Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gail Carriger

From Gail Carriger's Q & A at The Book Whisperer:

Where did you come up with the idea of vampires and werewolves prowling the streets of Victorian London?

It’s a ruthless vehicle to explain history’s greatest mystery: How did one tiny island manage to conquer an empire upon which the sun never set? I decided that the only possible answer was that England openly accepted supernatural creatures, and put them to good use, while other countries continued persecution. This gave Great Britain a leg up dealing with messy little situations like winning major foreign battles or establishing an efficient bureaucracy or convincing the world cricket is a good idea. It so very Victorian to take a stance the equivalent of, “Ah yes, vampires, jolly good chaps, excellent fashion sense, always polite, terribly charming at cards, we just won’t mention that little neck biting habit.”

What research did you do on London under the rule of Queen Victoria?

I had a fair bit of expertise in certain aspects of the era (fashion, food, manners, literature, theatre, upper class courting rituals, antiquities collecting) when I started but great gaps in other areas that I quickly realized needed to be filled. I spent a lot of time researching the gadgetry and technology of the day, travel and communications techniques, medical and hard science advances, not to mention other things like major wars and military strategies, configuration of army regiments, geographical lay out of London in the 1870s (shops and streets names), newspapers, and government policies. That’s the thing, you never know what information you are going to need until you need it, and inevitably the internet doesn’t have it. Since I’m writing alt history I can always disregard the facts, but I like to get it right first, before I mess with it. Most people won’t care to look up the details (or get it wrong by confusing my setting with Austen or mid-Victorian, I’m specifically 1773) but it will...[read on]
Visit Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless.

--Marshal Zeringue