Interview with V. Bray, Author of Babchi

30 Mar 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Babchi?

The book is loosely based on my grandmother’s experience during WWII. Her family was living a quiet life in a national forest in Poland when they were suddenly deported to a Siberian labor camp. I knew I wanted to share her story, but did not know how until I had sketched out a dozen different ideas. Two distinct voices emerged: Anna in the labor camp who later becomes Babchi and Katie her granddaughter. As a story told in two voices, I hope the contrast highlights the strength and love shared between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I was lucky to grow up in a family of readers. Books for both entertainment and learning were always lying around the house. As a child my parents were fine with me spending a weekend reading. It was great.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

There are SO many more than five. But if I must:

1.    Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

2.    The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

3.    Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

4.    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

5.    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I am ever surprised and delighted by Catherynne Valente’s writing from poetry to short stories to novels. I’d like to ask how she keeps inspired.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The first time you fall in love with the story you’re writing. There are no strings attached, no expectations, just you and the words.

What is a typical day like for you?

I have a day job, but making writing a part of every day is important. Usually, I journal in the mornings and then after dinner put time into whichever writing project I’m working on.

What scene from Babchi was your favorite to write?

The moment when both characters, in their separate time arcs, realize they are free. For Anna it is after she is physically free from the labor camp. For the granddaughter, Katie, it’s after she breaks away from damaging relationships and beliefs.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Before I do anything, I try to ask, “Is this kind?” Compassion, understanding, and empathy are important.

V. Bray is the author of the new book Babchi

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