WELCOME POST: The Story of Babushka Blog Tour

Hello, everyone! Nathalie here, and I’m so pleased to welcome you to The Story of Babushka Tour. It’s written by the phenomenal Catherine Flores, and it tells the story of the meaning behind the Russian nesting doll.

I hope you all are as excited as we are!

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The Story of Babushka
by Catherine Flores
Published by ACL Creative Studio
Released on July 29th, 2020
CHILDRENS—Fantasy

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Babushka wants to find out the meaning of life so she sends her bodies out of the forest and into the world to search for answers. But there is a hurdle to overcome before all of the bodies can reunite and return to the forest.

WHAT IS A BABUSHKA?

The Babushka doll, also known as a “Matryoshka” or “Russian Nesting Doll”, is a traditional Russian toy first made over 100 years ago. The doll has come to symbolize Russian folk culture, as well as the complex and beautiful layers of women. This is the story of one very special doll, with five bodies that together make the Babushka: There was the outermost body, Antonia. She was pure beauty and everyone who saw her raved about her good looks. Beneath that body of beauty hid the second body, Loretta, who was richly adorned. She wore gold ornaments, and her robe was decorated with many different gems that glittered like the ocean on a sunny day. Hidden within the rich body was Paula the body that held all the talents. Whatever Paula did, she was sure to succeed. She knew how to work and always did so with joy and determination. Under the shell of the talented body was Viola, the body of wisdom. Viola knew a lot about the world and learned very quickly. She was always full of brilliant ideas and had clever solutions for every problem. The last body, the innermost and smallest of all, was Mary, the embodiment of love. Mary had a compassionate heart and was very helpful. She had the special ability to dry tears and mend broken hearts. All these bodies together formed the beautiful Babushka.

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image1cSince quitting her full-time job at a branding communication agency in Zurich, Catherine has gone on to become a successful freelance designer and a children’s author. She lives on the small island of Madeira with her family, spending her time growing vegetables in her garden and working for clients around the world.

For the interactive website for “The Story Of Babushka” visit The Story Of Babushka

You can also visit her website at Catherine Flores.ch or her design agency at ACL Creative Studio.

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1.Can you tell us a bit about yourself and about The Story of Babushka?

Sure! I’m Catherine and I was born in Switzerland, I’m currently on the small island of Madeira, which turns out to be quite a safe haven from the rest of the world in its current climate! Where I’ll end up next, I’m not quite sure, but hopefully, it’ll be another adventure once things open up again!

In regard to the book, it started as a tiny idea and seemed as though it would only grace the pages of my most personal dairy, almost left to be forgotten. Then one day I began to get lots of ideas of where the story could go. When I shared it with my partner he encouraged me to finish writing the story, which became “The Story of Babushka”.

The book itself is a story about a Russian nesting doll, who wants to find out the meaning of life, so she sends out her bodies to go in search of it. Along the way, she learns many different and valuable lessons. Does she find out the meaning of life? Well, that’s something for the reader to discover.

2. What was your favorite part of the writing/design process when writing The Story of Babushka?

The best part about the writing process was when I created the story and its world in my head. It’s like daydreaming, but with a set intention, which helped the whole story form clearly in my head.

I also really enjoyed creating the layout of the book myself, putting text and illustrations (made by Ana Beatriz Marques) together and to see the book come alive as a whole, as well as seeing hundreds of books being printed and ready to go out into the world – that was super exciting!

3. What is something your publishing journey has taught you?

I knew that as a self-publisher you had to do everything from A-Z, from producing the book to the promotion, but I have definitely learned that there can always be done more, especially when it comes to connecting and interacting with people. My partner has been a huge part in organizing things and in general making things happen. What I really learned is that it’s not only about the story that someone writes, but more about the author as a person. People want to know who is behind the book, and although, I’ve never been much of a person for publicity, I have enjoyed the process of getting to know the readers and the writing community greatly. The one thing that has been a struggle is the amount of screen time that has to be dedicated to the process, and I’ve tried my best to digital detox when possible! 

4. Which aspect of Babushka is your favorite?

I love that Babushka represents a multi-layered person with different qualities. None of these qualities (bodies) are meant to be on their own, but only make Babushka whole when they are all together. I think we are all some sort of Babushka with multiple unique qualities, that make us who we are. I also believe we should never solely rely on one aspect of our personalities, and work to refine all different parts of ourselves, whether it’s in a relationship, creatively, physically, or with health etc.

5. What drew you to The Story of the Babushka?

To be honest, I never had an intention to write a story and become an author, but it kind of just happened. I used to write a diary and get all my thoughts out into my notebook, to clear my head. One day, out of nowhere, I just had this idea of the story in my head. I had previously read the book series “Anastasia” by the Russian author Wladimir Megre, which made me more familiar with the Russian culture and may have influenced the setting of the story. But otherwise, there was just this vague idea, that was stuck in my head and I needed to get out.

6. What’s next for you in your writing journey?

I have many ideas, some of them are more detailed, some quite rough. The next is already complete and is in the process of being refined and proofread and will soon begin the illustrations process. It’s a shorter story for a younger audience, but still has a message to learn and is based around listening to your inner voice. I hope to get this one out much quicker than “The Story of Babushka”, which we created a whole world for, from the Illustrations which took 6 months, to the website that also took 6 months. Thankfully this experience has set out a path for me to follow, and I won’t have to use my machete to clear through the woods this time!

7. When you wrote your story, what was your writing space like?

When I wrote “The Story of Babushka” I didn’t have a set writing space. I still don’t have one today. But when I take my notebook or laptop to work on a story, I usually just look for a quiet, bright place where I can make myself comfortable. Our terrace with a view to the forest and ocean is perfect though, and with a cup of tea almost unbeatable!

8. What is a piece of writing advice that you have received that has really stuck with you?

That the message of the book has to be clear and that the story should follow the same theme throughout (or say, not to mix too many different ideas into one story).

9. What are your current favorite reads?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Das Wahren der Einzigartigkeit by Bruno and Doris Gantenbein (a book about a Swiss family’s views and experiences with unschooling their children)
Anastasia by Wladimir Megre (I still love this fictional book series, there is so much to learn from it!)

10. How are you taking care of yourself this year with everything happening in the world?

Because of the fact that we’re currently on a remote island in the middle of the Atlantic (there has been less than a 100 cases and no deaths) and enjoying our life most of the time away from people anyway, we didn’t really feel much of the panic and crises that are happening. We spend our times outside in our garden, breath fresh ocean air and eat healthy food and I think this is the best you can do for yourself. I personally also don’t read a lot of news, so the fear about the current situation doesn’t really get to me.

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We’ve partnered with Catherine to giveaway one (1) physical copy of The Story of Babushka to a lucky winner! This giveaway is open INTL and will end on August 22nd. To enter, click the button below!

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