Nina Kiriki Hoffman 2010

 
 
 
Nina Kiriki Hoffman 
Nina Kiriki Hoffman has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time.  I picked up "The Thread That Binds the Bones" in 1994 and fell in love with the world of Chapel Hollow.  Sadly, this book is now out of print, but if you see one in a used bookstore, BUY IT!  I'm not kidding.  Get it.  Get everyone you can find and give them to your friends.  And it's not even my favorite of her books.  I've been known to order 5 copies of "A Fistful of Sky" just so that I can hand them out to people like Halloween candy.
Nina has created an amazing world filled with magic and family and Powers and Presences.  The past can live in your house and be ready to speak to you if only you're ready to hear it.  
Her newest book, "Thresholds" coming next week from Viking Children's Books is absolutely amazing.    I got to read an advance copy back in February (because being a bookseller is like being magic.)  This book, and it's sequel (due out from Viking in 7/11) are geared toward the YA audience.  Here are my thoughts on it:
 
“Thresholds” is magic; pure, unadulterated magic.  Hoffman has laid down a tale like paint from a brush.  Like a wash of color this story will seep into your soul.  The story opens with loss.  Maya and
her family have moved to Oregon after the death of Maya’s best friend from cancer.  Maya and Stephanie were two parts of a creative whole.  Stephanie wove the stories and Maya made them visible.  Even in young children this kind of partnership can be closer than siblings and its loss is catastrophic.  The night before school starts Maya wakes up to find a fairy on her bed.  The fairy sleeps on Maya all night and leaves behind an essence of magic.  This hint of magic around her makes Maya’s unusual next door neighbors speak to her at school.  It causes a strange boy to accost her in the school hallway.  The hint of magic allows Maya to cross the thresholds of homes, hearts, and worlds.  She is given access to secrets and may in time find friends that can help her heal from her loss. 
 
 
Sara  
Do you have any pets and, if so, do they help or hinder the writing process?
 
 Nina

I have cats.  Currently there are three of them, and one of them, Sprite, is inimical to my writing

process.  He is very, very bratty when he's not being adorable, and will do things like bite the laptop's upper edge, bite the laptop's cord, bite anything that sticks out the side of the laptop (like flash drives), and knock anything loose off the table (think optical mouse or pens).  He loves to poke things until something shifts.

 

At this time, I write in coffee shops rather than at home.  (Yes, I blame Sprite.)  I have plans to revamp my office.  When these plans materialize, maybe I'll have a writing haven in my house again.  This must include a door I can shut.

 

   
Sara
 What is your ideal vacation?
 
Nina

This question stymied me for the longest time!  It sent me into a tizzy because, well, I guess I don't really take vacations.  I go on trips, but they are mostly family- or business-related, and not very relaxing.

 

In March 2010 I went to Arizona to participate in the fabulous Tucson Festival of Books, and after the Festival, I had two days of ideal vacation -- I spent them with my friends Charles de Lint and MaryAnn Harris, exploring, having dinners with friends, enjoying each other's company.

 

My other thought about an ideal vacation would be to spend time someplace I haven't been, or haven't been in a long time.  I would love a sense of leisure, the conviction that I don't have to rush home and get back to work.  I would like to give myself permission to be lazy.File:Kiyomizu-dera and Kyoto at night.jpg

 

I was thinking about Kyoto (I watch a lot of anime, and I'd love to see the temples and the town — well, there's a lot of Japan I'd like to explore!), or Europe.  My only previous trip to Europe was in 1969, one of those seven-countries-in-thirty-days trips with a big bus load of other people, which was educational and fascinating, but leisurely?  Hardly.  I'd like to go again.  I'm sure I'd experience things differently now.  I'd love to explore with a camera!

 
 
Sara 
Who were your favorite authors when you were growing up?
 
Nina

Ray Bradbury, Zenna Henderson, Nicholas Stuart Gray, Alan Nourse, Andre Norton, Alexander Key, Edward Eager.  Mark Twain (HUCKLEBERRY FINN, but not TOM SAWYER).  Rudyard Kipling (THE JUNGLE BOOKS, STALKY & CO.).  Frances Hodgson Burnett (THE SECRET GARDEN, A LITTLE PRINCESS).  Arthur Conan Doyle (all things Sherlock).  Er....which part of growing up? :)

 

 
      
 
 
 

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

 
 Sara
What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
 
Nina  

I have seen only about two movies this year so far.  One of them was great, THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX.  I can't remember what the other one was.

 
 
 
Sara
What is your literary guilty pleasure?
 
Nina  
I guess I would have to say romance!  I read lots more of them when I worked at B. Dalton and had a ready supply.  Our store closed in 2008.  I still get them at the library and on Kindle.
 
 
Sara
How long did it take before you began to think of yourself as an “AUTHOR?”
 
Nina

Well, I don't know.  Maybe never.  "Author" seems pretentious, but I cop to "writer."  :)

 
 
Sara
Which is better; April showers or May flowers?

 

Nina
I think they're interdependent!  We need both.
 
 
 
 
Sara
What do you do to get away from the keyboard?
 
Nina

Er...stand up and walk away?

 

There are so many things I take delight in I don't have time for them all!  I love to walk around and look at things, especially with my friends.  I love taking pictures.  I love going to movies, and watching TV, and I like swimming, museums, and travel, even if it's just to a town an hour away.  I love playing cards, but I haven't found enough card players where I live to get up a game.

 

I've been in an intermediate fiddle class for the past year, though I've been playing music (guitar, banjo, piano) for much longer, and lately I've been going to lots of places where I can play, sing, listen, and enjoy.  Mostly this involves old-time fiddling, country-western type music.  Our class has been venturing into Irish/Celtic/Scottish tunes lately, though.

 
 
Sara
Is there another genre you’ve always wanted to write in?
 
Nina

I would love to tackle paranormal romance.  My only fear is that the protagonists, like, have to act like grownups, or sort of like them, anyway, and I haven't learned how to do that yet myself.  Then again, it's fiction, so maybe I can make that part up.

 
 
Sara
Which of your characters would you most like to be for a day?
 
Nina

This is another question that stumped me for a long time.  I guess it would be fun to be Jaimie, from SPIRITS THAT WALK IN SHADOW, because she really seems to have good control over her magic and can do fun things with it.  But, paradoxically, thinking about being one of my characters seems like an invasion of their privacy!

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