Oh and to celebrate the release of book three I have a little interview to share with you all. Enjoy getting to know Gail Carriger and the Parasol Protectorate Series. Make sure to add the books to your wish list or even better add them to your shopping cart!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your Parasol Protectorate Series?
Gail – Thank you for having me to visit. The Parasol Protectorate books feature Alexia Tarabotti, soulless, autocratic Victorian harridan, and her increasingly eccentric group of friends. Alexia is prone to charging about London, then across England, and eventually through Europe on her quest to foil various evil plots. She is assisted, and sometimes hindered, in her endeavors by a band of scruffy werewolf soldiers, a cadre of gay vampires, a cross-dressing female inventor, and a very silly best friend with a predilection for atrocious hats.
Amber - I have had the pleasure of reading the first two books in the series. Soulless and Changeless were two of my favourite reads so far this year. How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?
Gail - The simple fact is: this was what I wanted to read. I like steampunk but it tends to be a little too dark and riddled with technobabble for me. I enjoy urban fantasy but am not wild about a modern setting. So I thought I might just combine the two, and then shake it up with a jot more romance and a whole lot of comedy. Then I started thinking about what kind of world could accommodate all these different elements. I'm familiar with the Victorian era and I find it a rich source of amusement in and of itself. Those ridiculous fashions and that obsession with etiquette seem the perfect time period to drop in vampires (dictating such things) and werewolves (chaffing against them) not to mention steam technology. It seemed to me that what comedy I couldn't supply with plot and character, an alternate Victorian London could provide just by being itself. The whole idea for the first book came to be really quickly, within the space of a week.
Amber - Book three in the series, Blameless, is out soon. What can we expect from the next installment?
Gail – This one is high adventure, Alexia is being chased across Europe, encountering rude German scientists in appalling sleepwear, and battling legions of French mustaches.
Amber - Is Victorian Britain a time and place you have always been interested in? Did you have to do much research about the era for the books?
Gail - As much as I love the Victorian era my areas of expertise were limited to things such as fashion, manners, food, and the antiquities market. I had to do a lot of research into the science and technology of the day. I also looked into vampire and werewolf lore. It's remarkable what obscure detail one suddenly needs to know as a writer. Most recently, I had to figure out what kind of small gun a gentleman might sport in 1841, and what the political climate was like in Italy in 1875. Even if it doesn't make it into the book, it will irritate me if unwritten background information is flawed.
Amber - Alexia has been involved in some very interesting paranormal adventures so far. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book?
Gail – Mostly I'm interested in revealing more and more about the world Alexia inhabits. Her adventures, as a result, tend to highlight certain aspects of supernatural life and society as the series progresses, and also reveal more and more about her own mysterious preternatural powers.
Amber - Will there be more books in the series? How long would you like to see things continue for Alexia? Do you see an end in sight?
Gail - Currently the Parasol Protectorate includes five books, 1. Soulless (2009), 2. Changeless (2010), 3. Blameless (2010), 4. Heartless (2011), and 5. Timeless (2012). I am 90% certain Alexia and Conall's story will end there. I don't see this as a Butcher, Hamilton, or Harris situation. I do love the world, though. So I'd like to explore 20 years after the Parasol Protectorate series, possibly in an American Old West steampunk setting. Or possibly 20 years before, with the more intellectual espionage side of early steampunk (beware the Picklemen). I'm hoping to write a single book about Alexia's father, mostly because it's becoming increasingly necessary to know his back-story. And, of course, there are always short stories.
Amber - How do you pick the names of your characters? Are they just names you like, people you know or do they have some other meaning?
Gail - On a very few occasion the character will choose his/her own name (Alexia was always going to be Alexia). But most of the time my names are cookies, that is: a reward for the careful reader. The name either tells readers something about the character, where he came from, her real identity, his true purpose, her future place in society; or the name relates to someone historical (Tarabotti), or is some kind of hint or foreshadow. I love names so I always play with them if possible.
Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Do you write full-time?
Gail - I always wanted to be an archaeologist, writing was rather more like breathing, just something I did. It was only with Soulless that I realized I might actually have a career as a writer. I still haven't recovered from the shock. I currently write full time, but that is a condition subject to change without notice.
Amber - If the series was going to be made into a TV Series or Film who could you see playing the lead characters?
Gail - I used to like Claudia Black for Alexia, but the more I watch Leverage, the more I like the idea of Gena Bellman. I've always seen Sean Bean (with died hair and contacts) as Lord Maccon. I wrote Lord Akeldama thinking about Richard Chamberlain from Slipper and the Rose, but I'd love to see Paul Bettany play him.
Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?
Gail - I love Tanya Huff's Valor series. I'll read anything Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or Susan Cooper write. Some of my all time favorite books include: _The Forgotten Beasts of Eld_ by Patricia McKillip, _The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy_ by Douglas Adams, and _The Eyre Affaire_ by Jasper Fforde.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Gail – I'd probably be a vampire queen, I kind of have that aura. If I could pick? Mermaid, no question. I've always wanted to be able to breathe under water.
Amber - Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you will visit the blog again someday!
Gail – Thank you for hosting me.
The Parasol Protectorate Series Reviews
1 - Soulless
2 - Changeless
3 - Blameless (Currently Reading)