Carrie’s Conversation with Seanan McGuire
Carrie: What inspired you to write ROSEMARY AND RUE?
Seanan: I’ve always loved folklore and the old fairy tales — the ones that were around before Grimm came along and “cleaned them up” to turn them into children’s stories. I was visiting the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park one day, and suddenly everything clicked together. I knew who Toby was, I knew what her problem was, and I really, really wanted to know how she was going to get out of it. Everything followed from there.
Carrie: In general, how does an idea for a book come to you? Does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Seanan: It depends on the book, really. ROSEMARY AND RUE came slowly. The second book in the series, A LOCAL HABITATION, came to me all at once, and just had to be refined from there. It’s very situational for me.
Carrie: Give us an idea of the plot without giving too much away.
Seanan: October “Toby” Daye is standing on the outside of everything. She’s a changeling — half-human, half-fae — and she’s been cut off from the life she spent years trying to build for herself. She’s doing her best to deny Faerie completely, and she really has no support structure left. Then someone who was always close to her dies, and she gets drawn back into the world she left behind. Can she get in and solve the mystery of Evening’s murder without getting herself permanently re-involved in Faerie? Does she really want to? It’s very fairy tale noir.
Carrie: Is there an underlying theme you’d like your readers to take away from ROSEMARY AND RUE?
Seanan: If there’s really an underlying message, it’s probably “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Or maybe “don’t piss off the fae.” Personally, I favor “don’t piss off the fae.”
Carrie: What is your favorite scene in ROSEMARY AND RUE? Why?
Seanan: I can’t tell you, because it’s spoilery like whoa. But I promise, it’s a doozy.
Carrie: What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Seanan: The scene where Toby has to deal with the body of the friend who died. It’s really hard on the character, and it was really hard on me as the author, since I work with her as my point of view.
Carrie: Which character do you identify with the most in your book? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in the book? If so, while you were writing or only afterwards upon review?
Seanan: I don’t so much identify with anyone in the book. You’ll meet my “wow, we’re similar” character in book three. There are aspects of me in every character I write, because I think that’s natural and normal, but I try to keep it from being defining.
Carrie: What are you reading right now?
Seanan: My book comes out in under a month, so I’m going for my comfort reading — Stephen King’s THE STAND, and the new Robert Englund autobiography, HOLLYWOOD MONSTER, which is just fantastic.
Carrie: What authors, books, or ideas have influenced your writing?
Seanan: Oh, I’d say every author I’ve ever encountered has influenced me one way or another. My big influences are probably Shakespeare (seriously), the Brothers Grimm, Stephen King, Tonya Huff, and all the fabulous writers who worked on the old Warren Comics (CREEPY and EERIE). King’s ON WRITING was like an epiphany for me, and so was Tanya Huff’s SUMMON THE KEEPER –somehow, that book gave me permission to do a lot of things I hadn’t realized I could do before.
Carrie: What is your go-to book–that one you’ve read more than once, possibly over-and-over? OR Who is your go-go author?
Seanan: As you’ve probably noticed by now, Stephen King is a real favorite of mine. I do a semi-annual re-read of almost everything he’s ever written, and I’ve read IT something around fifty times. That’s the book I go to when I’m low.
Carrie: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” and share with us a bit of your personal life — outside of writing, what’s important to you (i.e., hobbies, passions, causes, family)?
Seanan: Oh, wow. Well, I have two cats — a Siamese and a Maine Coon — who require a lot of time and attention, because they’re incredibly smart, and really want a lot of interaction. I collect comic books, and attend something on the order of eight or nine conventions a year. I admit, I’m a big TV junkie, and I watch a lot of television. I draw an irregularly posted comic strip, and really enjoy marathon walking. My latest “big walk” was thirty-five miles overland through the San Francisco Bay Area! It was awesome. I’m also a member of the filk community, and I’ve recorded three CDs to date of my original geeky music.
Carrie: Tell us something surprising about you and/or something very few people know about you.
Seanan: I’m actually a very, very shy person, and I spend a lot of time really worried about how I’m coming off. I mask insecurity with perky pleasantness, rather than hiding under my bed.
Carrie: What has been one of your biggest struggles and/or successes (professional/personal) and what have you learned from it?
Seanan: It was really difficult for me to learn how to actually FINISH a book, rather than just starting it, getting two hundred pages, and wandering off. Figuring out how to organize myself in the long-term really took a lot, and taught me a lot about myself.
Carrie: Who is your biggest fan?
Seanan: The stereotypical answer is definitely true in my case: my mother. Beyond that, probably my friend Vixy, who is totally fantastic and eternally encouraging.
Carrie: What was the best advice you’ve ever received — do you follow it?
Seanan: Kill your darlings.” As long as I can do that, I think I’ll be okay.
Carrie: What is your favorite literary turn-of-phrase / quote / word picture?
Seanan: “The turtle couldn’t help us.” Don’t ask me why (“Behold! For now I wear the human pants!” is a close second).
Carrie: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book that you may not have expected?
Seanan: I learned that I really, really, REALLY like building continuity guides. Also that without one, I sort of flail madly.
Carrie: What’s next for you ~ Anything else you’d like to offer?
Seanan: Well, next, I plan to take a nap, and then get back to working on the projects currently in the pipeline — the second Mira Grant book (my alter-ego), the next Toby book, and a fun new urban fantasy project with ballroom dancing and asbestos blondes.
Carrie: How do readers get in touch with you?
Seanan: The best way is my website www.seananmcguire.com. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, but the website contact form feeds straight to me.
To enter to win a free copy of ROSEMARY AND RUE:
Subscribe to Words To Mouth e-newsletter (how winners are announced)
Leave a Comment Below on why you’d be interested in winning this book
Call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail message I can play on-air
U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
Deadline: August 31st, 2009 ~ midnight, EST