I’ve followed Seanan McGuire’s books for a long time, including her October Daye series. When I heard about her new Middle Grade novel, OVER THE WOODWARD WALL, which she wrote as A. Deborah Baker, I contacted her for an updated interview:
Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.
Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.
They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.
On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.
And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.
As a fellow owner of a Maine Coon, I love the pictures of your cats on your website. What do you love most about your cats?
I love that they’re people. They’re cats, absolutely, they’re not humans, but they’re people all the same. They have personalities, likes and dislikes, wishes and desires, and it’s amazing. I get to share my house with these fabulous tiny predators, and they trust me enough to let me love them.
I fully agree. I also love how OVER THE WOODWARD WALL explores the extraordinary within the ordinary. How did you know this was a story you needed to write?
I had already written like a third of it over the course of writing MIDDLEGAME, and I don’t like to leave things unfinished. It makes me uncomfortable.
I know what you mean. And I’m so glad that this MIDDLEGAME character is getting their own story. The sequel, ALONG THE SALTWISE SEA, comes out in October of this year. In your experience, what is the most challenging part about writing the second book in a series?
Making sure it not only builds on what came before, but matches it in terms of tone, pacing, and other reader expectations. Book one has no burdens to bear, book two carries everything. It proves the world you’ve made is stable.
Indeed. What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?