Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight: Nina Kiriki Hoffman

What inspired your story “Monsters, Finders, Shifters?”

I worked on it a while ago, and can’t now remember where the original idea came from. The story was waiting to be the first chapter of a book, but I had other projects I had to do, so that hasn’t happened yet. Finally I took another look and thought it could stand on its own.

Bertram has to answer “What is human?” at a young age. How would you answer that question at Bert’s age? Would you give the same answer now?

When I was twelve, I’m pretty sure I thought people and human meant the same thing. Bert grew up in a culture where the dividing line between human and monster is clearly defined, and in his world, the chances of being born with “monster” traits are much higher, so I think he has a more difficult time with this question than I did.

These days, I think “human” defines our species, and “people” has a much wider meaning. We share the planet with all kinds of beings. We have differing senses, intelligences, body structures, cognition, desires, and fears. All of these things interest me.

Bert trades security and family for the potential to learn and develop. Given the same choice, which would you take?

I think this is the choice I did make. I moved out of my mother’s house and went away to college; I live at a distance from my siblings, although we communicate by email and visit each other. I don’t think it’s an “either/or” choice for me, or for Bert, just a shift in priorities.

Bert has many siblings whom he doesn’t always get along with, but he has their support by the end. You’ve said that you were competitive with your own siblings growing up. Are you close now?

I love my brothers and sister and enjoy seeing them when I can. We have a good time together. We had a reunion in May, 2012, which was fun. It had been a while since we saw each other before that.

What’s next for you?

More short stories! I’m also working on a young adult novel called Ghost Attachment Disorder for Sharyn November at Viking. Beyond that, the choices are wide open.

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Jennifer Konieczny

Jennifer KoniecznyJennifer Konieczny hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An alumna of Villanova University, she now pursues her doctorate in medieval studies at the University of Toronto. She enjoys working with fourteenth-century Latin legal texts, slushing for Lightspeed Magazine, and scanning bookshelves for new authors to read.