How did this story come about for you? Where did the voice of the narrator come from?
I wrote this story while I was at Clarion West. The whole thing — character, voice, action — just sort of sprang, as it were, completely out of nowhere. I stole the name Springheel Jack from the notorious early nineteenth-century monster, but the shiny red boots were a riff on the fairy tale of the red shoes. Instead of making you dance until you drop, these boots make you steal until you drop.
This story shows a lot of color: blue for the cold, the tenement, and poverty; red for the shiny boots, and the promise of what the boots can bring our Jack. What prompted this choice? Do you dabble in the visual arts yourself?
I work purely in words, but I try to be as vivid as possible in my description. I hadn’t actually noticed until now the oppositional use of red and blue — it was a lucky accident, I guess.
What’s next for you? Do you think you’d expand on Jack’s adventures as you see them?
Springheel Jack does appear in my other novels, in varying guises. I see him as a trickster character, so I never know where he is going to show up or what he’s going to be up to when he does. In fact, he is a major character in my current work in progress so we’ll definitely be hearing more from him.
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