Sunday, November 8, 2015

"Manners & Mutiny"

Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy in three series: 2 adult, the Parasol Protectorate and the Custard Protocol, and 1 YA, the Finishing School series. Her newest book ends the Finishing School series and is called Manners & Mutiny. Her books are published in 18 different languages. She has 12 New York Times bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, hedgehogs, and tea.

Carriger applied the Page 69 Test to Manners & Mutiny and reported the following:
From page 69:
Vieve glowed. “Recent pamphlets suggest there’s a kind of cosmic mist, no name as yet, but I thought my aunt would appreciate the homage to modern astronomical theory.”

Sophronia was impressed with the artistry and the execution, if not with the resulting style statement. Since Vieve’s shining eyes clearly indicated an expectation of some form of praise, Sophronia said the nicest thing she could think of without lying. “It’s very well made.”

“Do you think my aunt will like it?”

“Does she have anything to go with it?” Sophronia was cautious.

Vieve laughed. “Crikey, no. I do know something about fashionable headgear. No, no. I don’t expect her to wear the wretched thing! It’s a bit of a family joke.”

Sophronia relaxed. “Oh, well, in that case, I think it’s wonderful.”

Vieve’s dimples became more pronounced. She resettled the solar hat into its box and took great pains when strapping it to Sophronia’s back.

“Well, my dear Vieve, amazing work as always. Someday you must allow me to repay you for all you’ve done.”

“Sophronia, ma mie, I’m counting on it.” The girl doffed her hat and strode back toward Bunson’s, hands thrust deep into her pockets, whistling an off-key tune under her breath.
Is page 69 representative of the rest of the book?

Well page 69 turns out to be the last page of a chapter, so it has that aspect of closing down a scene. In that way it certainly isn't reflective of the books pace, which is mostly pretty breakneck. Vieve (a small but mighty inventor) has just shown Sophronia (our main character) an extremely peculiar hat. It is a gift for Vieve' aunt, a rather austere teacher at Sophronia's school. This is a side scene that gives an important glimpse into Vieve's character and a major foreshadow for when she shows up, 20 years later, in Changeless (the second book in my first series). It does show Sophronia's developing relationship with her friends: more accepting of their quirks and their abilities. It also sets up a debt that as yet, in all 12 stories I've written in this universe, I've yet to cash in on.

Would a reader skimming be inclined to read on?

It is very indicative of my style and tone, so I suspect if you're attracted to that, then yes. If you have read my other books, then I think definitely yes because Vieve (and her adult form, Madame Lefoux) is one of my most popular side characters. I believe many loyal readers will be delighted to see her back again in this book, as she wasn't around much in the last one.

One of my favorite things about writing this prequel series was the opportunity to explore Vieve's character further. She's 10 in Etiquette & Espionage (the first Finishing School book) and in her 30s in the Parasol Protectorate series. Throughout both she is charming and a great lover of technology, who is excited by creativity. But in the Finishing School books, I got to write her before her heart is broken and she becomes brittle. In the Parasol Protectorate books, Alexia (the main character) finds Madame Lefoux fascinating, but untrustworthy and for good reason. Sophronia, on the other hand, adores Vieve but doesn't need to trust her. Sophronia is a spy, she doesn't trust anyone. Yet both Sophronia and Vieve are loyal to each other and have a strange kind of integrity. I like the way that the same side character reflects and interrelates differently with my two main characters. This, I hope, tells readers quite a bit about Vieve and how she changes over the years, but also how different Sophronia's view of the world is from Alexia's.
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless.

The Page 69 Test: Changeless.

The Page 69 Test: Waistcoats & Weaponry.

The Page 69 Test: Prudence.

My Book, The Movie: Prudence.

--Marshal Zeringue