Writing short stories, even mini-fiction, can’t always be worked into a writing schedule; so for those authors who may not be able to let their characters play in the sand, I’ve invited them to a nighttime beach bonfire to have a drink, listen to the crashing waves, and answer a few questions of my own.
Joining me in the sand is Gail Carriger, author of The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture, the Parasol Protectorate series, the San Andreas Shifter series, and many more!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, something readers may not have heard before?
I can slice a perfectly straight slice of bread – freehand. It is a skill inherited from my carpenter father. Neither of us will ever let anyone else in our households slice bread. (That said, one of the only scars I have comes from slicing bread. It changed the course of my archaeology career for the better… long story.)
Official Bio: I was born in small town California to a British expat gardener with a tea habit and a woodworking Dane who sidelined as a philosophical scribbler. I spent my summers in small town Devonshire, and matured with a burning need to investigate the past and escape to other small towns all around the world. So I became an archaeologist. I ended up back in California with too many advanced degrees, a tea habit inherited from my mother, a scribbling habit inherited from my father, and a dreadful penchant for gadding off to foreign countries in hot pursuit of fascinating ancient artifacts – dragging both habits ruthlessly in my wake.
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Can you introduce us to the world(s) that you have created?
My steampunk Parasolverse contains multiple series: The Parasol Protectorate features a proper Victorian spinster who has no soul. It has been turned into graphic novels and optioned for TV. It also includes the YA Finishing School series which follows a young lady secretly recruited to an all-girls seminary for spies. My Delightfully Deadly stories follow these young ladies grown up. In the Custard Protocol series a crack (or possibly cracked) dirigible crew get into trouble around the Empire on behalf of queen, country, and tea.
As G.L. Carriger, I write the San Andreas Shifter books depicting a whimsical San Francisco full of sexy queer shape shifters.
I have a sci-fi universe, the Tinkered Stars, which includes books and a full cast audio production.
I’ve also written nonfiction, The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture.
Will this be your first Coastal Magic or are you a veteran?
This will be my first.
What was your inspiration when you created your characters and the worlds they live in?
I love the ridiculous, in life, in literature, in television. Like most authors, I find myself borrowing from any or all of these places when building characters. I don’t like to be too stereotypical, if you continue to read my books you will find I have built up some archetypes initially that I take great glee in tearing apart in subsequent books. I do find myself, now, stopping in the middle of a book or a movie I’m enjoying, stepping back and thinking: “I really love/hate this character, why? What qualities annoy/amuse me? What’s the trick?” It can get a bit aggravating, because it’s hard to simply immerse myself and be entertained these days.
Do you have a favorite character? Do you find that readers agree or disagree with your view?
I adore Lord Akeldama because he is so deliciously fun – all that mad italic-wielding action. He seems to be an instrument of my subconscious so he is also very easy to write, I just let him do whatever he wants. Many readers do seem to agree with me.
I like him so much he started an advice column on my blog, Dear Lord Akeldama.
Is there any part of your series, any of your series, world(s) that you would like to expand on in the future?
Almost all of them. Once I start writing a world, or universe, it becomes a sandbox for ideas, new characters, and stories. I am like this terribly voracious fanfic author, only for my own stuff.
How do you take our world and build something fantastical from it? How do you turn our reality into fantasy?
Well, I write a lot of steampunk which is kind of like an alternate history. But I don’t write so much alt-history as re-explained history. I wanted certain key historical events to stay in place. Most major wars and battles are still there, but the reasons behind them are different. I wanted to take the same tactic with the most ridiculous aspects of Victorian fashion as well. High cravats? Hide vampire bite marks. Confining bustle-skirts and heeled boots? Keeps your prey from moving too fast.
I’ve long been troubled by certain quirks of history that seem never adequately explained. The most confusing of these is Victorian England and how one tiny island with abysmal taste in food, excellent taste in beverages, and a penchant for poofy dresses suddenly managed to take over most of the known world. How did one tiny island manage to conquer an empire upon which the sun never set? I decided that the only possible answer was that England openly accepted supernatural creatures, and put them to good use, while other countries continued persecution. This led me to postulate that King Henry’s breach with the Church was over open acceptance of vampires and werewolves into society (the divorce thing was just a front). This gave Great Britain a leg up dealing with messy little situations like winning major foreign battles or establishing an efficient bureaucracy or convincing the world cricket is a good idea. Suddenly, everything made sense: cravats cover bite marks, the British regimental system is clearly based on werewolf pack dynamics, and pale complexions are in vogue because everyone wants to look like the trend-setting vampires.
What was it about your worlds that made you want to share them with everyone?
I want to make people smile. I’d much rather make people laugh than cry. I want my readers to end the book feeling joyful – the real world is depressing enough without my help.
When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you and/or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why?
Mostly gay and fantasy romance. I’m a big TJ Klune fan. Also Robin Lefevers and Grace Draven. Romance readers don’t seem to know Vaughn’s Warprize series, and they should. It’s brilliant.
Do you have a geek side? Explain with examples.
Uh, yes. Talk to me about Thai BL, motorcycles, ancient foodways, experimental eating, or ceramic artifact analysis and kiln technology sometime. Also I will talk your ear off regarding La Femme Nika, Leverage, or Killjoys.
Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
The Red Thread by LazySheep. It’s a freaking brilliant use of reincarnation in romance. You can watch it as a Thai drama adaptation under the name Until We Meet Again.
If you could be any fantasy creature/person/magical thing, what would you be? Why?
A dratsie, which is an otter shifter. Best of all worlds. I love swimming and the super power i always wanted was to breathe underwater. Being an otter shifter is almost as good. I put a dratsie character named Trick into my San Andreas Shifter series.
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 40 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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