How Carrie Seim went from Greenlee graduate to published author

CATEGORIES: Alumni, News

By Emma McDowell

Carrie Seim’s career has taken her all the way from “Inside Amy Schumer” to The New York Post to an author of middle-grade books. The biggest through line in her career journey? Content creation and capturing stories.

Seim will be returning to Iowa State University Oct. 21 alongside fellow former honors students Trent Preszler and Denise Williams. Students can hear the trio discuss their books and journeys to becoming authors. The lecture will be at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room.

Initially enrolled as an engineering major, Seim attended Iowa State as a national merit scholar. While at Iowa State, she participated in the honors program, lecture series, and Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, an improv troupe on campus.

Eventually, Seim switched her major to journalism and mass communication and explored her interest in writing. She recalls being thrown into the world of journalism through classes at Greenlee. In one of her first classes at Greenlee, she wrote a rich, immersive description of the space around her. This assignment sharpened both observation and writing skills which Seim carries over into every writing assignment.

After graduation, Seim joined the Sundance Film Institute in the international writing program. She credits her mentor, University Lectures director Pat Miller, for strongly advocating for her to receive the job. During the day, she worked for Sundance, and atnight she performed improv at the Groundlings Theater. Her performances at the Groundlings got her an audition for “Saturday Night Live,” writing jobs for Nickelodeon, and eventually a job at “The Tyra Banks Show.”

While with “The Tyra Banks Show,” Seim relocated to New York City and worked as a Dating Correspondent. She journeyed across New York City, going on dates and reporting back to Tyra. Working on the show led to becoming a dating columnist for The New York Post and writing freelance features for various publications including Cosmopolitan, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times.

While freelancing, a publisher proposed that Seim write a book for middle-school girls. Drawing inspiration from her grandfather’s flying circus, she wrote her first book, “The Flying Flamingo Sisters.” This Audible original mimics a 1930’s radio drama and was picked for New York Time’s Best Audiobooks for Road Trips with Kids.

Her next book, “Horse Girl,” is gearing up to be a romp for young girls everywhere. She describes it as a mix of “Mean Girls” and “Black Beauty.”

Currently in the works for Seim is a sequel to “The Flying Flamingo Sisters.” She enjoys writing for a middle-school audience and explores the highs and lows of pre-teenhood. Seim admires the heart that is in middle-school books.

“It’s an extremely rich arena to explore. You can have those grown-up scenes, but it still has that heart and hope. There’s this innocence and also intelligence to it,” she said.

Photo by Laura Barisonzi