gail Carriger

As promised at the end of my gushing review of Etiquette & Espionage last week (which you can find here), the amazing and talented Gail Carriger has graced me with an interview! Read on to discover how she compares writing young adult to adult, her favorite (and least favorite) character to write, her Love List Top 3, and a sneak peek at Finishing School Book the Second, Curtsies & Conspiracies

Ms. Carriger's Obligatory Bio
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.

Ms. Carriger's Books
Ms. Carriger made her debut with the 5-book adult paranormal steampunk Parasol Protectorate series (Orbit), an alternate history that incorporates vampires, werewolves, and ghosts into Victorian England (a series I highly recommend, by the way). Her latest release, Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in the Finishing School series (due out February 5, 2013 from Little, Brown) is her first jaunt into young adult, and I for one am very glad she made the trip! It is set in the same world, although about 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate series. To my elation she is also working on another adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad (the first book's release date TBD), also set in the same world but several decades after the first series. The Parasol Protectorate series has also been turned into a Manga series (and a rather steamy one at that) from Yen Press.

You can find Ms. Carriger online at any of these lovely locations:

Website   Blogger   LiveJournal   Twitter   Goodreads

As this interview is mainly about the Finishing School series, I offer you the summary for Book the First, 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 the bane of her mother's existence, more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea -- and God forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, Mrs. Temminnick 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.

Again, you can find my raving review of this book here
and links to purchase Etiquette & Espionage are at the bottom of this post!

And now...

1. What differences did you find in writing young adult as compared to adult?

I worked to create a more youthful and accessible voice, and characters who would grow and change with the books. Sophronia has a different world view than Alexia [Main Character of The Parasol Protectorate series]. She's private and introverted and must become more self actualized along the way by making new friends and discoveries. Her focus is on her immediate environment, less political, more personal.
2. You are currently writing books in both the young adult Finishing School series and adult The Parasol Protectorate Abroad series. On average, which have you found you prefer writing, young adult or adult, and why?

They both have advantages and disadvantages. I like the almost breezy sensation writing YA, and it suits my style as I tend to comfortably finish a story at right about 75k ~ which is YA length. Although I'm finding my YA stuff requires more edit passes than my adult stuff, so it's more back end work. Also, it's harder for me to get into that voice, I'm rather old for it. Alexia and Prudence [Main Character of The Parasol Protectorate Abroad series] are more me as I am now, which is easy to draw on. Sophronia is more me as I was in high school, which is sometimes hard to recall accurately. 
3. Is there anything that you get to do or explore in the young adult series that you can't in your adult series?

Everything about being a teenager is fair game, from first love to a girls first close friendships to the silliness of giddy youth to the hijinks of an individual who believes she is indestructible. 
4. Who was your favorite character to write in Etiquette & Espionage, and why? Who was your least favorite?

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.
5. What is your 
Love List Top 3 for Etiquette & Espionage? 

1. Flying trifle
2. Flying mechanimal sausage dogs
3. Flying cheese pie

6. What are three things we can look forward to in Finishing School Book the Second, Curtsies & Conspiracies?

Travel, romantic travails, and infiltration operations.

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And there you have it! I want to thank Ms. Carriger for doing this interview for me - she took time out of her horribly busy schedule to answer my questions, and I greatly appreciate it. I end with one final resounding recommendation that you pick up Etiquette & Espionage tomorrow from your local independent bookstore, or order it from one of these lovely distributors:

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