Q: How was your new book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: Bear’s journey is inspired by a whisper in the wind he hears one day. This whisper is the trigger, whatever makes someone decide to change their life, to act and look for a new place (physical space or mental). I liked the idea of listening to the wind in difficult times.
Q: Did you know how the story would end before you started creating it, or did you make many changes along the way?
A: I have a very spontaneous and unplanned way of writing my stories. For books like this one, I use my emotions as a source of inspiration. I don’t know precisely what will happen in the story, but I know what the mood will be. I follow this lead and that is how the book is written.
So, no, I didn’t know the end, but I knew Bear would be happy. Because that is what I want to be.
Q: What do you think the book says about home?
A: That sometimes we have to leave what we know to try and find something that suits us better. It’s not better than the previous home, it’s just different and what we need at that moment. It takes courage to leave, and it takes courage to decide to stop searching and try and be happy again.
I liked that Bear left his door open so someone could get in if they wanted. Because his life wasn’t a bad one. His house used to be a happy one, and surely it can be a good place for someone who needed a place just like this one. But Bear needed something else. And that is fine too.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I have had a very hard time creating in the pandemic. Like many, I feel a bit lost and am very exhausted by all these months of worry, adaptation and uncertainty.
It is funny because although I wrote Bear in the fall of 2019, before Covid, it could very well be about what we have all gone through with this pandemic. We are still the same as before, have the same life, but not quite. Things have changed and many of us are looking for a way to be happy in all these changes.
So I am currently trying to find a new home for my creativity, trying to find a new way to my imagination and my ideas. I did write a choose your adventure kind of book for young readers, and it was a delight because it was so much fun and different from what I usually do.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: About Bear? This book is very open to interpretation. This is done on purpose, because I like that a reader can decide some parts of the story.
I did write this book because I had lost close ones. But I didn’t want to say it in the book, because it could be about having to move, about parents’ separation, about illness, or simply about big changes.
I know that teachers who have migrant students have used the book to talk about their previous life versus what they have found in a new country. A little girl wrote to me to say that her book represented how she felt after she was diagnosed with a rare disease.
I am very touched by these testimonials, because I wrote this very personal book without knowing how it would be received by readers. Such stories really touch me and make me happy that I did not explain everything in the book.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Marianne Dubuc.