The BL Xpress Talks To Best Selling Author G.L.Carriger

We were lucky enough to get a chance to interview popular author G.L Carriger.

Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with steampunk and urban fantasy (plus sexy queer joy as G. L. Carriger). Miss Gail’s novels have been published in dozens of languages and have made the New York Times, USA Today, and Locus Bestseller lists multiple times. She has received the Prix Julia Verlanger, the Elbakin Award, the Steampunk Chronicle‘s Reader’s Choice Award, and a Starburner Award. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and Romantic Times. As G.L. Carriger, she writes the San Andreas Shifter books depicting a whimsical San Francisco full of sexy gay shape shifters and found family. Join us in our conversation as Ms. Gail talks about the thought process involved in the making of each of her novels and upcoming book releases!

1) Your novels mostly have a central character that might seem weak but with the passage of time, they grow to be strong characters. It could be Max from The Sumage Solution, Isaac from The Omega Objection or Colin from The Enforcer Enigma? How did you conceptualize these characters?

Oh, what an interesting question. I suppose because of my love YA narratives, everything I write has a bit of a self discovery chassis – finding one’s place, finding one’s friendship group, building a family. It’s one of the elements I enjoy seeing in BLs as well.

2) Your first dive into the LGBTQ genre “Marine Biology” is a sweet romance between a werewolf and a merman. What did you have in mind, while creating the San Francisco Bay Area universe?

That one has a fun history. I was asked to write a short for the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, a long time ago now. I said I would only do it if I could write queer, basically using name recognition muscle to convince them (historically that’s not the franchise’s preference). The characters, Alec & Marvin, jumped into my head in this very fun silly manner. I also thought it would be entertaining to explore the fact that Alec isn’t really in the closet as a gay man, but as an Alpha werewolf. I love subverting the tropes of sub genres, especially with short stories.

3) “The Sumage Solution” is one of my favorite novels. The storyline promises an intriguing romance between a beta werewolf and a mouthy mage? Totally opposite characters. How did you envision this romance?

That book is all Max’s fault. I love a flawed emotionally damaged character with self worth issues who’s secretly quite powerful. Sticking a self defensive snark-factory main character into a supernatural DMV is just how my mind works. Sumage is meant to sound a bit like sewage because Max is basically a mage who cleans up other mage’s messes. I also love massive grumpy cinnamon role characters, hence Max’s love interest. It’s a pairing that makes it easy to redeem a tsundere character. Finally, my traditionally published books tend to be historical set comedies of manners, but Max has a foul mouth and talks before he thinks, it was fun to write blue for a change.

4) I really loved Tank’s caricature in “The Omega Objection”. His gentle nature is like a balm to Issac, who has spent most of his life on the run. What’s so unique about this love story?

Hum, well if you want to go with BL terms this book is an intentional subversion of the seme/uke dynamic of yaoi mangas. I chose to make Tank, who is aptly named, a submissive character, and Isaac, who should be the broken fragile one, a dominant. I wanted to play with the idea of what it means to want to give yourself wholeheartedly into the care of another person, and the kind of trust that requires, but also how the responsibility of care can be a blessing for the one who undertakes stewardship.

5) “The Enforcer Enigma” projects delicate issues like abandonment, social contempt and rejection. The main characters have to overcome various insecurities to reach their “Happily Ever After”. How did this book involving an enforcer and a nerd materialize?

I was really interested in exploring themes of isolation and alienation, especially as a result of longevity. Since I write with creatures who are, if not immortal, at least long lived, I’ve always been concerned over the repercussions on the psyche that the constant loss of outliving those around you leaves behind. Judd was an opportunity to explore that. I always knew Colin was going to be his pairing because Judd is really the only person who can intimately understand the depth of societal rejection that Colin fears.

6) Found family is a prudent theme throughout the “San Andreas Shifters Series”. What made you bring this band of misfits together?

Exactly that, really. One of the reasons I gravitate to werewolves is the (positive) pack mentality that’s endemic to this particular supernatural creature. It strikes me as a natural synergy for the various geeky and queer (and geeky queer) families (and fandom’s) that have formed in my own life. This idea of finding your people, and loving them not despite their eccentricities, but because of them. It’s very appealing to me so it shows up in pretty much all my books.

7) Do you have any favorite book, drama or movie that has left an ever-lasting impression on your mind?

Hum, well this is a BL blog, should I pick a BL? Until We Meet Again is probably my favorite. It’s pretty rare for me, as an author, to watch something and think “holy shit, why couldn’t I have written something that good?” UWMA did that too me. It’s such a tidy clean story – the interweaving of past and present selves, the swapping of families, the need to rectify the sins of the past, the overarching themes of regret and redemption for most of the characters. Let’s be honest, IMHO story structure isn’t BL’s strength (especially not Thai BL) but UWMA is a narrative masterpiece.

8) Do you enjoy reading MM Romance novels written by your contemporary authors? If yes, then who is your current favorite author and why?

Oh definitely. I don’t like to pick specific favorites but I have a few I find myself recommending all the time.

☆ TJ Klune is great. Everyone loves his House on the Cerulean Sea and I gave it a blurb (so obviously I think it’s amazing) but I actually like his earlier Lightning Struck Heart best. It’s as if Terry Prachett went hella gay. It’s glorious and gloriously funny.

☆ I enjoy the author R Cooper a lot. I’ll read pretty much anything they write, but I love their Beings in Love PNR series. Very queer friendly, mostly m/m, but with lots of gender fluidity rep and good gut wrenching hurt/comfort romances.

☆ Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala is an underappreciated masterpiece. It’s a sci fi about aliens, culture conflict, linguistics and BDSM and I adore it. Also her Earth Fathers are Weird is charming, if you want a similar alien/human m/m pairing that’s a bit lighter.

☆ Those were all SF/F genre tangential. For contemporary I have to say A.E. Via is a favorite – very hot, lots of big muscled military men, but with a definite band of brothers found family foundations.

☆ Also I find myself suggesting Alexis Hall’s For Real all the time, possibly one of the best representations of BDSM ever written.

☆ Finally I will read anything Mary Calmes writes. Even though she often uses tropes I don’t love (like insta love) and objectively I really shouldn’t enjoy her stuff, there is something very addictive about her writing style. Come to think of it, it’s a bit like BL in that way.

I actually have a ton of rec lists so here are a few with more suggestions, if you like:

My 9 Favorite Queer Fantasy Books

Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

30 Days of Queer Reads for #ReadingPride

9) What is your opinion about the current status of LGBTQ representation in books?

Well, I really only pay attention to commercial genre fiction (SF/F & Romance specifically, and YA that utilizes those elements) and I have to say, from the long view, it has gotten A LOT better. I’m getting up there in age, so I remember the reading options (or lack there of) from the 80s & 90s somewhat too vividly. Once upon a time all we really had was Mercedes Lackey and a bunch of lit fic that killed the queers, and a bunch of crime fiction that fridged ‘em. I also remember how much my adoration of yaoi manga in the early 2000s came from the fact that there were so few gay romances available. I mean Loose ID was around but that was basically it. With the rise of indie/self publishing, there’s now so much more on offer. It’s nice to have choice as a reader. I’m disposed to be happy about that and hopeful for the future as a result.

10) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future MM Romance books?

Well I love scifi so I took the queer into space with The 5th Gender and I’ll be doing more in that universe for a while. I’m working on a sci fi YA series about aliens taking over the galaxy using an addictive supped-up entertainment industry and the human barista who is recruited to become one of them. Of course, it’s me, so there is a m/m thread (bit of a rockstar romance), but the main driver is found family and culture conflict, plus an exploration of the nature of art, celebrity, and obsessive fandom. The world keeps putting this stuff out there right now (I’m interested in Kpop as well as BL fandom), so I just had to pick it up and play with it. I hope to start releasing those books next year, but they aren’t listed yet, so you have to join my newsletter or follow me on the socials if you’re interested.

The BL Xpress would like to thank G.L Carriger for taking the time to answer our questions!

Pictures Credits-

1) Stephanie Kuersten (IG- @missflyer18)

2) E.M. Markoff (IG- tomesandcoffee)

3) Læsehest med Fantasy (IG- @laesehestmedfantasy)

4) Brittney (IG- @bababibliophile)

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