Nancy Oswald writes engaging historical fiction and nonfiction for the young and young at heart.
If you could write any other genre, what would it be?
Fantasy. I think it has lots in common with writing historical fiction as you have to understand the world you’re entering and make sure all your details and metaphors match the setting.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
To Williams Lake, BC to visit the archives for the Empire Valley Ranch which were all on microfiche at that time. Ditto on the BC Provincial Archives.
Other pilgrimages were to the site of the Sand Creek Massacre. Before that the history museum in Colorado to see a display on Ancient Indians. Before I left the museum, I had completely changed my topic to the Cheyenne Indians because of a Dog Soldier sash on display and also a cool book from the museum on the Dog Soldier Ledger Book Art.
One more, to Cripple Creek where I went down into the Molly Kathleen Mine on a tour. This began my Cripple Creek writing where Ruby and her donkey, Maude, came alive in the Ruby and Maude Adventures.
Do you have another artistic outlet in addition to your writing? Do you sew? Paint? Draw? Knit? Dance? Garden?
Gardening, but it is more a practical thing. I like to eat, but more importantly, I am passionate about soil health and taking care of the microbes under our feet. People take soil for granted. Not so. It’s alive! Gardening without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers is the best thing humans can do to help failing health and the health of the environment. Gardening, but it is more a practical thing. I like to eat, but more importantly, I am passionate about soil health and taking care of the microbes under our feet. People take soil for granted. Not so. It’s alive! Gardening without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers is the best thing humans can do to help failing health and the health of the environment.
What piece of clothing tells an interesting story about your life?
My winter coat. It’s well worn and comfortable. I love it so much I replaced the zipper twice. It’s got barnyard gunk on it that doesn’t wash off. I bought a replacement—the exact same style, but it is still hanging in the closet and has been rarely worn. I do this with old shirts, too. It seems when they are starting to get holes in them is about the same time, they become fully soft and comfortable.
What was the inspiration for your most recent book?
I want to say COVID. My plan was to make progress on an unfinished draft of what I am calling my Canadian story. It was a complete re-write and stalled out, so I did some reading and research for another book I’d like to write. I got a start on it, but when I tried a paragraph or two for a spark of an idea I had for a new Ruby and Maude Adventure, the book kept going and became the fourth full length novel for young readers about Ruby, her donkey Maude, her cat named Trouble, and now Maude’s foal, Willy, has stepped into the stories and become an entity on the pages.
Nancy Oswald loves researching and writing historical fiction books for young readers. She has, however, written in a variety of genres including personal interest pieces, children’s plays, poetry, educational research, biography, and nonfiction articles. Oswald spent her growing up years in Denver but has lived as an adult in rural Colorado and the outback of British Columbia where she taught in a one and a two-room school. She taught for 20 years in rural Colorado and is now retired. Nancy’s books have won the Spur Award, CIPA Evvy Award, Willa Literary Award, Will Rogers Award, Colorado Author’s League Writing Award, and have had multiple finalist recognitions. Nancy currently lives with her husband and their dogs, cats, cows, chickens, and one nearly human donkey on a family ranch near Cotopaxi, Colorado.
Website (Books can also be purchased here.)
Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her next novel, The Map Colorist, comes out in September, 2023.