|Nancy Springer - mystery book review|
3 QUESTIONS FOR NANCY SPRINGER, author of the Enola Holmes series
1. What made you choose the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes for your hero?
Well, I guess it's obvious I'm a feminist, so I'm always looking for a strong female protagonist with an applecart to upset. But the immediate cause was an editor who asked for something set in darkest London around the time of Jack the Ripper. Having never written historical, I was flabbergasted, but considered, thus: What might I have read as a child that could help me? My childhood reading had led me to write the Rowan Hood series (daughter of Robin Hood) plus I am Mordred and I am Morgan Le Fay (of King Arthur fame). Was there anything set in 18th century London?
Of course. Sherlock Holmes. My mother had a complete set of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works. I had all but memorized every Sherlock Holmes story Doyle had written.
2. What do you have in common with Enola?
An awful lot, although I didn't realize how much until after I had written The Case of the Missing Marquess. When I sent the manuscript in to my agent, I was awfully nervous, which was odd, considering how much I've published. Later I realized I was afraid of rejection because I'd put so much of myself in the book.
Specifically: like Enola, I was a skinny, shy, bookish, isolated child who loved to climb trees and explore the countryside. And ride my bike. And go fishing. My parents were in midlife when I was born, and I had two much older brothers who had little to do with me. Ours was a very British and very nearly Victorian household; my father being Protestant Irish and even older than my mother. She, my mother was an artist who painted exquisite watercolor flowers. By the time I became a teenager, my mother had "abandoned" me. While she did not actually run away, she had little time or attention to spare for me. In hindsight, I think she was going through health problems related to menopause but One Did Not Speak Of These Things. Enola R Me.
3. When you were a kid, who was your favorite mystery detective?
Sherlock Holmes, no contest.
And did you know that all six of the Enola Holmes books are going to be published in mainland China? And are already published (and popular) in Japan, France, Brazil, Israel, and I forget where else? Go, Enola!