Please welcome Seanan McGuire to The Qwillery. “Long Way Down” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.
This is the twenty-second in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!
I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and reached the Deluxe format printed edition stretch goal! There are additional stretch goals!
TQ: Welcome back to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? SM: I don't get as many words. Seriously. I get used to being able to take my time, and I can't do that when I'm working in short form. Sometimes that can be super-frustrating.
TQ: Tell us something about “Long Way Down” that will not give away the story.
SM: It's about the creek where I used to play as a child.
TQ: What was your inspiration for “Long Way Down”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?
SM: See previous answer! The creek is a real place, and I really feel like it has opinions on things.
TQ: Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Long Way Down”.
"It was a barrier of sorts, a passageway between the world of kitchens that smelt like boiled cabbage and classrooms packed with rich kids who stared down their nose at you (starting in first grade, first grade, and how did they even learn to look down on other people in first grade? Who was standing by to make sure their kids knew that rich was rich and poor was poor, and never the twain shall meet?), and the world of green and brown and the smell of mud and water."
TQ: In which genre or genres does “Long Way Down” fit? Having asked that, in your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?
SM: It's dark fantasy, a little urban, but more dark. Genre classifications are useful because they give the reader a framework. I like genre classifications sliced fine, so I can arrow in on exactly what I want.
TQ: What's next?
SM: A nap! More seriously, ROLLING IN THE DEEP comes out April 7th from Subterranean Press, under the Mira Grant byline, and I have a lot of short fiction forthcoming.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
SM: Thank you for having me.
About Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire was born in Martinez, California, and raised in a wide variety of locations, most of which boasted some sort of dangerous native wildlife. Despite her almost magnetic attraction to anything venomous, she somehow managed to survive long enough to acquire a typewriter, a reasonable grasp of the English language, and the desire to combine the two. The fact that she wasn't killed for using her typewriter at three o'clock in the morning is probably more impressive than her lack of death by spider-bite.
Often described as a vortex of the surreal, many of Seanan's anecdotes end with things like "and then we got the anti-venom" or "but it's okay, because it turned out the water wasn't that deep." She has yet to be defeated in a game of "Who here was bitten by the strangest thing?," and can be amused for hours by almost anything. "Almost anything" includes swamps, long walks, long walks in swamps, things that live in swamps, horror movies, strange noises, musical theater, reality TV, comic books, finding pennies on the street, and venomous reptiles. Seanan may be the only person on the planet who admits to using Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1980s as a checklist.
Seanan is the author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. In case that wasn't enough, she also writes under the pseudonym "Mira Grant." For details on her work as Mira, check out MiraGrant.com.
In her spare time, Seanan records CDs of her original filk music (see the Albums page for details). She is also a cartoonist, and draws an irregularly posted autobiographical web comic, "With Friends Like These...", as well as generating a truly ridiculous number of art cards. Surprisingly enough, she finds time to take multi-hour walks, blog regularly, watch a sickening amount of television, maintain her website, and go to pretty much any movie with the words "blood," "night," "terror," or "attack" in the title. Most people believe she doesn't sleep.
Seanan lives in a creaky old farmhouse in Northern California, which she shares with her cats, Alice and Thomas, a vast collection of creepy dolls and horror movies, and sufficient books to 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.
Years of writing blurbs for convention program books have fixed Seanan in the habit of writing all her bios in the third person, so as to sound marginally less dorky. Stress is on the "marginally." It probably doesn't help that she has so many hobbies.
Seanan was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed (as Mira Grant) was named as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2010. In 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo Ballot.