Mira Grant’s Parasite takes place in the future, but she points out to Zola that we’re no stranger to genetically engineered organisms.
Zola: Parasite takes place in the future where all medicine has been replaced by scientifically engineered tapeworms. Do you believe that a future like the one in this book could exist?
Mira Grant: Do I believe, specifically, that much of our current burden of medical need would be offloaded onto a biologically active organism designed to better our daily lives? Look at insulin and mold-based antibiotics for your answer. I do think that medicine is always changing, and now that we’re entering the post-antibiotic age, we’ll be looking for a new silver bullet.
Zola: The book follows Sal Mitchell, who lost a great portion of her memory in a car accident. What advantages and disadvantages are there to having a character that has had to relearn how to live?
MG: She has six years of current life experience, and the personality of an adult. Advantages: she lacks most human taboos. Disadvantages: I don’t, and sometimes I would have to go back and remind myself that Sal sees no reason not to pee with the bathroom door open.
Zola: Throughout the novel you reference a fictional children’s book called Don’t Go Out Alone. Would you consider publishing this book?
MG: I would definitely consider publishing a print edition of Don’t Go Out Alone, if we could find an illustrator and publisher.
Zola: Parasite, like many of your other books, has a basis in real-life science. Were you always a science buff? What aspect of science interests you the most?
MG: I’ve been a science buff for as long as I can remember, and I’m most interested in the biological sciences. They’re fun for the whole family.
Zola: You have said on your website that growing up, you were exposed to dangerous wildlife. Can you tell us about that?
MG: Those are stories I save for conventions, where they can be told in the presence of people who are willing to buy me drinks.
Zola: Your real name is Seanan McGuire. Where did the pseudonym Mira Grant come from?
MG: I was asked to use a pseudonym to separate my urban fantasy and my science fiction. It’s worked very nicely.
Zola: What is the best part of using a pseudonym?
MG: The best part is seeing people find out I’m both of me for the first time.
Zola: In your spare time you record filk music. For those who don’t know, what is filk music and what inspires you to make it?
MG: Filk music is the folk music of science fiction and fantasy. I believe that humans are innately musical, and I make music because I am living in a musical world. I find it soothing, and fun, and a great way to stay connected with my community.
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This article originally appeared on Zola Books.