State your name:
My name is Seanan Lynn McGuire. That's pronounced SHAWN-in. Many people stress it as "SHAWN-anne," which is incorrect. In many parallel dimensions, I am currently going by Shawn Anne McGuire, and am one of the most popular country starlets in the world. In case you were blindingly curious, "Seanan" is the archaic form of "Janet." This means "Jenny" is actually the proper diminutive for my name.
If you call me "Jenny," I will hit you.
Identify your gender:
Female. Which is awesome, because most telemarketers assume "Seanan" is a male name. People asking for "Mr. McGuire" can be summarily hung up on.
Please state your birthdate:
I was born in the early morning on January 5th, 1978. I'm a Capricorn Snake. People who understand astrology assure me this explains everything you could possibly need to know. I also really like the fact that I got the garnet for my birthstone. I have used this to justify owning a pair of earrings made from garnets and recycled chainsaw parts.
Identify your place of birth:
I was born in Martinez, California. Birthplace of the martini, or so they claim. Tragically, I do not like martinis.
Where do you live?
Wherever my day planner, my laptop, and my cats are located. I've lived—for values of "lived" that imply a stay of more than sixty days, which is the requirement to prove residency at my local library—all up and down the West Coast of the United States, as well as in England, New Jersey, and Indiana. I currently reside, quite happily, in a crumbling former farmhouse in Northern California. Or, as I like to call it, "Australia North." What? We have the poison and flame.
Hair and eyes:
I have both these things. The eyes are blue, the hair is blonde. Yes, I really am planning to grow up to be Marilyn Munster. Or maybe I already have.
What is your preferred OS?
Despite regular attempts to convert me, I'm essentially a PC girl; I've been using PCs since I lost access to my high school computer lab, and I like things that I understand. Plus, Mac keyboards feel weird to me at this point. But I do use an iPod. I love my iPod. It is my best electronic friend.
Do you use a mousepad? How about a screen saver?
I work directly on my desk, which has been painted with an elaborate Celtic knot-work pumpkin vine design. Well, half-painted. I lost interest about halfway through the painting process, and haven't bothered to go find it again.
My screen saver is made of a constant, randomized selection from my graphics folder, which is fun, and can serve as an entertaining makeshift oracle. An oracle with a surprisingly high number of pictures of Zooey Deschanel.
What is your favorite color?
Orange and green in combination. Just about any combination; I rarely find shades that don't go together, at least in my eyes. Fighting Pumpkins forever!
What is your favorite hobby?
Starting a new series of books or short stories. Because it's not like I have enough to do with my increasingly small supply of so-called "spare" time. When I can't get away with starting a new series—like, say, when my agent has a stick with which to smack me—I'll usually a launch large art project of some kind.
What are your favorite TV shows?
I watch a truly disturbing amount of television, but my all-time favorites would have to be Doctor Who (original series and new), Freakylinks, Tales from the Darkside, The Munsters, and Dexter. As I write this, my most current obsessions are Glee, Fringe, Castle, So You Think You Can Dance, Tower Prep, Warehouse 13, and Haven.
This list is probably already outdated.
What is your favorite smell?
Bad Luck Woman Blues, a limited-edition perfume blend from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. It contains just about every scent note that works well on me, and it serves as a deeply calming form of aromatherapy. At least for me.
Beyond that, I have a severe BPAL addiction. It's tragic. There's no twelve-step program for perfume lust, either.
What is the best feeling in the world?
Typing the words "The End" after figuring out how to put anywhere from 60,000 to 150,000 words in a linear order that makes some form of relative sense. Also, seeing the first Halloween decorations go up every fall.
What is the worst feeling in the world?
Seeing the computer screen go black and realizing that you have absolutely no idea when you last saved the document you've been working on for the past six and a half hours. Also, seeing the first Christmas decorations go up before Halloween is even over. GO BACK TO YOUR OWN HOLIDAY, YOU VULTURES.
What are your favorite things to do on the weekends?
Write (naturally). Books, poetry, short stories, songs, blog entries, whatever. Go to conventions, be they literary, filk, or centered around the wonderful world of comic books. Take walks that are measured in miles, hours, and incredibly improbable wrong turns. Lay in bed for hours with cats curled up on my chest, reading Stephen King.
What is one vain thing about yourself of which you are proud?
I've sold twelve books and won three Pegasus Awards, entirely under my own merits. I think I'm allowed to be proud of that.
What is your ultimate vacation spot?
It depends on the vacation in question. If it's just me, a stick, and some good boots, just about any swamp will serve nicely. If it's me, some good friends, and maybe a small child or two, Disneyworld. Actually, if I don't have access to good boots, Disneyworld is always awesome.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
If I'm at home, I start wondering where the cats are. If I'm not at home, I...start wondering where the cats are. When I first wake up, I'm essentially hard-wired to wonder where the hell the cats are, unless they're sleeping on my face.
Do you get motion sickness?
Thankfully, no. Not even during extreme air turbulence, complicated roller coaster rides, or when reading while driving. But I get migraine headaches from trying to watch 3-D movies, due to a lack of innate depth perception. Also, sadly, I have lost my roller coast privileges forever due to the issues with my back. You know those signs that say "do not ride if you have back or neck injuries"? Those signs apply to me.
Pen or pencil?
When writing, pen, always pen. I like being able to scratch my mistakes out, rather than forgetting them completely. When doodling, again, pen. But when I'm sketching, I work purely in pencil. Inking comes later, after the details are all in place.
How many rings before you answer the phone?
As few as possible. If the number is unfamiliar, I'll probably blink at the screen for a ring or two before I pick up. Voicemail, on the other hand...I basically never listen to my voicemail. I try to remember to review and delete once a month or so. Not a good way to get a message to me, really.
What are your favorite foods?
Canned peas. Peppermint Luna bars. Diet Dr Pepper (seriously, it's a food group, I swear). Cookies and cream ice cream. Anything involving pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling, but not the crust, which I won't eat. Baked tilapia. Tomatoes, especially heirloom tomatoes. Tuna fish sandwiches. Kettle corn. Bing cherries. Really ripe pears. Fresh candy corn, the kind you only get right around Halloween.
What is your number one pet peeve?
Lack of reading comprehension. I occasionally want to wander around bopping people with a big sign that says "CAN'T YOU READ?!" Also, I object to "because my third grade teacher said so" as a position in a scientific debate. And to the lack of dinosaurs. What's up with that?
Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
At last count, I was sleeping with two plush velociraptors (Amberlee and Ebola), a Welsh dragon (Owen), an Eastern dragon (Toshiko), a coyote (Coyote), an orange cat in a green witch hat (Pumpkin), a plush pumpkin (Jack), a dodo (Variola), a turkey vulture (Pete), a vampire bat (Seeley), a triceratops (Bundibugyo), a stegosaurus (Angola), a Tyrannosaurus Rex (MRSA), a glyptodon (Prion), a blue-ringed octopus (Oleander), a komodo dragon (Sissy), and Mr. Sloth.
Lilly put most of them in the bed. Seriously. That cat is a menace.
If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?
I get to write books, that other people read. And when I'm not writing books, I'm drawing pictures and recording albums. I have the life I wished for when I was nine. I don't need anything else.
What is on your bedroom walls?
Enormous quantities of stuff, from shelves to framed posters to original artwork to my cork board. It's a buffet of hanging things in here.
What are your favorite movies?
In no particular order, I'd say Little Shop of Horrors (musical), Hairspray (musical), Moulin Rouge (musical), Slither (not a musical), Night of the Comet, Critters, Lilo and Stitch, and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
What's under your bed?
Blankets, dust, and probably several things I don't realize are missing, courtesy of the cats.
What is your favorite number?
One hundred and twenty-seven. Also, anything prime.
Marvel or DC?
Marvel, all the way. I am an eternal Marvel girl (despite hating Marvel Girl in all her many incarnations). To be even more specific, I am an eternal X-girl.
What one thing do you wish more people already knew?
The Black Death was almost certainly not caused by the bubonic plague. No matter what those German researchers say.
Photography by Carolyn Billingsley.