Parasite. The name is a bit frightening, and it's meant to be. The story is set a little more than a decade into the future, when a young girl with no memory seeks some very dangerous answers. The beginning of a two-part series, Parasite is disturbing, it's inventive, and it's my selection for the Amazon Books Fall Preview Editors' Picks.
Author Mira Grant, known to Urban Fantasy readers by her given name Seanan McGuire, took her research extremely seriously, experiencing first-hand what having a tapeworm was like; she named it Timmy, and what she learned lends a reality to her book that makes the possibilities even more frightening.
Those who already follow her prolific career may know many things about her. But, when it comes to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre, even die-hard fans can't know enough of the person behind the writing. (Her favorite X-Men character is Emma and she can eloquently defend the Resident Evil movies; in fact, pictured here at San Diego Comic-Con, she has just realized that the color scheme of her book is similar to the Umbrella Corps. in that franchise).
I reached out to Seanan to learn a little more about her, Amazon Asks style. Her answers were, (unsurprisingly) true to her roots: imaginative, honest, and unabashedly geeky.
Parasite will be available October 29, 2013.
What's the elevator pitch for your book?
Who doesn't want to be healthy and slim without raising a finger? When the SymboGen Corporation began marketing their "Intestinal Bodyguard"--a genetically engineered tapeworm guaranteed to be helpful and harmless--it seemed like the American Dream had finally been reduced to pill form. Sadly, when something seems too good to be true, it generally is, and the parasites want their own lives. Jurassic Park meets the medical thriller in this story of modern medical science gone too far.
What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?
I just finished the latest volume of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye--one of the best comics being published today--and I'm currently reading Jim Hines's Codex Born, which is absolutely fantastic in that "I wish I'd thought of it" way. And I'm getting ready to read last year's WHO report on human parasitism, because why not.
Top 3-5 favorite books of all time?
Important book you never read?
Anything by Tolkien. I bounced off his text so hard. It's sad, because he's a huge cultural touchstone, but I just can't read him.
Book that changed your life?
Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was accidentally shelved with the kids' books in my elementary school library. I never looked back.
What's your most memorable author moment?
I had a woman come up to me to show me her tattoo, and it was a phrase from one of my songs, tattooed on her arm in Circular Gallifreyan. [It's a "Doctor Who" thing.] And it was just so beautiful, and it meant so much to her, and it meant so much to me, and...yeah. If I can make that kind of difference in even one person's life, I'm doing the right thing.
Preferred reading format: print? digital?
Print, all the way. I grew up below the poverty line, and the ability of a single book to enrich a community is hard for me to over-state. Something someone bought new would go to the used bookstore to the library booksale to the flea market to the dumpster, and there would be someone waiting to read it every step along the way. It is hugely important to me that I keep releasing books back into the world through this channel.
What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility)?
Teleportation. I have friends all over the world, and I'm a Disneyland Annual Passholder. If I could teleport, I'd be at Disneyland every afternoon after I finished my word count, and I'd be seeing my friends every weekend, no matter where they lived. It would be magical. Also I wouldn't have to ride public transit anymore, which would save me time and money and probably lower my blood pressure considerably.
What are you obsessed with now?
I'm starting to get really into GMO foods and their impact on local ecologies, especially their contribution to colony collapse and the rise of "superbugs." Because forcing rapid evolution in insects is sure to work out well for us!
What's your most prized/treasured possession?
I own a full Aarne-Thompson Index to Motifs in Folk Literature, which is probably my most precious possession that is not one of my cats.
What do you collect?
Books. Obscure horror movies. Bad horror movies. Monster High dolls. Comics. Evangeline Ghastly and Ellowyne Wilde dolls. Disney trading pins.
Favorite line in a book?
"Then, Midian." Clive Barker, Cabal.
What's next for you?
After Parasite, I have several books coming out in my Seanan McGuire identity, including Half-Off Ragnarok and The Winter Long, and then it's back to the world of SymboGen and the Intestinal Bodyguard for book two in the duology. It's exciting!