Författarintervju: Carol Rifka Brunt

Det är dags för en ny författarintervju och denna gång har jag intervjuat Carol Rifka Brunt, författare av Låt vargarna komma som nyligen släpptes av X Publishing här i Sverige.

Credit: Rose Cook

Credit: Rose Cook

So, your debut Tell The Wolves I’m Home has finally gotten to Sweden. What can you tell us about it?
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is set in 1987 in New York and tells the story of 14-year-old June Elbus. June’s best and closest friend is her uncle, the artist Finn Weiss. Very early on in the book, Finn dies of AIDS. June is heartbroken and so when she is contacted by a man claiming to miss Finn as much as she does, she is intrigued. She soon finds herself embroiled in a secret friendship with this man, which forces her to face things about her uncle and herself. I suppose it’s a coming-of-age story, but I always saw it as a book about love of all kinds.

What or who inspired you to write the book?
– I can’t say that there was a specific inspiration. I was working on short stories when the image of a dying uncle painting a final portrait of his niece came into my mind. It was very random. I could picture the apartment very clearly and I felt that the situation was tense. That image kept returning to me and I kept trying to find a way in to write the story, but it never quite worked. Then, one day, June’s voice was there and I found the way in.
– I also had an exchange teacher for English when I was 13. He came from London to teach us for a year. Shortly after he left we heard that he’d died. He was only in his 30s, so this came as a real shock. A few weeks later word got around that he’d had AIDS. This was our first real brush with the disease and I think that really stayed with me all these years. Kind of a subconscious inspiration. My physical descriptions of Toby are so similar to what the teacher looked like, yet it still took me over a year to make the connection.

What are you up to at the moment?
– I’m just back from a book tour of the US and now I’m buckling down to work on a new novel.

latvargarnakomma_slutversion_framsida_highWhat kind of feedback for Tell The Wolves I’m Home have you gotten?
– I’ve had such an amazing response from readers. It’s surprised me in the most touching way. I’ve had readers open up and share their own stories of losing friends and lovers to AIDS in the 80s. I’ve had letters from teens who tell me they had no idea that AIDS used to be such a frightening and confusing illness. I’ve heard from women who connected with the story of the two sisters in a powerful and personal way. To be honest, all the feedback I’ve had has been amazingly positive. People seem to really connect with June and her story, which has made me very happy..

Last but not least, what are you going to read in the fall?
– I tend to read very little for pleasure, and certainly less fiction, once I start working on a new project. I‘ve got a few research books on my nightstand and also Jane Hirshfield’s poetry collection Come, Thief.

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