Angela Campagnoni’s latest children’s book provides parents and grandparents with a simple yet profound tool to help children understand grief and loss through story. Recently we spoke with the author about the work.
What inspired you to write I Want to See My Papa?
Originally I was in the process of working on a children’s book my father wrote back in the 80’s, I thought it would be a wonderful tribute to him while then continuing his original ideas for the series, but then I literally woke up on night and wrote this story. In that moment I knew that this was going to be the best way tribute him by helping other children deal with loss.
What was the most challenging aspect of the process?
I would definitely say that I was my most challenging aspect. Meaning that throughout the process if any self-doubt started to creep in or if I started to worry that people wouldn’t identify with the story, I had to remind myself to step back and remember why I was doing this, to reconnect with that moment when I first wrote the book and knew that it was the right path. I think that so many great projects and great ideas are stopped by people living too much into their own thoughts and worry of failure. I decided that I would silence any worries and remember that this “heart project” was exactly where I needed to be.
What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
Definitely the letters I am now receiving from people that have been buying the book & sharing with me their grief or loss in their family or of family friends. I have felt so privileged to be someone that people were connecting to and feeling comfortable with to open up. Also books that are sold directly through my website or through independent book retailers I will be donating $1.00 from every book to the Children’s Wish Foundation. My Husband’s Sister and her Husband were a wish family before the loss of their daughter, so the charity has been very near and dear to the whole family’s heart… So of course I am hoping for a best seller to raise as much funds as possible!
What did you learn during the process?
I have always been a bit of a control freak when it comes to anything artistic I have worked on, with this project I did myself a favor and worked with experts in their field, I listened to my editors, I worked with an Illustrator that was able to take my exact instructions and vision and turn the words into a beautiful visual experience. And I also learned that you truly can experience the best things when you can conquer your fear and put yourself out there. I have been able to make more genuine connections and conversations with people.
How did you feel when the book was completed?
When I received my first 2 copies in the mail from the distributor (a paperback and a hardcover) I literally cried, it was such an overwhelming feeling to know I was able to get everything to that point. There is something about holding a finished product that makes everything seem so much more real.
What has the response been like so far from those that have read it?
It has been overwhelming how people have gravitated to this topic. For adults they get teary eyed reading it because they are remembering someone they have lost and the comments on the overall look and imagery have all been super positive.
What's next on your creative agenda?
Well I am excited that I am now working on the marketing side of the book, I enjoy preparing for events and meeting with people about the book. This book will be the first in a series of 3 books following the character through his life changes. Outside of the publishing world I am working with my business partner on developing new business programs that will be accessible in the creative arts & fashion world through our efforts with Atlantic Fashion Week and I am excited to announce I am currently developing a program with 97.5 Community Radio to host my own Arts Program to help shine the spotlight on the amazing East Coast talent we have here in the areas of Literature, Art and Fashion. I’m Italian/ Irish - I love to talk, so it’s a perfect outlet for me. And they have an amazing online reach across the globe through their streaming at www.communityradio.ca