I have great pleasure in sharing my interview with Deborah Caia, author of Milo Finds His Talent. Deborah talks about writing for children, petting lion cubs, and speaking three languages.
Over to Deborah…
Deborah Caia studied Law and languages, and worked in the legal and educational field.
So far she has lived in three different countries and currently is based in the Netherlands with her husband and their baby girl.
Her books and her blog touch existential topics like deep emotions, feelings, mindfulness and lifelong learning, and her mission is to promote the love for reading and curiosity since childhood, while raising a multilingual daughter.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I would say I have always loved words. I was that kid who used to sit on the floor in her bedroom in front of the bookshelf and read – rather, explore – books. Any type of books (dictionaries included). I published my first collection of poems when I was 11, then I went on choosing classical studies (I was totally in love with Latin and ancient Greek – don’t judge me! We all have a nerdy side somewhere deep down!) and eventually Law school, completing my education with some linguistics training.
In a certain way, writing has always been part of my life, but only recently it became my primary occupation. Although, I must confess I would like to have more time to write! I have a baby girl who is turning one in a few days and I am living the expat life, which is not always easy. There is definitely lots of playing and tidying up in my life, but I also enjoy baking, cooking, reading, and everything cosy: I am a huge fan of candles and hygge!
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is not my first book, but it is my first published children’s book.
Since I became a mum, I found myself leaning towards children’s literature, although this is not my only genre.
Last year I published my debut novel ‘The Sleepwalker’, which falls in the contemporary women/romantic suspense genres.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
This book for children is a story about kindness and self-confidence.
I have often had the feeling that we adults are very focused on the concept of success and on piling up skills, but – conversely – we don’t like to talk about the feeling of self-doubt and lack of confidence we experience when we see other people excel in something while we are maybe still figuring out what our strengths are.
Our children may feel this way, too. It might be hard for them to understand that talents don’t manifest themselves in the same way: some might be more apparent than others and easier to recognise. I think there cannot ever be enough books aimed at inspiring and encouraging, and it is so important that any child questioning their value knows that talents and skills may not look alike, may not arise at the same time, but they are all undeniably invaluable.
This is precisely what Milo, the protagonist, learns on his self-discovery journey: we are all unique and worthy.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
I began to write this story when the COVID-19 situation started to worsen dramatically. It has been (and still is) an incredibly tough and demanding experience. I felt that we all needed some extra kindness and inspiring ‘feel-good’ stories, children above all.
Having a young baby myself, I wanted to do my part to make the world a better place, to give our youth some more hope, support and acknowledgment.
In addition to this, not having the possibility to travel and see my family of origin or my acquired one, I realised once again the importance of exposing my daughter to multilingual resources, however, I wasn’t impressed with the ones available. We speak three languages at home and we live in a country where a fourth one is spoken: this opened my eyes even more to this need, which surely many other multilingual families share.
For this reason, I created a bilingual edition (English-Italian) of this book: ‘Milo Finds His Talent – Milo Scopre il Suo Talento’. It’s only one language combination, but it’s a starting point and I hope it will be well received by the audience.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
As lame as it may sound, that would probably be to never give up.
I learnt pretty quickly that writers have to face rejection many times and in many forms. It might be hard to digest – it still is for me, I am working on it! – but, like they say, you really lose only if you give up.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
Writers have the opportunity to express with words what people feels, even what they don’t know they are able to feel. This is what I love. You can create literally anything by writing and, if you do it right, you can touch people’s soul. I think it is amazing how intimate this connection can be.
List three interesting facts about yourself
When I was younger, I studied piano for 9 years.
I have petted lion cubs.
I have been a university lecturer.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
Not everyone considers it strictly part of the process, but for me it would probably be the marketing phase. I have to be honest and say that marketing myself is a skill I am far from mastering. Nevertheless, I appreciate the importance of it, hence I usually spend a lot of time reading articles about marketing, social media and personal branding.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Spread the word! I am on social media and I would love to get in contact with anyone who enjoyed my book. Also, don’t forget to give feedback, please!
What is your next project?
The target audience for ‘Milo Finds His Talent’ is 4-9 years old children. I am working on other resources not only for this same age bracket but also for picture books.
Thank you so much, Shelley! (My pleasure!)
‘What am I good at? Everyone seems to be good at something but me! How can I be helpful?’
For any little one wondering, here’s the sweetest story of kindness featuring the cutest little hero ever. A little hero who will learn on his journey that not all talents look alike, but they are all invaluable, regardless.
BUY your copy of Milo Finds His Talent via Amazon UK or Amazon US
BUY your copy of the Bilingual Edition via Amazon UK
Huge thanks to Deborah for joining me on my blog to talk about her writing and publishing journey. Please take a few moments to follow her platforms, leave a comment, or buy her books.
Find out more about Deborah Caia and her books here:
Instagram @d.caia and @the_jasmine_passage