Interview 108 – Shades of Aether author, Gail B. Williams, Part Three

Welcome back to part three of our chat with Gail B. Williams, author of Shades of Aether.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.


Airship Ambassador: Is there any special takeaway idea or theme for people when they read Shades of Aether?

Gail B. Williams: Respect.  That’s the thing that really keeps both Amethyst and Maker who they are.  They respect the people around them, even when they don’t necessarily like the people around them.  That’s how they find peace and acceptance.  It wouldn’t hurt any of us to be living in a more respectful world.

AA: You’ve mentioned elsewhere that you did a great deal of research for this book, including the development of electrical power, dress codes, bustles, and crinolines. How did you determine what to use, change, and balance to create the Shades of Aether world?

GBW: It’s all really about what works in and for the story. Like a lot of authors research is sometimes as much about knowing what to leave out as it is about what to put in.  It’s sometimes a little difficult to know what to put in.

Do a lot of research and the author inside wants to show it, but the reader inside doesn’t want to get bogged down in unnecessary detail, s/he just wants the story.  So that’s how I judge it.  Do I really need to give this detail?  Is it pertinent to the story or not?

The weird and frankly unpleasant experiments and demonstrations that went on trying to demonstrate which of AC or DC electrical power was safest are fascinating, but irrelevant to the story, so they weren’t dwelt on.

However the change of women’s dress fashions that was taking place allowed Violet to demonstrate her character by looking to score points against Amethyst – so that went in. If it supported the story – I included it, if not – I didn’t.  Which all rather makes it sound so much easier to pick what to include and exclude than it actually is, but that’s what writing is all about.


AA: That seems like a good rule to avoid information overload on a reader. I’m sure we’ve all ready at least one book where the author crammed in every single bit of minutiae. How long did it take to write, and rewrite, Shades of Aether?

GBW: Do you know what – I have no idea.  Somewhere between a year and two to get the finished book.  Bear in mind that I did write and sell another full novel and several short stories in that time, so I wasn’t entirely concentrated on Shades.  Because I self-published, the schedule was under my control, so it wasn’t like I was being pushed by a publisher or anything.

The only time it really became a deadline was when I heard about Asylum, I decided I had to get it out for that, so I did.  Getting the cover proved to be more difficult because it was short notice, but I have to say I love what Deranged Doctor Designs came up with and they were a dream to work with.  So compared to deadlines I’ve felt with traditional publishing, it was easy.

AA: Being self published on this one, perhaps the deadline wasn’t so much of an issue, but I’d guess there was a trade off for other challenges. First being, are there any plans for a sequel or spinoff?

GBW: Oh yes!  Shades is actually book one of a series of five. All are plotted out, and just need to be written now. Book two is already several thousand words in and I hope to have it ready for Asylum 2018.


AA: Which means at the time of this interview, we can expect it in the near future. If someone likes “X”, then they’ll like Shades of Aether. What is “X”?

GBW:  Oh, this is a narcissist’s dream, and a paranoid’s nightmare.  I’d love to say… hell I will say, if you enjoy Soulless you’ll enjoy this, unless you read Soulless for the werewolves/vampires, then you’re going to be disappointed.  However, if you liked it for the strong sassy female lead, if you like Alexi Tarabotti, you’ll like Amethyst Forester.


AA: Gail Carriger is sure to take that as a strong compliment J What do you think puts this story on someone’s must read/have list?

GBW: It’s Pride and Prejudice and Steampunk.  I didn’t mean to do this, but I’ve had a couple of people tell me that Maker is like Darcy’s great-grandson, and he kind of is.  Though Pemberley is a lot south of Maker’s estate.  So maybe I should say if you like Pride and Prejudice, you’ll like Shades of Aether.


AA: If Shades of Aether were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?

GBW: Richard Armitage would be my first choice.  The way he was as Mr Thornton in North and South really brought that tight Victorian character to life, and Maker is from Northumbria, he could very easily add the aristocratic air that would make him Maker.   Jessica Brown Findlay for Amethyst.  I saw her first as Lady Sybil Crawley (Downton), so I know she can show the intelligence and rebellion that typifies Amethyst, and she the right height. And Cate Blanchet for Violet.

AA: Good choices! You’ve had quite a few works published now – what has your overall publishing experience been like?

GBW: A bit of a ’mare to be honest.  I’ve been trying to get published since I was 18, and I’m more than double that age now. I’ve been getting short stories published since 2014, but it was only 2017 I had my first novel released by a publisher, and that was a crime novel.  I had an agent who wouldn’t represent my steampunk work, so I tried to sell it myself to a publisher, they agreed to take it on, but when I read the contract my instincts told me not to do it.  So I didn’t.  I self-published instead.  It’s a scary and lonely thing to do.  I’m still trying to figure out if I made the right choice, because marketing isn’t my strong suit, but I’m going to keep going.


We’ll take a  break here in chatting with Gail

Join us next time when Gail talks about lessons learned and changes over time.

Until then, keep up to date with Gail’s latest news on her website,

You can support Gail and our community by getting your copy of Shades of Aether here.

Published in: on March 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)