Q&A with Maritime Author Becca Babcock
Becca Babcock's most recent can be found at NovelTea Bookstore & Gifts or Nimbus Publishing.
- What gave you the idea to make your most recent book?
As an archivist, I regularly encounter stories that inspire me. When I first started working at the Mount Allison University Archives, I kept encountering details about the 1941 residence fire. I felt in some ways haunted by those voices, haunted by the tragedy, and writing became a way for me to commemorate and share that history with new audiences.
- Do you think there is value in fiction set in the Maritimes?
Of course! Reading about the Maritimes gives me a sense of belonging. It makes me feel seen and validates my experiences. I hope as a writer to do the same for others.
- Was any character the most fun or most difficult to write?
The fun part of this book was that I took a risk and wrote every chapter from a different perspective. There are quite a few characters in my book! The most fun to write was the perspective of fire.
- How long have you been working on it?
I worked on this book for two years from start to publication.
- What do you hope people get from your work?
An appreciation and deeper understanding of history, especially local or regional history.
- What are some of your favourite books/authors?
Kate Atkinson, Esi Edugyan, Alison MacLeod are a few of my favourite authors. They never disappoint. My favourite book of 2022 was Léa by Ariela Freedman. I think my favourite book of 2023 (so far) is Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens.
- Is there any non-book media that influences your writing?
Podcasts on writing are a continuous source of inspiration for me. I love listening to other writers talk about their process and inspiration.
- What is a book that you think is underread/underappreciated?
I find Acadian literature is both underread and underappreciated. We have a rich literary tradition, not all of which has been translated, which means it isn’t always accessible to our anglophone neighbours. As a proud Acadian, I try to help bridge that gap with my own writing by always including Acadian characters.
- When did you start writing?
Like many authors, I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil. I turned my childhood closet into a writing nook when I was young and eventually pursued both a BA and MA in English. Now I write all sorts of things, including academic papers and articles.
- What is the best and/or worst writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
I think the best and the worst advice I’ve ever received is “Write every day.” I think better advice would be to make your writing a routine—but don’t force yourself to write if the words don’t come. There are days when I sit down even when I don’t want to and find the words eventually come. But when it feels like pulling teeth, I know the best thing to do is to walk away.
- What is your favourite genre to write? Do you want to try writing in other genres?
I consider myself a historical fiction author, something that aligns well with my career as an archivist, but have been toying with the idea of writing a contemporary novel next. I also write about history and archival records in various non-fiction formats.
- Tea or coffee?
I refuse to only pick one!