Please join me in welcoming author Seanan McGuire here today to Dark Faerie Tales. Seanan is here to talk about Discount Armageddon, which was recently released on March 6, 2012 from DAW Books. We are also featuring this title in our UF/PNR Reading Challenge 2012. Discount Armageddon is the first book in her new InCryptid urban fantasy series and will be followed by Midnight Blue-light Special in March 2013.
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.
In her spare time, Seanan writes and records original music. She has three CDs currently available. 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 that has the words “blood,” “night,” “terror,” or “attack” in the title. Most people believe that she doesn’t sleep.
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.
Want to read more from Seanan McGuire?
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about Discount Armageddon?
Seanan: Discount Armageddon is the first book in my new series, InCryptid, which is about the Price family and their efforts to protect the cryptids of the world from humanity, and vice-versa. They’re conservationists, sort of. In DA, Verity Price, the oldest daughter of the current generation, is spending a year in New York to further her dance career. She’s working as a cocktail waitress in a cryptid-owned strip club to pay the rent (hence the cover of the book, which I adore). But cryptids are disappearing, and the Covenant of St. George, an ancient order of monster-hunters, is coming to town…
DFT: Could you tell us about your main characters in Discount Armageddon?
Seanan: Verity Alice Price never met a pair of impractical shoes she didn’t like, and she can kick your ass while wearing any of them. She’s a cryptozoologist ballroom dancer with a lot of weapons, and she should probably eat something. Her best friend and adopted cousin is Sarah Zellaby, a geeky cute telepathic mathematician who happens to be a hyper-evolved parasitic wasp from a parallel evolutionary path. And then there are the talking pantheistic mice who live in her closet and worship her as a priestess. Seriously, this cast is so much fun to write, it’s nuts.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Seanan: Either Sarah—because telepathic mathematician who looks like Zooey Deschanel, that’s why—or Istas, one of Verity’s co-workers. Istas is a waheela, a type of Inuit shapeshifter that turns into a giant bear-wolf-thing and removes your face. She’s also a Goth Lolita. Think about that for a while.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line in Discount Armageddon?
Seanan: Yes. Several.
How much research went into creating this series?
Seanan: Both lots, and not much. I’ve done so much research for Toby that I have a list of things I’m not allowed to play with in that universe, because they don’t fit. So when I started working on InCryptid, I just sat down with the list and my various cryptozoology guides, and had a party.
DFT: Did you have an affinity towards cryptozoology when you began writing Discount Armageddon?
Seanan: I did! I don’t think I could have written the book, or conceived of the series, if I didn’t love cryptozoology. It’s like the beautiful intersection of folklore and science. Two of my favorite things.
DFT: Do you have a long term plan or goal for this story universe?
Seanan: I do!
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or ritual?
Seanan: Not really. I can write just about anywhere, providing I can focus on what I’m doing. And since I carry my iPod everywhere I go, I can generally focus. Then it’s just a matter of getting people to stop poking at me.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) do you draw from while writing?
Seanan: It depends entirely on the series and on the project. With InCryptid, I draw on a lot of old horror movies, a lot of folktales and ghost stories, So You Think You Can Dance, and the life of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. With other books and other stories, I draw from other things.
DFT: Which genre do you prefer to read? Do you have any favorite authors or series?
Seanan: I am a voracious reader, and I read across a wide range of genres. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Tanya Huff, Kelley Armstrong, and Nancy Roach. And that, right there, sort of says anything.
DFT: If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be?
Seanan: Assuming that we’re rewinding time so that all the energy I dedicated to becoming a decent writer was directed elsewhere, I would be an investigatory virologist with the EIS, a department of the CDC. That, or I’d be a mad scientist. Aren’t you glad I’m a writer?
DFT: You also write the October Daye urban fantasy series, what can you tell us about that series and any other projects you are working on?
Seanan: I’m currently working on book seven of the October Daye series, and I’ve just turned book six in to my publisher, so I’m excited about that. Things are getting worse for poor Toby. Aren’t they always? I’m also working on a couple of Young Adult projects, and on the revisions of Sparrow Hill Road, my American ghost story. And always, of course, there is Velveteen.
DFT: What is your favorite paranormal creature? And why?
Seanan: I have always had a soft spot for mermaids. I just love them. They’re so flexible, while retaining the same essential attributes—you can have octopus mermaids, eel mermaids, manta ray mermaids, whatever you want, and they’re still mermaids. I will eventually write a series entirely about mermaids. Until then, I will be satisfied with cramming them into other things where they’re least expected.
DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Seanan: Thank you for having me!
Available on March 6, 2012 from DAW Books
About the Book:
Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night… The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren’t for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family’s old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone’s spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city…
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