BF: What authors have influenced you? Is there a current novel that you’d like to rave about to our readers?
NS: So many writers have influenced me, so this is a difficult question to answer; however, the author that has had the greatest impact on me as a writer would have to be Aimee Bender. Many of her characters and worlds contain absurdities, but the absurdities have meaning and purpose.
She taught me that literary fiction doesn’t always have to mimic real life. Stories of fantasy can—despite what some people think—have meaning and “literary merit.” Whether it be a story about a young girl who can taste her mother’s despair in the lemon cake she bakes, or a boy with an iron for a head who’s born into a family of pumpkin heads, her tales contain characters that undergo experiences applicable to us all in some form or another. They tell of magic and pain, suffering and triumph, and glory and disaster: all