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An Interview I did with author Seanan Mcguire Bryce Send a noteboard - 08/05/2010 01:33:55 PM
Seanan Mcguire is the author of Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation, both starring supernatural P.I. October Daye. Her newest book, Feed (Review coming soon), is part of what I can best describe as a "post zombie-apocalypse political fiction," which in no way does it justice. It's the first of a planned three books in The Newsflesh Trilogy, and is written under the name Mira Grant. The one-stop shop for all things Seanan Mcguire is, of course, http://seananmcguire.com/.

So, without further ado, let's ask her some questions.

1- What’s your story? You know, the one people ask you about over and over. The “How did you ‘make it” story.

The "how did you make it" story? I wrote a book. It stunk. I wrote another book. It stunk less. I re-wrote the first book. I wrote a third book that kinda didn't stink. I re-wrote the second book. I wrote a fourth book. Somewhere in all that, I figured out how, precisely, one writes books, and stopped stinking (at least, that's my fervent hope). I found an agent. Agent make go.

2- With three books in print (that I know of) do you feel that you’ve arrived as an author? Have you been able to "quit your day job" and do writing full time?


Cheese and crackers, no. I am the most neurotic Halloweentown blonde on the planet, and I spend most of my waking hours working, one way or another. I'm still working a full-time day job, so I don't sleep much.

3-Having read both Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation , I can say that I love October Daye as a character. Is she your favorite character to write? If so, what makes her so enjoyable?

I love the hell out of Toby, and yeah, sometimes she's my favorite character to write. Other times, she's not -- it really depends on my mood. When she is my favorite, it's her pragmatism that makes her so much fun.

4-The time of the e-book seems to be upon us. While I’m not carrying a sign around telling folks to repent of their papyrus ways, it seems pretty clear to me that we’re quickly approaching a tipping point in the way the publishing industry works. What is your opinion of all of this, and how has it affected you as an author so far?

I like my books not to be turned off during airplane take-off and landing. I am a paper book girl. I use them to insulate my house. Also, and this has been a big one recently, there isn't a single e-book format -- every format requires a separate contract, negotiation, and release. This matters because when someone doesn't have their preferred format available instantly, I get angry email, sometimes accompanied with justification of piracy. As someone trying to make my living doing this, this makes me sad. So do the cries for an e-book price limit of under five dollars. I like eating. My cats like eating. So it's a thing.

I do tend to think that the publishing world is changing, and will have to change, but I don't think overnight change is a good idea, either for authors or for readers. We need to do this in a sustainable way.

5-Along the same lines as the e-book question, I want to ask about internet presence and self-marketing. It seems this is now the norm for authors, having to work hard to draw fans in through their websites, blogs, and other methods. Do you enjoy posting a livejournal and having social networks or other websites, or is it something you wouldn’t mind living without?

I've been blogging since 2000, and prior to that, I did a weekly humor column distributed to my college and an email list. I really love interacting with fans and being able to go "golly, I have this in-universe short story, guess I'll just put it up online." I wish there wasn't such a need for all the self-promotion, just because not everybody enjoys it? But I am a perky perky princess when you get me going, so it's a good time.

6-What’s your writing process like? I know people hate this question, so feel free to be as specific or general as you’d like. Some folks in the past have given me and hour by hour breakdown of a day in their life, and other people have just told me, “I get up and write.”

It depends on the project, honestly. Sometimes books start with detailed outlines and serious points. Other times, I sit down and start writing. I have beta-reading pools aligned by project, and they get installments every chapter or two. When they return their commentary, I back-track, edit, and carry on. I also retype books completely between drafts one and two, introducing typos and fixing jumbled sentences. It's a thing.


I type a hundred and twenty words a minute, and my cats make sure I occasionally get up and walk around.


7-Lucky number seven is an opportunity to shamelessly plug anything you’d like.

I have two series of short stories available for free online reading. "Sparrow Hill Road" is at The Edge of Propinquity and is the story of Rose Marshall, hitchhiking ghost from the 1940s, as she travels America in search of a jacket, a cheeseburger, and vengeance on the man who killed her. "Velveteen vs." is at my website, www.seananmcguire.com, and is the story of Velma Martinez, also known as "Velveteen," a former child superheroine who just wants to be left the hell alone. It's deeply silly, but stealth serious at the same time.

8- Your new series, The Newsflesh Trilogy, is really something great. We've chosen it for our segment Two Dudes Review: and we'll have a full review up soon. For the people who didn't immediately rush to the bookstore (oh, the shame they must feel), could you provide a quick synopsis of what's going to be going on in the first book, Feed?

Twenty years ago, the dead rose. This was a problem for a while...but we got over it, for the most part. In the post-Rising world, all the balances of power have changed, but some things are forever. Bloggers Shaun and Georgia Mason, and their friend Buffy, have been tapped to follow the Ryman campaign as he tries to become President of the United States. Then things get messy.


I tell people it's what you get when you cross Night of the Living Dead with The West Wing and Transmetropolitan. It's more political science fiction than straight horror. I'm very fond of it.

9- I'm learning more and more that I'm a fan of zombie fiction. Can you explain why you think zombie fiction has "risen from the grave" to become so popular lately?

Because vampires got sexy.

Look: we always need a monster that's just a monster, and things are cyclic. Zombies are the fear of contagion, they're the fear of loss of self, they're the fear of blending back into the crowd. This is the age of the zombie, where they're the only thing we can kill without guilt, and where we're terrified of becoming them someday.

10-And finally, the great equalizer: If you were an assassin traveling through time, who would you be sent to kill and why?

I tend to think that messing with history is a form of genocide, since the ripples will unwrite countless human lives. It's not cool. So I'd "accidentally" leave my gun in the time machine, and spend an afternoon hanging out with Vincent Price. Man was a god.
Formerly Dark Prophecy, now I'm just me.

Strong proponent of a Writing Section here at RAFO.
Full Reviews of A Local Habitation and Rosemary and Rue
This message last edited by Rebekah on 02/06/2010 at 11:24:48 PM
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An Interview I did with author Seanan Mcguire - 08/05/2010 01:33:55 PM 4009 Views
Re: I am going to have to get these books. - 08/05/2010 04:54:27 PM 754 Views
I like the reply to the final question a lot. - 08/05/2010 05:25:54 PM 1292 Views

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