The writers who contributed to WilyWriters.com, my speculative fiction podcast, have blown me away with their talent. For the anthology, Night-Mantled: Best of Wily Writers, Volume 1, we chose the very best contributors from the first year of publication. I approached the authors and invited them to contribute–this was before I opened up to general submissions–and they all responded by giving me amazing stories.
Seanan McGuire contributed her short story “Julie Broise and the Devil,” a sassy southern folktale about a young woman who flirts with trouble and finds it. I remember being absolutely delighted when I first read it, and I had a lot of fun pretending to sing the little ditty that comes at the end. Listen to the podcast.
To celebrate the launch of Night-Mantled and the Wily Writers “Best of” series, I interviewed the authors. Here are Seanan’s responses:
- What made you become a writer?
Innate personality design. I never had a choice.
What kinds of stories do you prefer to write? Why?
Ones that let me kill things. Because it’s fun. I mean, quite seriously, I write black humor, romantic comedy, horror, fantasy, urban fantasy, hard science fiction…I am a polyglot of literary mayhem.
What’s your favorite medium and why?
Novel. I have trouble writing anything less than seriously novel-length. It’s a personal failing.
What was the most helpful advice someone ever gave you about writing?
“Kill your darlings.” That, and “read the submission guidelines.”
What has been the most thrilling moment for you, so far, as a writer?
The moment where my agent called me and said, “We got DAW.” That was it. That was the moment where I sold my first series. That was the moment where I knew it was all happening for real.
What is your next big goal, as a writer, and how are you working toward it?
My next big goal is to write a successful YA series. I’m trying to cram chapters in between all my other deadlines. Not the easiest thing ever, but I shall endure.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your story in Night-Mantled?
That Julie Broise deserved whatever it is she got.
When and how do you write?
I write on the computer, whenever I possibly can. Mostly, I wind up writing in the evenings, because I still work a full-time day job.
What’s your day job? What’s it like? How does it impact your writing?
I’m a QA analyst. It’s very detail-oriented. It takes about fifty/sixty hours a week away from my writing. It also provides me with health insurance, which enables me to keep writing.
What does your family think of your writing?
They love it. My mother is one of my biggest fans.
Do you have any pets that keep your feet warm while you’re writing?
I have three cats, Lilly, my bluepoint Siamese, Alice, my blue classic tabby and white Maine Coon, and Thomas, also a blue classic tabby and white Maine Coon. They are the love of my life. They are also the reason I write so much, because that much cat food is expensive.
What’s it like where you live?
I live in the desert microclime of the San Francisco Bay Area. The tarantula migration happens in my home town. I like it here.
What’s the area of expertise you bring to your writing?
Stuff. Folklore. Snakes. My Little Pony collecting.
Do you have any appearances coming up? Where? When? Will you be doing anything special there?
I have multiple upcoming conventions, and you can find the details on my website, for they are many and vast, and the idea of typing all that information again makes me tired.
Which authors have influenced your writing the most?
Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, William Shakespeare, and Chris Claremont.
What do you think sets your work apart from the mainstream?
I am incapable of not thinking things all the way through. Even with a silly little throw-away story, I’ll have invested hours working out the rules of the universe, why they work the way that they do, and what happens if you break them. Continuity and why-porn are like delicious candy for my brain.
A native Californian, Seanan McGuire is afraid of weather and remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. This sideways sensibility informs everything she does, from studying folklore to collecting horror movies and reading books about infectious disease. And, of course, writing.
Seanan’s first novel, ROSEMARY AND RUE, is available from DAW Books. To distract herself, she writes short fiction, essays, and a wide variety of other things, all of them a bit odd. Her first love remains urban fantasy, which explains the setting of ROSEMARY AND RUE. Her second love is for swamps, which explains Rush’s Bend, the small, strange town where Julie Broise meets her match.