THE END IS NIGH Author Interview: Seanan McGuire

Tell us a bit about your story.  What’s it about?

Fungus!  And, uh, family, and why maybe you should wash your food really, really well before you bring it into the house.  But mostly fungus.  Fungus is awesome.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

Well, first I got invited to an anthology about the impending end of the world.  Then I started thinking about ways I hadn’t already killed everyone.  Then I took a poll on Twitter, which is my totally scientific means of deciding between two possible story ideas.  Then I wrote about fungus.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

In some ways, yes.  I know a lot about fungus, but that doesn’t make it something I write about on a technical level very often.  I had to backtrack a lot and make sure that my science was accurate.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

I have OCD.  I was diagnosed young, and I am very much in control of my disorder, but it’s still there, and it still informs every day of my life.  This is the first time I’ve written about a protagonist who shares some of my struggles.  Naturally, she’s also facing the end of the world.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I sort of answered this above.  I also had to figure out what fruit could easily sustain a flesh-eating fungus?  That was fun.

What is the appeal—either as a writer or a reader—of stories that take place BEFORE an apocalypse?

It’s that delicious moment of antici… where you can see the hammer getting ready to fall, but it hasn’t yet.  Just beautiful.

What are some of your favorite examples of pre-apocalyptic fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

The first half of Stephen King’s The Stand should qualify, I think; that’s a book that does it all.  And the whole progression is just so elegant, I don’t know that any of us will ever top him.  Nor should we.