I always feel badly about writers that I admire that seem to fade from my memory until they pop up on my radar with a new book. Todd Babiak is such a writer. His works are brilliant looks at the human condition and his first “Christopher Kruse” book Come Barbarians was a dark yet wonderful thriller.(Link to my review) Babiak “gleed” many of my followers of my blog by doing one of the first Q&As for me. (Link here) Yet he slipped into the background until I learned of the publication of Son of France last week. I did manage to get in touch with Babiak recently and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his new work. Look out bookseller, Son of France is now on my shopping list.
1) So you have brought Agent Christopher Kruse back for your new book Son of France. Can you give a bit of an outline of the book?
A: At the end of Come Barbarians Kruse is living in Paris and watching over a woman and her daughter. Son of France, begins shortly thereafter, as he tries to decide whether to stay or go back home to Toronto. He is working for the Mayor of Paris, at an announcement in a Jewish restaurant, when a man throws grenades inside. Kruse and his partner and mentor Tzvi, from Toronto, then try to find out who threw the grenades and why.
2) You mentioned in a Q&A that the first Kruse novel – Come Barbarians – was a ‘darker style’ than you had previously written in. Is Son of France in that same style? Are you friends still worried about ‘your funny brain still being filled with darkness?’
A: My friends have probably stopped waiting for lollipops and unicorns to burst forth from my brain. Son of France is definitely a crime novel but there are moments of lightness in it. Tzvi can be a comical guy.
3) Did you do much research for “Son of France?” If yes, was there any travel involved?
A: I have travelled multiple times to France. And I had to do a lot of research on the birth of the European Union, the continent in the early 1990s when everyone was talking about “the end of history.”
4) Are you planning any public readings for Son of France? If yes, are there any places or dates you are excited to partake in?
A: I’m hoping to be a part of the literary festival circuit in the fall, but other than that I’m going wherever anyone invites me.
5) I’m not seeing any translations of Come Barbarians or Son of France into French. Have there been any translations? Has there been any reaction from any French residents to Kruse’s view and interpretations to French society?
A: So far, just from French people who have read “Come Barbarians” in English. We’re working on having it in French-speaking markets.
6) Have you read anything interesting since the our last Q&A that has excited your imagination? Any new writers that you admire right now?
A: I’ve just started Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck, who grew up in Sweden but now lives in Alberta. It’s terrific so far. And I’m excited to read Dan Vyleta’s new novel, Smoke.
7) Are you working on any new books right now? If yes, are there details you care to share?
A: I’m ready to begin the third Christopher Kruse book but I’m taking a break to write a novel called The Empress of Idaho. It’s a saucy story that takes place in 1989 and I will never let my mother read it.