A talented journalist and writer, author of several highly acclaimed novels, Nathalie Babin-Gagnon was inspired by a great story of friendship to write her new novel, Mary's Choices. It tells the story of two young girls, Lauréanne and Marie, who meet as teenagers in Abitibi. They then moved to Montreal to continue their studies. Marie will then make a choice that will shake up the course of their existence. Thirty years later, she will again make a choice with serious consequences.
In the novel, Lauréanne remembers her meeting with Marie, when she was a teenager in Val-d' Gold and entangled in a relationship with an older guy to get away from her parents.
As the days go by, the links are woven, trust is established. Marie motivates Lauréanne to study to change her life and the two girls end up in Montreal. Great upheavals await them.
Nathalie Babin-Gagnon, in a telephone interview, points out that her novel is not autobiographical, but that she grew up in Val-d'Or, which helped her camp the place.
“Lauréanne, I made her different from me. She is a lawyer. She has a much more down-to-earth and pragmatic side than me. She says herself, at one point, that she is not sentimental. But I, too, had a great friendship, which has continued since secondary 1. ”
Nathalie says she met Josée Bilodeau, who is also an author, at that time. “ We left Val-d’Or at the same time and we are still friends, since our secondary 1. But she has no children and does not look like Marie at all. I have drawn elements of inspiration from my life, even from Josée's life, because it is her apartments that are put to use. I loot everywhere, I steal everywhere in the lives of people around me. »
The impact of Trump
She started writing this novel the day after Donald Trump was elected in the United States.
“ Lauréanne talks about it. I had just finished my previous novel and wanted to do something completely different. I was completely flabbergasted by Trump's election.”
The theme of self-sacrifice had bothered her for a long time, she adds. “But you can't tell a story from a theme… The day after Trump was elected, I started to build that friendship. I work a lot with the imagination and I wanted to imagine a destiny for these two friends. »
« Trump's election was the trigger for trying to talk about values and positive messages. It got us in a mooda little flat and I preferred, in my work, to go towards something beautiful, by talking about values, solidarity, and solidarity between women. »
Sorority is something beautiful, but not always simple, she adds. “In the novel, the longer it went, the more intense this bond between Marie and Lauréanne was. I love them a lot. I lived a few years with them and they are almost alive, for me. I carried them with me for a while and they became part of my life.
The theme of self-sacrifice really inspired her throughout the writing. “I find it intriguing, people who go through with an action. Marie is what she does, ultimately. I always had it in mind but while writing, I realized that Lauréanne does it too, by always being there for her friend, always present. I am happy that this theme carried the story. »
- Nathalie Babin-Gagnon is a journalist at the Radio-Canada newsroom.
- She divides her time between writing and the mic.
- After L'Absent (2016) and The Marker's Error (2018) published by XYZ, she is publishing her fifth novel this year.
- She is working on her next novel.
“ In the park of a city I love, imbued with the beauty of a calm morning, I found myself determined to tell our story. You saved me by changing the course of life that awaited me. You raised a beautiful daughter whom you followed down a perilous path, and I owe you credit for that. I think that our exceptional friendship, like a great love, rests on irrational bases. Why did you choose me as your friend? Why did you determine that I would not fall into the trap of agreed fate that was closing in on me? Why did I stay by your side despite the decision you made that I didn't approve of? “