1. Who are some of your influences?
My strongest writing influences tend to be authors like Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, and P. G. Wodehouse. I also fall back on the gods of steampunk and urban fantasy, such as Jules Verne or Horace Walpole, and then use farce and comedy to play with the archetypes inherent in each.
2. There are many attributes associated with the octopus, why your fascination with this aquatic chameleon?
Octopodes are smart, cute, crafty, squishy and, when all is said and done, tasty. Can you think of a superior creature?
3. What’s the most positive thing a reader has said about your books?
Readers have been so amazingly kind, I hardly know where to start. I
will say mail from librarians always touches me deeply. I had one email
from a young lady in Bangkok who read one of my books during an
uprising, and it helped her escape the horror. That was an amazing
4. The Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School books have both
werewolves and vampires, what makes your books different from other
There’s no magic. None at all. Instead, Victorian scientists are
struggling to understand vampires, werewolves, and ghosts using the
scientific standards of the day. This results in steampunk gadgets and
crazy theories centered on the existence of the soul. In addition, the
books are very lighthearted in their approach to the supernatural,
possibly even silly (e.g. newly minted vampires suffer from fang–lisp).
5. I've seen your books described as comedy and urban fantasy as
well, but to me, there's a large dollop of mystery as well. What's
generally the impetus for the story, do you begin with the mystery in
I actually don't read mysteries. That was always my parents' thing.
But because of that, I was raised watching BBC mysteries all the time,
so I suppose they leaked in. I'm not very subtle about it. Most of the
time my stories are simply character driven dramas with lots comedy,
and real mystery readers can figure out who done it easily. I don't
consider the mystery the impetus. For me the point is revealing how my
main character figures things out, and how much trouble she gets into as
she does so.
6. These books are very British, to the point where every time I
read the writing, I hear a British person in my head. You seem to be
American, how did this happen?
My mum’s a Brit (it’s probably her voice you hear) and I attended
graduate school in Nottingham and spent summers in Devon as a kid, but
I’m embarrassingly American. My US publisher is pretty strict about
making sure all terms and words are Americanized. I dug in my heels
about a few of the names, but a passing familiarity with Regency
romances or BBC costume dramas is more than sufficient to understand
the humor. I hope my books are filled with the kind of comedy that
crosses cultural boundaries: farce, sarcasm, and indiscriminate
7. Timeless is the last in the Parasol Protectorate series, how did you know it was time to end the series? Will readers get to see more of Alexia et al in the new series?
I'm the kind of reader who will not pick up a series until it is
complete. I've been burned too many times before by a series (or author)
dying early. It's kind of morbid but I wanted to have one completed
series under my belt, just in case. I like to end things, it's very
satisfying. It felt like Alexia's arc was going to settle happily down
at five books, so I stopped there. She and other characters from her
series might show up in the Finishing School or the Parasol Protectorate Abroad but they will not be main characters.
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
|1897 Rouff The Los Angeles County Museum of Art|
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
What Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About Tension
PROJECT ROUND UP
Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third: Edits edits edits.
Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Release date Nov. 5, 2013.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ trade paperback will be available in the US October 13, 2013.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 3: (AKA Blameless) Available serialized through YenPlus. Print edition Nov. 19 2013.
Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Delayed. Why? Begin rewrite in 2014.
BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT on the Parasol Protectorate series!
Please DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!
The Parasol Protectorate
omnibus hardback editions
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
SF Crowsnest says after finishing Blameless, “I still love this series of books, even after reading the three of them, I can’t see that any of them are weak links in the series.”
Quote of the Day:
Labels: faq, interview, shaving the beast