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Writing from the Heart and Vulnerability with Author Christie Leigh Babirad
Episode 195th April 2023 • Author Express • Shawna Rodrigues, Kathleen Basi, Kristi Leonard
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Today on Author Express we have Author, Christie Leigh Babirad, a Women’s Fiction author and Poetess who will say without hesitation that the connection she has created with her readers has come through writing directly from the heart and a place of fearless vulnerability.

Christie Leigh celebrated the fourth anniversary of her debut Women’s Fiction story, As the Winds Change, this past February, and speaks on how grateful she is to have had this story has her first of now a total of four fiction books, including the follow-up to As the Winds Change, “Where You Are”. All of her writing weaves threads of the life subjects that mean the most to her and what she hopes in some cases will create change in us all caring more about each other, inspiring us to reach out to each other in greater perspectives and understanding. Her stories and poetry write to the topics of relationship dynamics, spirituality- believing that our loved ones who have passed on are still with us through signs and gentle whispers until we meet again, discovering what are life callings are and not letting anything hold us back, feeling different and dealing with loneliness, empathy, caring about each other more, media and society- that connects with isolated emotions, and Love- every kind- romantic, familial, friendship.

She is currently working on her fourth poetry collection, and possibly her next novel. She explains how her novel is in that very early stage where you don’t want to say too much until the story is fully grounded. When she’s not writing, she is running her miles, a routine she’s grateful to have developed in her younger years. In addition to being an author, she works as a freelance editor and collaborator. She also has a lot of passion for all different kinds of music and has found that this medium has really inspired her writing.

You can stay up to date with all of Christie Leigh’s releases and content through Instagram @ Christie Leigh Babirad (@christieleighbabiradauthor) • Instagram photos and videos and her Facebook Author Page @ Author, Christie Leigh Babirad | Facebook

To view her books, please visit https://amzn.to/3xfIz4C

Amazon.com/author/christieleighbabirad

A little about today's host-

Author and musical composer Kathleen Basi is mother to three boys and one chromosomally-gifted daughter. Her debut novel, A SONG FOR THE ROAD, follows a musician on an unconventional road trip. Bestselling author Kerry Anne King writes, “In a novel filled with music, heartbreak, and surprising laughter, Basi takes us on a journey that encompasses both unimaginable loss and the powerful resilience of the human heart.”

Meaty, earnest, occasionally humorous, and ultimately uplifting, Kathleen’s fiction highlights the best within ourselves and each other. She writes monthly reflections on life, writing and beauty on her newsletter. Subscribe at https://kathleenbasi.substack.com/

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Learn more about our hosts, the guests we've had, and their books -

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Transcripts

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Kathleen Basi 0:00

Welcome to Author Express. Thanks for checking us out. This is the podcast where you give us 15 minutes of your time and we give you a chance to hear the voice behind the pages and get to know some of your favorite writers in a new light. I'm one of your hosts, Kathleen Basi. I'm an award winning musical composer, a feature writer, essayist, and of course storyteller. Let me tell you a little bit about today's guest.

Kathleen Basi 0:28

Christie Leigh Babirad is an award winning women's fiction author and poetess of seven books. Reviewers have remarked on the vivid descriptions and compelling messages of Christie Leigh Babirad's writing. Christie Leigh is known for writing from the heart and a place of deep vulnerability, which is connected her with her readers who she is so grateful for. Covering themes including relationship dynamics, and the spiritual belief that our loved ones who have passed on are still with us. Christie Leigh's books are all about love and living our lives with lots of soul. Welcome, Christie Leigh to Author Express.

Christie Leigh Babirad 1:01

Thank you so much for having me.

Kathleen Basi 1:03

So, let's start by just getting to know you a little bit. Tell me, what's the most interesting thing about where you live?

Christie Leigh Babirad 1:10

I would say that the most interesting thing about where I live is the diversity of options. So, I live about 40, 45 minutes outside of New York City. And then about an hour away from the farms and the wineries of the Hamptons. There's lots of arts and culture, 15 minutes away from the beach. So, you can get a small town feel the country, the land, and the city. All pretty close to where I live.

Kathleen Basi 1:42

That's pretty amazing. That is a pretty good diversity, I have to say. Do you have a favorite among those?

Christie Leigh Babirad 1:50

My favorite among those would definitely be the beach. I mean, I do,

Kathleen Basi 1:54

oh, yeah?

Christie Leigh Babirad 1:55

I do like seeing shows in New York City. And I like New York City at Christmas time. But that's about it, then, then I just want to be at the beach.

Kathleen Basi 2:06

I have always wanted to go see a show in New York and I have not managed to do that. But I live a long ways away.

Christie Leigh Babirad 2:11

It's, it's an experience. It's definitely an experience.

Kathleen Basi 2:16

Well, good for you for taking advantage of everything that is around you.

Christie Leigh Babirad 2:19

Thank you.

Kathleen Basi 2:20

So, tell me, how would one of your siblings describe you when you were a child?

Christie Leigh Babirad 2:26

So, I have an older brother, and I guess he would describe me as maybe a little bit bossy, maybe that's how, a sister kind of thing. Growing up wanting to be like him and also, just, I don't know, acting bigger than I am. Just like, little. Um, yeah, I guess that would be how we would describe me, but we get along very well.

Kathleen Basi 2:51

That's good. That's very good. And so then, tell me if you could live anywhere in the world that was not one hour from New York and or however many, however much it was from the beach and from New York City, if you could live anywhere else, besides where you are now, where would it be? And why?

Christie Leigh Babirad 3:10

That's a very good question. Um, I don't know if I could decide. I had an uncle out in Wyoming. And I love the, and I went to school in Kansas. So, I like a lot of the Midwest and western landscape in a lot of ways. The open land, we have open land, you know, out east here, but it's not the same. It's contained. And so, I definitely, I love the open land and our horses and all of that. So, definitely out west, I'd say.

Kathleen Basi 3:46

Yes, you're speaking my language now. Because that's where I live is out here in the Midwest, not very far from Kansas, actually. As we, we have a joke in my family about an aunt who the first time she flew to the Midwest, she said, Oh, I just figured that we were going to be there just as soon as because we went past Chicago and then I figured we'd be there and it just kept coming and coming and coming and there's just a lot of land out here.

Christie Leigh Babirad 4:13

Yeah, no, exactly. It's, it's very different and it's very different going from where I went to school in Kansas and then coming back to New York like, it's much slower in Kansas and it's, it's just, it's very different the lifestyle and it does appeal to me.

Kathleen Basi 4:29

You know, one of my favorite memories was going, coming home from Wichita, Kansas. I had, we were coming home at sunset and there was a 360 degree sunset which I've, which I've never seen anywhere else because even where I am, you know, a few hours east of there, there's a lot more up and down in the hills and so, you don't have the full horizon at all times. It was glorious out there. That, that sunset is one of my primary memories.

Christie Leigh Babirad 4:59

Well, that's, that's exactly what stood out to me as well. It really is the landscape and it's the big sky. And, it's definitely, definitely it's something that captured my heart and writing poetry and everything. It definitely, definitely a beautiful place.

Kathleen Basi 5:13

Yes. Well, let's take a minute to, talk to me for just a minute about poetry, because although we're gonna be talking about novel today, you are a poet as well.

Christie Leigh Babirad 5:23

Yes, I love writing poetry. I think it incorporates my love for music, the combination of music and words. So, that's definitely been something that's very fluid that comes to me.

Kathleen Basi 5:35

It's lovely. So, tell us about your book, As the Winds Change. Where is it set? And, you know, we've been talking about where you are now, where you went to school. So, where is this book set, and what's the importance of that to the book?

Christie Leigh Babirad 5:49

So, this book is set on Long Island where I'm from, and it was written very personally, it's a fictional story, but it was written very personal. So, I do capture in story, the feelings I had, maybe still have a little bit of Long Island, and sometimes feeling constricted, at the same time, even with all the options. So, it incorporates those emotions and finding one's place in life. So, Long Island, itself, and those, those emotions that come up, the conflicted, the conflicted emotions is definitely, the landscape is definitely a big part of it. Because where I live too, it's more city, it's more congested, more confined than out East, where you hear about the Hamptons, and everything, the farmlands and everything. So, the landscape, definitely, and she's driving toward the Hamptons for her job. So, it's definitely a big part of the story. The character in itself, really.

Kathleen Basi 6:53

Those are always nice books, when you've got the, when, when things are that important, and that intrinsic to the book that you feel like, you're there.

Christie Leigh Babirad 7:01

Yeah, that's what I hope my readers feel.

Kathleen Basi 7:05

So, what part of the book sticks with you the most strongly after, you know, having written it, edited it, published it, sent it out into the world, what's, what comes back to you and sticks with you now?

Christie Leigh Babirad 7:17

Um, that's a great question. I would say that the idea of closure, because I loosely based off of a real relationship. So, the big part of the story is that a lot of times you don't get closure, and you have to kind of spin the relationship to see like, what was the value and what meant a lot to you and what stays with you. So, I would say that, just that, that idea of closure, and realizing that everybody comes into your life for a reason and it does mean something. And you have to, you have to, you have to kind of find it on your own in a lot of ways.

Kathleen Basi 8:02

That's a really beautiful thing. Is there a particular character in the story that, that you resonate with the most closely?

Christie Leigh Babirad 8:11

I would say April, because, because this was my first novel. Like I said, I based it a lot off of my own feelings, and the transition in life, like, from high school to college, she's in her early 20s. So, she's, it's after she's already graduated college, but that point where you, you don't, you really don't feel like you fit in with your peers, if you're not following the same trajectory, as them. So, I think that that, that definitely is a big, big part of it just for finding yourself and the isolated feelings, and just assessing your relationships and seeing the value in them even if you don't get the closure from the specific individual. And my belief as I, I wrote to you, my belief that our loved ones are still with us. So, the character, he passes away this, this close friend of hers, passes away in the story and then comes back as a spirit, as a ghost to talk with her. So, she, I mean, she has to work it out herself. But he's, he's there to talk with her and to affirm what she always believed, in a lot of ways.

Kathleen Basi 9:33

That sounds really interesting. So, let's talk about, let's talk about you as a writer more generally. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

Christie Leigh Babirad 9:44

I would say I wanted to be a writer pretty young. It definitely started with the poetry. That's how I started writing. So, when I was seven, eight years old, I was writing poetry and then it trans, it went into screenplays.

Kathleen Basi:

Oh, wow.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

And then, yeah, cause I had an uncle in California who encouraged me to do that. So, it was like, a step by step process into writing an actual book.

Kathleen Basi:

Very cool.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

So, yeah. Poetry to screen then into the novel.

Kathleen Basi:

Do you hope to do, to continue? Or to, have you published in poetry as well?

Christie Leigh Babirad:

Yes, I have actually two poetry books out. And I'm working on the third. And I did a collaboration with my mom, that was also accepted. So, I have a lot of poetry books as well.

Kathleen Basi:

So, you have a deep history in your family of writers to draw on?

Christie Leigh Babirad:

Yes, I do. Yeah. Because the whole family actually, it started with me, but my whole family is now published with the company that I'm with. So, they have books as well.

Kathleen Basi:

Wow. Wow, that's really impressive. It's like a family, it's like a whole family dynasty of publishing now.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

Yes, exactly.

Kathleen Basi:

That's certainly very interesting. So, is there someone in that family or in your extended group who has encouraged you the most in becoming a writer?

Christie Leigh Babirad:

I would say both my mom and my brother. They both encouraged me very much. My mom is a retired kindergarten teacher. So, she's always instilled creativity and that, that freedom to just, to try things and to sometimes fail. And so, she's been fantastic. And my brother has always been encouraging and always just believing in me that I can do more than I necessarily believe. So, he's a, he's a great big brother, too.

Kathleen Basi:

That's really great. So, let's, let's kind of start to wrap things up today. I'm going to ask, what's the one best place for people to come and find you online?

Christie Leigh Babirad:

The best place I would say would be Facebook, at Author Christie Leigh Babirad.

Kathleen Basi:

Okay.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

So, you can find me on there. And then, they'll be able to follow all the other social media channels that I'm on.

Kathleen Basi:

Very good. So, in closing, I want to ask, what book or story has inspired you the most in your life?

Christie Leigh Babirad:

That's a great question. But I don't think I could choose just one book. Because every, every book that I read, that I enjoy, it inspires me in a different way, and stays with me. But I would have to say my brother's book, actually, In-Transit Passenger: Making the Journey Matter. I find that story very inspiring. And not just because he's my brother, but because the story is, it's part memoir, memoir, and part travels. So, he talks about all the different places he's been to, and people he's met along the way, and how that's influenced him. And it's, it's about movement in general. So, even if you're not able to travel, it's, it's just about staying in motion, in life and taking in the small moments. And he incorporates history and art. So, I would definitely say that that's, that's definitely a book that inspires me that I would read again, and again, not just because he's my brother.

Kathleen Basi:

That actually sounds really amazing. Just to think about the places that you, that there are to see and the and for sure the people that you meet in those places, that's something we all need.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

And even everyday experiences. You don't have to be going anywhere exotic or you know, overseas, to have those experiences, things happen to us every day. That's what inspires my writing as well.

Kathleen Basi:

That's very cool. Well, thank you very much for being on with us today, Christie Leigh, and we hope to hear more from you soon.

Christie Leigh Babirad:

Thank you so much for having me.

Kathleen Basi:

Thanks for joining us today. We hope you'll take a second to give us some stars or a review on your favorite podcasting platform. We'll be back next Wednesday. And in the meantime, follow us on Instagram, at Author Express podcast to see who's coming up next. Don't forget, keep it express, but keep it interesting.

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