What inspired your short story “Lost”?
I originally wrote “Lost” for a limited-edition benefit anthology called Ravens in the Library. All proceeds went to help pay the medical bills of S.J. Tucker, a traveling folk musician and dear friend of mine. The theme was “music and magic.” So I was thinking about music, and magic, and because it was Sooj, I started thinking about pirates. I’m very fond of fairy tale remixes and new angles on old stories. I thought a little too long, and “Lost” sort of fell out onto the page.
How did you decide to make the fifteenth birthday, and not the fourteenth or sixteenth, the cut-off for going to Neverland?
There had to be a cutoff. It couldn’t just be “as old as you feel,” because some adults would answer and some children would never hear, and that would muddle the horror of all these kids of a certain age just running away into the sky. Sixteen is where the fairy tales usually start—on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and all that. So it had to be earlier. But when you’re fourteen, you’re just starting high school, and for a lot of us, that’s a scary, confusing time where you’re playing pretend constantly. You’re just pretending to know what you’re doing. I gave them that last year. It’s not until the fifteenth birthday that Neverland can’t have you.
In “Lost,” it’s the pirates, and not Peter Pan or fairies, that steal the children away to Neverland. How much do readers need Peter Pan to experience Neverland? Does Neverland stand on its own as a character?
I think so. Neverland was before Pan; Neverland will be after Pan. There are other routes to the second star on the right, but I think most of them are more individual than this one. This was “everybody into the boat, we’re casting off,” and the kids just ran. Pan comes to your window and promises the most wonderful adventures. I actually wanted to remind people of that, that Neverland was there a long time before Peter fell out of his pram and got himself Lost.
Torrey becomes Tore the Bold, and Michelle Pierce, Black-Hearted Mich. If you joined the Neverland pirates, what name would you take?
It’s not your choice, really: It’s the choice of your sisters and shipmates. Thus meaning, I do not know, but I’m sure it would be amazing.
Congratulations on your Hugo nomination for Deadline! Can you tell us what it’s like to be nominated?
Amazing. And terrifying. And amazing. Part of me insists on treating it like some sort of huge final exam, which is silly, because no amount of studying will change the outcome. But at least that means I get a lot of reading done. I am so, so honored to be on this year’s ballot, as both myself and as Mira Grant. And I’m so excited that my CD, Wicked Girls, is up for Best Related Work, because filk never makes the ballot. We’re changing the world!
What’s next for you?
I have new books in both my ongoing series-as-Seanan coming up, and the third book in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy comes out this May/June. After that, I get to write more books in the Toby and InCryptid universes, and work on a book about parasites for Mira. It’s a busy, wonderful time.