Gail Carriger is one of my favorite authors to read, as well as interview. If you haven’t yet subscribed to her newsletter, you should absolutely do so here: http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup. I also featured her here and here.
Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office’s best and most decorative fixer. She’s sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.
Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.
Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.
In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.
In our last interview, you said, “I often hit up against misuse of historical terminology or fashion or food in steampunk or alt history stuff.” What is something you’ve recently watched or read that has “hit” you in this way? Conversely, what’s a book you read recently that you really enjoyed?
Ah well, I actually did a whole blog post about this. I’ve been watching a lot of Jane Austen recently (it’s a comfort for me) and I keep noticing lack of gloves and undone hair. Very annoying. So annoying, in fact, I wrote a blog about it. https://gailcarriger.com/2020/04/03/my-biggest-gripes-with-austen-movies-miss-gail-recommends/
Yes, I have similar issues with period dramas that use modern vernacular. On a more positive note, I loved learning Dimity stars in DEFY OR DEFEND, after getting to know her in the Finishing School series. In what ways does her story expand the Parasolverse?
It’s similar in that you get to see the girls from my Victorian spy Finishing School series, all grown up and being tricky. Lord Akeldama shows up, as per usual. And there is a love story as well as a bit of a mystery and some espionage. In fact, I really think anyone could pick up Defy or Defend without any other knowledge of my Parasolverse or familiarity with my books. It stands completely on it’s own.
I’m glad newcomers can enjoy it too, but as a fan of the Finishing School series, I can’t wait (at least Poison or Protect is already out)! What do you feel are the necessary elements of a good story?
Character appeal and development tends to be what I read for. One of the reasons I like YA so much. The other thing I look for is pacing. Plot, for me, is less important so long as the pacing is good. I can happily read a story about a party where there is very little action and not a lot happens but if the dialogue is good, the characters are fun, and interactions between characters are snappy, I am riveted. Especially if it’s also funny.
Yes, I’m finding I’m going toward lighter and funnier reads all the time, especially now. In light of the recent COVID-19 situation, what do you feel has been most helpful for you as an author and why?
Actually this is a weird one, but I am an analytical person who loves spreadsheets. I find processing data very reassuring. So even though I haven’t been feeling very creative, I have been happily processing sales data, posting silly polls, exploring key words and comp titles, and doing the kind of thing that generates data I can play with. I find it soothing and reassuring.
And be sure to check out Gail’s other books: