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Author Spotlight: Finding Time with Mira Grant

Festival Staff / February 8, 2017

Mira Grant (the science fiction pen name of urban fantasy author Seanan McGuire) will be visiting the Tucson Festival of Books to discuss the apocalypse and the paranormal, with a side of humor.

Grant's Newsfleshseries tells the (perhaps too) timely story of a dystopian zombie attack set against the backdrop of a national political campaign. The three novels in this series have all been nominated for Hugo Awards. She most recently released Feedback, a new beginning to the Newsfleshseries that offers a new entry and point of view into this world for readers.

Mira Grant recently took some time to talk to the Tucson Festival of Books about her books and her life as a writer.

What inspires you to write your books?

This is one of those questions that is literally impossible to answer. I like stuff. Stuff interests me. Putting stuff together in weird orders interests me. So “politics and zombies and blogging and unhealthy family situations” seems like a great idea. So does “let’s feed the neighbors to the corn to guarantee a good harvest.” Some things turn out to be better ideas than others, so those are the things that usually wind up book-length.

How do you switch between your multiple writing pen names and genres? Does it take considerable space and time away from the other before you can get started or can you cycle easily between them?

Honestly, it’s a marketing thing, not a mood thing. I write the things that my schedule tells me I should be writing, and when they’re done, I move on to the next thing. I write more under my own name than under the Mira Grant byline in any given year, so if it was difficult, “she” would be a very bad hobby to have.

What was the most interesting medical fact you learned while writing Chimera, the last in your Parasitologyseries?

By the time I reach the third book in a trilogy, there usually aren’t many medical facts left to learn. I’ve done my primary and secondary research, and then I’ve stopped intentionally following the field, not because I’m worried about my science being disproven, but because I need things to stop interesting me. When something interests me, that’s when we get a sequel.

What does the day-to-day business of being a writer actually look like for you?

Get out of bed; go to office; sit down; write. Upon making word count, answer email, update website, and do other administrative tasks. Once that’s done, play with the cats, clean the house, and play a lot of Overwatch. Honestly, it’s a great job if you, like me, dislike leaving your house, putting on shoes, or dealing with other humans.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

This is not and has never been a zero sum game. Me releasing a book doesn’t mean you won’t have the chance; you winning an award doesn’t mean I never will. I’m not saying you have to like everyone, but don’t treat the world like a contest that only one person gets the grand prize for. It’s not. You need to be kind to your peers, your readers, and yourself. That, if nothing else, will forge your legacy.

What are you working on right now?

A book and a short story! I can’t really talk about either one, I’m sorry. But they’re going to be great!

Where can we buy your books? (Or perhaps better, where would you love us to buy your books?)

You can buy my books wherever genre fiction is sold. Barnes & Noble stores are amazing about stocking me, and I love it when people use me to support their local independent bookstore. If you want signed or personalized books, your best sources are Borderlands Books in San Francisco, CA, and University Bookstore in Seattle, WA.

You can find Mira Grant at the following sessions at the Tucson Festival of Books:

  • "Apocalypse 101: How to Destroy the World" panel on Saturday at 11:30 AM
  • "Policing the Paranormal" panel on Saturday at 4:00 PM
  • "Why So Serious?" panel on Sunday at 4:00 PM

Nikki VanRy is a freelance writer in Phoenix, AZ. She writes about books Connect with Nikki on Twitter at@nnsteele.

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