Last week I reviewed Vijaya Bocach's new YA book, BOUND. Vijaya graciously agreed to an author interview and since she had a lot of information for readers and writers, I've decided to run it for two weeks. We hope you enjoy it!
AUTHOR INTERVIEW- Part I
CAROL: I’m very curious about the inspiration for BOUND. Are they individuals you knew or are Joy and Rebecca from your imagination?
VIJAYA: I borrowed the circumstances of my two cousins, Sangeeta and Aradhana, to explore many questions Rebecca was asking. Sangeeta was born deaf and had congenital heart defects requiring surgery due to my aunt contracting Rubella (German Measles) during pregnancy. The doctor advised an abortion because these children can have a lifetime of difficulties but my aunt refused and braved every challenge of raising a child with special needs. Later they adopted Aradhana, who nearly died in a fire as a small child. Both miracle babies!!! They are now happily married and Sangeeta is also a mother to a teenage boy. From the beginning, Rebecca and Joy were their own persons with their own agendas. Joy was my favorite character to write.
CAROL: You have a lot of detail about burns and medical treatment. How much research did you have to do?
VIJAYA: I began with my cousins, who corroborated my memories as well as discussions with my aunt. I also read memoirs and a lot of medical texts on severe burns and their treatment. I am fascinated by the human body and how it functions, so really enjoy this type of research.
|Vijaya's cousins, Aradhana and Sangeeta|
CAROL: Why did you write BOUND?
VIJAYA: About ten years ago, our family was going through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and Rebecca was talking in my head and asking hard questions about life, love, and responsibility. It was clear that a short story wouldn’t give me the space I needed to explore the central dramatic question: “Are you your brother’s keeper?” Rebecca and Joy were the perfect characters to help me examine this through my newly-developing Catholic conscience.
CAROL: Obviously, your ethnic identity comes out clearly in the book. Was that part difficult or easy to write?
VIJAYA: The ethnic part is easy—it’s in my very cells I grew up in India and so am very familiar with Indian mentality—there’s great diversity so there’s no such thing as a typical Indian. I had great fun writing Meanie Auntie. She came fully formed in my imagination.
CAROL: I also loved how there are many ways that the girls are different and also the same. Was that all purposeful on your part? (ie, both are damaged in some way.)
VIJAYA: Yes. My working title for this story was DAMAGED and from the beginning, I knew Rebecca would be a highly intelligent burn survivor like my cousin, with Joy damaged in the opposite way. I also wanted to make her an unfit mother in the eyes of the world. I thought about all the worst-case scenarios where people say it’s best to have an abortion and make a case against it through my characters.
CAROL: I like BOUND so much better! It is a layered title that hints at the story. By the way--I think the cover is fantastic for the same reason!
CAROL: What has been the response to BOUND?
VIJAYA: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I love that I get a share in building His Kingdom. To God all the glory.
Next week Vijaya will share her publishing journey and we have some "shop talk" about decisions she made while writing the book. Giveaway date has now shifted to February 14. Each time you leave a comment I'll enter your name again. Remember to leave me your email address if you are new to my blog.
Vijaya Bodach is a scientist-turned-children’s writer, an atheist-turned-Catholic, and most recently, a writer-turned-publisher (Bodach Books). She is the author of over 60 books for children, including TEN EASTER EGGS, and just as many magazine articles, stories, and poems. BOUND is her first novel.