An Interview with Gail Carriger

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Gail Carriger Standing

Photo: J. Daniel Sawyer

New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urban fantasy. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award. The following books were all bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is currently working on her young adult (YA) fiction  Finishing School series, and her adult Custard Protocol series. She is overly fond of tea. (Bio courtesy of

The Pandora Society will have the pleasure of hosting this talented writer as one of the guests of honor at the International Steampunk Symposium MMXV in April. Our guest was also good enough to sit down for an interview while we wait for the festivities to begin. So take a seat, pour some tea, and enjoy a chat with the exceptional Gail Carriger.




Me: After three series of books, are you happy to continue in the world of alternate history you’ve crafted, or are you peeking into other universes?

Gail Carriger: I really like playing in my already established sandbox, there’s something fun about expanding an existing world both temporally and spatially. I do also write other stuff. I have a YA audiobook that’s science fiction, for example, called Crudrat.


Me: Although you had plenty of travel-related escapades before achieving full time writing status, what new kinds of exploration have you enjoyed (or not) since your travels became more book-related?

Gail Carriger: I really love eating, so I’ve been enjoying trying different foods all over the country and in different parts of the world. I’ve gotten to visit places because of my books that wouldn’t have been on my radar as an archaeologist: like Australia, New Zealand, France, and Germany. I also love meeting steampunk fandom in all its many guises, noticing the differences and enjoying the similarities.


Photo: Robert Andruszko

Photo: Robert Andruszko


Me: Have you ever used research for a story as an excuse to try something?

Gail Carriger: Oh yes! I took a hot air balloon ride for my birthday which was awesome. It was so useful for research and I am so glad I went. I rather shocked the other floaters by asking the captain about mounting cannons on the edge and how fast we would fall if I actually did pull the vent-cord marked “do not pull.” Crazy author beast. However, notes I took on that trip got used in Timeless, all the Finishing School books, and my new Custard Protocol book, Prudence. Here’s a blog post I did on the ride:


Me: Which would be a greater disaster – if the world ran out of books, or if the world ran out of tea?

Gail Carriger: That is the hardest question I have ever been asked. Can I write new books, or is imagination just dead? Probably books. After all, books are my livelihood. I can drink coffee, I just prefer not to.


Photo: Vanessa Applegate

Photo: Vanessa Applegate

Me: Lots of authors have FAQ/Interview sections on their websites, but you have the longest list of previously asked interview questions I have ever seen. Only two thirds – at most – have to do with writing at all. What, do you think, makes people want to ask you so very many questions? Is it a conspiracy or the latest parlor game?

Gail Carriger: I don’t know. Perhaps it’s not only me and all authors get asked. I just happen to keep track of all the questions? Actually it was Simon Green who gave me the idea.

Me: Many of our readers will be seeing you at the International Steampunk Symposium! Is there anything they should know beforehand?

Gail Carriger: Nope. Only that I love meeting people and you should come up and say hi.


We hope you’ve enjoyed your tea. If you’d like to learn more about Gail Carriger and her work, please visit her website! If you would like to meet her, be sure to attend the Symposium this spring!

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