A Few Good Minutes With Seanan McGuire aka Mira Grant

I am pleased to bring you my very first interview on Descent Into Slushland with the lovely and talented Seanan McGuire. Seanan is the author of the October Daye Series of urban fantasy books, as well as the InCryptid Series. She also wrote a fresh take on zombies with the Newsflesh Trilogy (Feed, Deadline, and Blackout) under her pen name, Mira Grant. Beside her official websites, you can also find Seanan at her Rose-Owls and Pumpkin Girls Online Journal where you’ll get a taste of everything, from writing to where to she’ll be appearing next. It’s a must read for fans of October Daye and the Newsflesh Trilogy.

Image courtesy of MiraGrant.comTaken from Seanan’s official website and biography (picture and all): “Seanan is the author of the October Daye series of urban fantasies, the first seven of which have been purchased by DAW Books; the InCryptid series of urban fantasies, the first two of which have been purchased by DAW Books; and the Newsflesh trilogy, published by Orbit under the pseudonym “Mira Grant.”  She’s working on several other books, just to make sure she never runs out of things to edit.  Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies, and she was a 2010 Universe Author for The Edge of Propinquity.

Seanan lives in a creaky old farmhouse in Northern California, which she shares with her three cats, Lilly, Alice, and Thomas, a vast collection of plush things and horror movies, and sufficient books to officially qualify her as a fire hazard.  She has strongly-held and oft-expressed beliefs about the origins of the Black Death, the X-Men, and the need for chainsaws in daily life.

Seanan was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed was named as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2010.”

For this interview I felt it best to channel my inner zombie, so I let Seanan infect me with the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Please forgive me if I turn into a zombie. Better get started before I crave the taste of flesh…

Since this is my first interview, I thought we could skip the appetizer and go right for the braaaiiins. Let’s start with some general writing questions and a few questions about your books.

Most new writers find querying to be a humbling and daunting task. Can you tell us a little bit about your first query experience?

I started out with blind queries to magazines, all of which turned me down, but kept on going, because I am a stubborn girl. Eventually, I was queried by an agent who had encountered my work, and after a long courtship period, we hooked up as client and keeper. She does the bulk of the querying for me now, which is a good thing.

What’s your favorite, or least favorite, part of the editing process?

My favorite part is fixing things. My least favorite part is trying to reduce word count. Those words are there for a reason, dammit!

What are some of the challenges of being a female horror writer?

Being taken seriously can be hard. It doesn’t help that I’m a perky blonde Disney Princess. Life might be easier if I were gloomier and gothier.

In your Newsflesh Trilogy, how much research went into making the Kellis-Amberlee virus and your zombies believable?

Lots. Lots and lots and oceans and acres of research, some of which will never see the light of day. And it was all worth it.

I love the covers of your October Day books, how much input do you have in the overall look of your books?

Technically, none, but everyone has been amazing about asking me what I want, letting me see the roughs, and allowing me to be a part of the process. I can be overruled at any time, and that’s okay.

If you could choose the world of one of your books to live in, which would it be and why?

…would I have to stay there? Um. Whichever one had the cheapest access to heavy drugs. I built those worlds. I know how badly they’d mess me up, and I’d want to be stoned senseless the entire time.

Mmm, that was delicious. How about we move on to the second course? I was thinking more along the lines of some fun and personal questions.

Favorite horror movie?


Favorite horror creature or villain?

The Crites, from Critters.

What’s the cutest, most cuddliest thing you own, other than your cats?

My plush Perry the Platypus.

Who would win in a fight for control of your body, Seanan or Mira?

Seanan. She’s sweet but mean.

Is there anything Mira would like to say to Seanan?

Not really, since Mira is a mask, not a fully fledged construct.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Books. Naps. Carnage.

What’s the best bit of advice you can give an unpublished writer?

Keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on forcing yourself to get better. It’s the only way you’ll ever get good enough.

Thanks so much for stopping by and talking with us today. Next time I was thinking we could have some dessert. How do a few cases of  DDP (diet Doctor Pepper) and a dozen Lindt chocolate bars sound?

You can have the chocolate!

As all of you can see, Seanan is a very busy woman. I can’t thank her enough for taking the time to answer my questions. She truly is one of the cool kids, and now officially one my favorite authors. She’ll be appearing at the San Diego Comic-Con from July 11 – 16. Be sure to stop by and say hello if you’re planning on attending. And if you haven’t already, pick up all three Newsflesh Trilogy books. They are available now from all major book retailers.


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