I’ve been a fan of Gail Carriger ever since I learned of her first novel, SOULLESS, and saw her post on what authors can expect after they sell their first book. Since then, she’s published a ton of great steampunk novels that are loaded with humor. MANNERS & MUTINY is the fourth and final installment in her Finishing School series for young adults, which began all the way back with ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE:

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.

Gail was also kind enough to answer some interview questions:

When you spoke at the Tucson Festival of Books, you discussed the humor in your novels. You’ve also said, “it is harder to make people laugh than cry.” What do you like most about writing humor, and what do you find most challenging?

I love love love the fact that when people talk about my books they always say how reading them left them smiling. I think it’s a noble quest to bring people joy and I try to do that with my writing. I figure the world is already pretty tough, why add to that with fiction. The hardest part is simply making that happen. Not everyone has the same sense of humor. So I try to include all different kinds of humor in my books from slapstick to wordplay to puns to callback to farce so that someone can find something to laugh at at least once every few pages or so.

You’ve definitely made me laugh multiple times! I love all your books, and the Finishing School series has to be one my favorites. You’ve described Sophronia as a “smart observer of society.” In your newest book, MANNERS & MUTINY, Sophronia’s skills are finally put to the test.  What about her journey has most surprised you, and do you think she’s finally reached self-actualization?

Thank you! Sophronia actually didn’t surprise me much. I was always confident in what path she needed to walk and how she had to mature. It’s very close to my own high school experience, minus the exploding wicker chicken, of course. I think she is as self-actualized as any young woman of that age can be. We all change and keep growing further into ourselves as we mature, or is it that our notion of ourselves is what changes?

Probably some of both–the world changes, and we’re often redefined in our experiences within it. And an exploding wicker chicken or two definitely wouldn’t hurt! As a fellow tea lover, I always have a cup of something hot when I write. When and where did you discover your love affair with tea, and what tea flavor would you pick to have in infinite supply?

My favorite tea is Twinings Gold Label (black box) English Breakfast (or 1706 Strong) imported from the UK. It can be a little pricey, so if I could have an infinite supply it would be preferable.

I’m sure people feel the same way about your books! I just saw the new cover of IMPRUDENCE, and it’s gorgeous:

After going back to Egypt in this book, what worlds are you interested in exploring next?

Well Rue and her crew actually go all the way into Africa to Lake Victoria in this book, and then on to Zanzibar. I don’t know exactly what’s next but I’d love for her to visit Peru and also Japan.

I can’t wait to find out which! Thanks, Gail, for such an excellent interview.

© Vanessa Applegate

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes steampunk comedies of manners to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Miss Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London.

Miss Carriger’s books are published in eighteen different languages. All thirteen of them are New York Times bestsellers via seven different lists (Mass Market, Hardcover, eBook, Combined Print & eBook, Young Adult, Children’s Series, and #1 in Manga). She has received the Alex Award from the American Library Association, the Steampunk Chronicle’s Reader’s Choice Award in YA, and the Prix Julia Verlanger and Elbakin Award from French readers. In 2012 she was honored with a Starburner Award in Literature for her “contributions to the steampunk community.”

To get your velvet-gloved paws on the entire Finishing School series, feel free to click the links below:

Buy:  Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~  IndieBound



Buy:  Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound


Buy:  Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound

Buy:  Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound

And be sure to check out Gail’s other books:

Parasol Protectorate (5 books) 

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)     Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)     Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, #3)      Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, #4)     Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5)

The Parasol Protectorate Manga (3 books)

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga)    Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2    Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 3

The Custard Protocol (2 books)

Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)     Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2)

(images and links ©2015 Goodreads Inc)

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