Brought to you by OBS reviewer Verushka.
- Don’t forget to read our review for “The Boy Who Called God ‘She’ ” here at OBS.
Nancy Springer: I prefer to write novels, because I find they come more easily to me. Somewhere I heard that there’s a fundamental difference between novelists and short story writers: novelists believe in change occurring through the passage of time, while short story writers believe in epiphanies. If that’s true, I’m a novelist, although I love the challenge of writing short stories, which are more difficult, making me agonize over every word.
Verushka: What are the differences in each genre that you enjoy?
Nancy Springer: From my point of view, the difference is mostly stylistic. In fantasy I get to play with exotic words, poetic effects, beautiful hypnotic language. In realistic fiction I must listen to the voice of the narrator, which usually means using ordinary diction but can be imaginative in other ways, such as metaphor. In mystery I am often armed with a hard, stark vocabulary in order to face evil.
Verushka:”The boy who called God “She”” gives readers two unusual characters, Julian and Derek. Julian has a supernatural nature in the story, but he is unusual in that he refers to God as “she” in a Catholic school, no less. What did you want to convey to readers through him and his insistence in referring to God as a female?
Nancy Springer: I was just trying to open some minds a bit. I get soooo tired of patriarchal religion. Besides, God is female, isn’t she?
Verushka: In Derek you’ve created a character, a bully who I think readers can understand, and who changes the way he thinks about others and God – what did you want readers to take from his character?
Nancy Springer: Honestly, I’m not thinking about readers when I write. But it’s interesting what I myself learned from Derek. Really I meant for him to be the bad guy and I didn’t expect to like him. But because he was the narrator, he made me see his point of view, and I ended up with a deep sympathy for neglected teenage boys trying to be tough.
Verushka: In Silent End filled with wonderful twists on words, something that made me, smile in the end. Are you a Scrabble player? Do you enjoy the game as much as Judith?
Nancy Springer:You bet. At one time I belonged to a scrabble club, and the woman I kiln in the story is based on a real person, as are the other characters. I was raised on Scrabble; my parents started including me in family games when I was maybe ten. How patient they must have been! I enjoy Scrabble immensely but have a hard time finding anyone willing to play with me.
Verushka: What is about the crime and mystery genre that attracts you as a writer?
Nancy Springer: Having been raised by a Pollyanna-ish mother who would acknowledge only things that were capital-N Nice, I have always been fascinated with things that are not. I turned over rocks to see what was underneath. I listened in on conversations I was not supposed to hear. Throughout my entire writing career I have struggled to accept my own not-very-nice side. My fantasy novels always had a bright sunny character and a dark, poetic but brooding one. Once I started turning my vision outward, I started exploring the existence of evil through crime fiction. I’m still fascinated.
Thank you to author Nancy Springer for another great interview!