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Silliest Questions

Why don't you have an English accent?
I'm not actually British. My mum is an expat, I spent many a summer in Devon, several months in London, and two years in Nottingham. I'd put one on for you, but my fake accent is really bad.

First, besides eating your cat, what is your zombie plan?
I have this vague idea of escaping to Alcatraz, depending on whether the zombies can go under water or not. Otherwise, I think heading out to the coast to some obscure fishing village would be a pretty good plan. Isolated, ready food source, and one can always take to the ocean if necessary.

If you could be any element on the periodic table, which would you be and why?
Helium. Because I'm a rare noble gas that makes people squeak on a regular basis.

What's the hardest question you've ever been asked?
What's your favorite fruit?

Have you ever been fishing for octopus? What's your favorite way to eat them?
I've never fished for them, but I do love the story one of my professors told of his Greek fishing village and the treatment of octopuses there. Apparently, they slap them against the streets to tenderize them and hang them out on clotheslines. "You know you're in Greece," he used to say, "When you wake up to the sound of an octopus being slapped of a morning." My favorite way to eat them is Greek style ~ grilled with lemon, olive oil, and fresh oregano. Heaven.

Thus far, have you been able to get through an interview without the word "steampunk" coming up?
Nope. But then, why would I want to?

What's one random tidbit about yourself?
I find endless comedic enjoyment in the ridiculous: the Westminster Dog Show, rubber animals, string cheese, squid, that kind of thing.

What's your biggest pet peeve?
That jiggly leg thing particularly prevalent in men, or any similar hand tapping, twitching, etc. It drives me absolutely bonkers. I've been known to go up to perfect strangers and stress the delicacy and skill required to sit bloody STILL. With friends, I'll put my hand on said leg and then slowly but surely start digging the nails in until it stops.

Give us one embarrassing author moment:
I arrived for my very first in-person meeting with my agent with the back of my dress unzipped. Sigh. The moral of this story? Always travel with a lady's maid. The moral of the moral? Sell enough books to afford a lady's maid.

What will you name the three monkey butlers we're sending you for Christmas this year?
Eeek, Oook, and Ni. Because I am 1. afraid of monkeys, 2. enamored of Terry Pratchett's Librarian, and 3. a Monty Python fan.

What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
Project Runway, closely followed by Trader Joe's Paneer Tikka Masala and Marie Claire magazine. Sometimes I can be found indulging in all three at once.

Be honest. How often do you wear your Victorian and Steampunk clothes around the house, just for yourself?
Dahling, who says I wear anything around the house when I'm by myself? Honestly though, I only wear full on Victorian costumes for appropriate events. I wear steampunk jewelry and little touches of steampunk garb most of the time when I'm going out (jodhpurs, brass deconstructed necklaces, vests, old-fashioned style blouses, button boots).

Do you name each of your parasols?
Nope. I name my machines, but not my clothing or accessories. The car is Chanterelle, the bike is Carmen, the computer is Pippin, and the iPod is Gherkin.

Can you tell us something about you we can’t see on your website?
I'm famous amongst my friends for a certain breakfast item called the "eggy cup."

What's your D&D Alignment?
Somewhere between Neutral Good and Chaotic Good last time I checked.

Any favorite vampires from lit, film, or TV?
I don't think he really counts, but I love Dorian Gray. I have a real soft spot for Mina Murray in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman graphic novel series and I adore the character of Drusilla on Buffy. Not to sneak in werewolves, but I was turned to the furry side by Klause's brilliant YA novel Blood and Chocolate.

Has your sense of humor ever gotten you into trouble?
More times than I can possibly count. I always think I'm hilarious and I will open my big mouth at the most inopportune times. Bubbly, let me just say, does not help with this problem.

Inside the Actors Studio: 10-questions

1. What is your favorite word?
Kumquat.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Compromise.

3. What turns you on?
Efficiency

4. What turns you off?
Slovenliness

5. What sound do you love?
The pop noise you can make with your finger and your cheek.

6. What sound do you hate?
Screaming children.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
Bollix

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Dancing

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything to do with bad smells.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Good God, who let you in?


FAQ

FAQ

The most frequently asked questions ~ all in one place! Please check here before you email Gail. Thank you.


FAQ BOOKS

1. What's next for Gail?
The Parasol Protectorate series has ended. Gail is writing a 4 book young adult series set in the same universe, 22 years earlier, the Finishing School series. The first book, Etiquette & Espionage, was released Feb. 2013. The second book, Curtsies & Conspiracies, was released Nov. 2013. The next book in the Finishing School series, Waistcoats & Weaponry is expected out in 2014, which will be followed by Manners & Mutiny expected in 2015. She is also writing the Custard Protocol adult series, 25 years (or so) after the 5 Alexia books. The first of these, Prudence, releases in 2015. Read the press release.

2. What about the manga?
The graphic novels include Soulless Vol. 1 (aka, Soulless), Soulless Vol. 2 (aka Changeless), and Soulless Vol. 3 (aka Blameless). You can read Gail's post about the release of Vol. 3 and why it's likely to be the last.

3. Will there be more of the Alexia Tarabotti Parasol Protectorate series ?
No. Gail has ended the series with Timeless. (Blog posts One & Two on the subject.) However, some of your favorite characters show up in both of her new series. One of the great things about writing with immortals is that they are immortal. If you feel like she left a lot unanswered, she suggests you go back and reread all 5 as a set. There are a lot of cookies, Easter eggs, hints, and threads that will make more sense in earlier books now that you know the end.

4. What about the ebook?
Ebooks (for copyright reasons) come out on the official actual release date for the associated territories. (Please note, on Amazon, because the physical books require time to ship, the "release" may be days earlier than Kindle. This is not Gail's policy, it is Amazon's.) If the ebook isn't available in the format you want, you'll need to contact your e-vendor, NOT Gail. Why You Can’t Buy An eBook in English Outside the U.S.

5. How do I get an ARC of the next book?
Orbit US's publicist sometimes offer early review copies. All necessary information is on their website. For the Finishing School YA series, please contact Little Brown. Out of sensitivity to her publisher it is not Gail's policy to give out contact information not already available through press channels. No, Gail cannot email you an e-version, she blogs about why here.

E&E

6. Audiobooks?
Recorded Books produced first 3 Parasol Protectorate books. Hachette Audio produced Heartless & Timeless with the same reader. Last we checked all were up on Audible in the US. The CDs are difficult to find, sorry. Audiobooks for the Finishing School series should release to Audible in the US within a month of print release. No information yet on the Custard Protocol books. For information on the audiobooks in the UK, please check the Audio FAQ.

7. Could Gail suggest something else to read while I wait?
Similar in tone if not in specifics are two gaslight fantasies ~M.K. Hobson's The Native Star or Wrede & Stevermer's Sorcery & Cecelia. She has a full blog post with further suggestions.

8. Can I get a signed copy/bookplate?
Show up at any of Gail's events she's always delighted to sign. Or contact Borderlands Books in San Francisco (888.893.4008) for signed books. You will have to pay shipping and there may be a delay if Gail hasn't visited them recently. Gail does not supply bookplates, nor does she have ephemera (swag) as a general rule.

9. What age group best suits Gail's books?
Gail's youngest (known) reader is 10 and her oldest 95. For the Parasol Protectorate books, however, she suggests 14 and up. The language is Victorian in tone but modernized to be more comfortable than, for example, Dickens might be for a young reader. While Soulless did win an Alex Award it is not intentionally young adult. There is violence (generally comical) and nookie (not overly explicit) so if you are concerned please skim through the text first yourself. The Finishing School books should definitely suit readers 10 and up.

10. How long does it take to write these books?
About 8 months.

11. Why isn't the language (vocabulary, syntax, spelling) proper Queen's English? (AKA the ladybird issue)
The original English language editions of the Parasol Protectorate books came out for Orbit US. House rules require American language, spelling, and grammar. The same text is used for the UK editions. The UK editions of the other two series will be anglicized, we hope, although time constraints apply.

Soulless

12. How did Soulless get its cover?
There were gankings, surprise Facebookings, and unexpected Gothic supermodels. See this exciting blog entry for the full story.

13. Can you tell us whether there will be a movie or TV show?
We can only tell you that the Parasol Protectorate books have been optioned. Gail blogs for My Book the Movie on the subject of casting. She also put the role of Alexia up to the vote. Nothing yet on the other series.

14. How does Gail feel about fan fiction?
She has a blog on that as well as fan art/make. She loves cosplay.

15. How do you pronounce the names in these books?
There is a blog on that too, and a lively discussion. Here is a direct link on how to say Sophronia.


FAQ AUTHOR

16. Gail, will you help me with (or contribute to) my blog contest/promo interview/art project/research paper/homework/etc...?
Gail's policy is only to review products or books that she has bought for herself and that she genuinely adores.
Gail discusses her charitable contributions here. Please do not ask her to publicly endorse a charity or sign a petition, on Facebook or other public forums. She prefers to keep such activities private.
For other requests, have you read this entire website? Please, try that first. Then contact her with exactly what you would like and what kind of time commitment is required including deadline. Do not do this over Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter. Please be aware that ARC distribution is via her publishers only. You will have to go through the normal press channels to receive one.
Gail is usually happy to do an interview of 10 questions or less, so long as it is not video. She always needs at least three weeks.
Gail will not write your book report or homework for you. She used to be a teacher and she can smell a cheat a mile off. Don't try it. No, really don't.

17. Will Gail come to my local convention or bookstore?
Whether Gail visits your event rides on many factors.
A. Has she recently been to your area? Since her books are published all over the world and she only does one event a month, she tries to be as fair as possible and visit as many different places as she can.
B. Has she recently done a similar event? She tries to spread the 12 events she does a year evenly: book tours, overseas tours, steampunk cons/gatherings, large SF/F cons, small SF/F cons, writing workshops, industry expos, library appearances.
C. Has the event/bookstore invited her? Most conventions run on a tight budget and can only fly Guests of Honor. Here's her blog post on the subject.

18. What's Gail's educational background?
She has a BA with Honors in Archaeology, an MA in Anthropology, and an MS with Distinction in Materials Archaeology. This used to cause her to travel a lot and be overly concerned with research. Now writing alt history has exactly the same result.

19. How similar is Gail's personality to Alexia's or Sophronia's?
Gail fully admits to sharing some traits with her main characters but there are other characters she feels also closely resemble her own behavior patterns. You are welcome to guess which. Should you ever meet Gail in person, you will be left in very little doubt.

Twinings
Twining English Breakfast Tea

20. What's Gail's favorite type of tea?
Twining gold label (black box) English Breakfast imported from the UK. It is stronger and milder in flavor than the American (or red box) version. She takes it milky but strong with no sweetener. How does she brew the perfect pot?

21. What's with the cat?
Like many authors, Gail once kept in attendance a fat tabby. This cat was obsessed with licking new books. Gail felt it impolite to ask why. She referred to the beastie, rather indelicately, as the Chubby F*cker. This tabby was trained to use the human toilet but did not flush. Never train a cat to flush.
Gail recently came under new ownership. Lilliput is a young female tux with lots of character, she fetches and does tricks like sitting, jumping, and hugging on command. She is also being trained to use the human toilet. We will let you know how it goes.

lilli Twinings
Lilliput & Parasol and Gail & The Chubby F*cker

22. And the parasol obsession?
You would prefer Gail be obsessed with something else?