Brought to you by OBS reviewer Verushka.

  • Don’t forget to read our review for “The Boy Who Called God ‘Shehere at OBS.

Verushka: Which do you prefer – writing long form stories/novels or short stories and why?

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!