Gail Carriger - Steampunk Bard
Gail Carriger is a perfect example of what it means to be steampunk - more than just an author, she is an emblem of the steampunk/cosplay way of life and her career is an example of how something that was once considered a ‘fringe activity’ has become first, a way of earning a living and second, a fulfilling way of life.
Gail Carriger biography
Born Tofa Borregaard, in Bolinas, Gail Carriger had a stellar academic career before she began to publish steampunk. Her first degree was from the prestigious Oberlin College, her Masters in archaeological materials comes from Nottingham University, UK and then an MA in anthropology from the University of California puts her in the category of fiction writers who have an unparalleled knowledge of their field.
When she began to write, like many successful steampunk authors, it was to satisfy a personal desire to inhabit (or ‘dwell’, as steampunkers like to express it) the epochs of history that so fascinated her. She immediately discovered a rich seam of steampunk humour that has made each of her thirteen books into a New York Times best seller.
It’s instructive to look at the categories in which those books have hit the top of the popularity lists because it shows just how much steampunk literature has infiltrated and fused with other forms of literary production so … Gail Carriger has topped the charts in: Children's Series, Combined Print & eBook, eBook, Hardback, Manga, Mass Market, and Young Adult. Like many crossover authors, her work is read by both adults and children and is most often (but not exclusively) found in the YA or Young Adult section of bookshops.
Why we love Gail Carriger
There are many things to adore about this tea-drinking, glove-wearing, based in California but Britain-loving author. One of the key reasons for her success though is the nature of her heroines - Alexia, Sophronia and Prudence are all feisty but fallible, they wise-crack but also crack a little under pressure and above all they are redoubtable. Each of the heroes of Gail Carriger’s three series undergoes substantial character development which allows us to invest in their lives (or unlives, as the case may be) but they also have a delicious, ironic and light-hearted humour which keeps every protagonist fresh in our hearts until the next book in the series.
Other aspects of Miss Carriger
Some facets of Gail Carriger are not so well known. For example, she has her own vintage fashion blog Retrorack where she not only talks about the clothing worn by her characters, and displays her own vintage wardrobe as worn for readings and events, but also gives honest feedback on her own clothing purchases and how they perform - compelling reading for any steampunk or cosplay enthusiast!