Five Questions for Gail Carriger About Divinity 36

My friend Gail Carriger is a New York Times best-selling author of books for adults (the Parasol Protectorate series, among others) and YA (the Finishing School series). Her trademarks — and sweet spots — are feisty protagonists, witty dialogue, wildly imaginative sci-fi/fantasy world building, and humor. She has published traditionally and independently, and her latest book, Divinity 36, is a self-pubbed YA sci-fi space opera that kicks off the Tinkered Starsong series. 

1. You've written for adults and YA. Why YA for this series?

How to explain? It just felt like it should be YA. Phex's journey is one of self discovery and finding his place (and his people) in the universe. Certainly this is something we can go through at any point in life, but it settled better into YA. Also, since this is about a connection between performance and power, featuring the interlaced struggles of popularity and celebrity, it felt like it spoke more to a younger audience who often find their first true passion in music.

2. What do you say to people with anti-sci-fi reading bias?
Sometimes in order to explore the human condition and find joy we have to take to the stars. For a long time over the past few years I struggled to write, and to read; it wasn't until I realized I needed to leave Earth that anything made sense. Perhaps, if the world isn't working for you right now, you too might need to travel off planet for a little while.

3. In your experience, what are some pros and cons to self-publishing?

Simply put, for me the biggest pro is all the control we authors get over every detail of the publishing process...of course, that is also the biggest con.

4. If a librarian wants to bring this series into their collection, what's the best way?

The series is available through Overdrive (Libby) for digital and via Ingram for print. Honestly, it's the best us indies are allotted. But you can always reach out to me via my website. I adore libraries (was pretty much raised by one, to be perfectly frank), so I am vested in trying to help any branch get any of my books in stock.

5. As I can personally attest: some of your characters share your traits and interests and others decidedly do not. Is it easier/more enjoyable to write one than the other?

I think I have the most fun writing characters that each reflect different elements of my own personality — for example, the snarky grump versus the silly cinnamon roll. Putting these two together in a band (with a bunch of suspicious aliens) and watching them become friends is like reconciling two very disparate parts of myself. Also, contrast is always fun to write...and aliens. Aliens are a blast. (Photo by Vanessa Applegate)

Gail Carriger is the author of over a dozen New York Times bestsellers with over a million books in print. Her latest YA space opera series begins with Divinity 36, and is about the transportive power of art, fame, and warm beverages.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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