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Gina Ochsner and Paula Huston

How to Catch an Eel

A conversation between novelists.

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I showed a story to my parents, who have staunchly supported everything I've written. But this story, like others I've written, was all about the way we are walking train wrecks: wounded and unable to keep from wounding others. My mom shook her head, clicked her tongue. "What did we do wrong with you?" She didn't do anything wrong. She put a Bible in my hand when I was young. And the Bible is a deeply disturbing book. The divine and supernatural intersect, regularly, with the human and the natural. All this to say that I believe in the supernatural as fact, not fiction. This worlds spins on the axis of the mysterious and the miraculous. This conviction fuels my vision and perception. When I write, I feel as if I'm standing on the precipice. I'm peering into a widening darkness. The light is behind me, my body casts a long shadow. In the shadow God hovers and broods.

Gina Ochsner's most recent novel is The Hidden Letters of Velta B. (just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Paula Huston's is A Land Without Sin (Slant/Wipf & Stock). They can both be reached via their websites: www.ginaochsner.com and www.paulahuston.com.

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