P.S. I Hate It Here: Kids' Letters From Camp is a humorous look at homesick kids during summer camp. These real letters are laugh-out-loud funny - everything from forgotten necessities (a strapless bra, five bucks for a lost tooth, a tennis racket) to desperately pleading their case for going home. Factio caught up with North Shore author Diane Falanga to talk about her inspiration for the book, her favorite moment working on this project and her favorite places in Chicago.
FACTIO MAGAZINE: Tell us about the book!
DIANE FALANGA: When my daughter, Bianca, was 8 - she was determined to go to overnight camp. My husband and I thought she was too young - but she was very convincing and presented a seemingly rational case. So, we shipped her off! Then the letters started to arrive. The first one was a hilarious, hyperbolic rant about how the counselors had made her "scraper, sweeper and maid" b/c she couldn't stop crying. I found this so funny that I instantly started calling friends to read them Bianca's letter. Everyone seemed to have a camp letter of their own to top this one. An idea was born.
FM:What did you love most about the project?
DF: Reading through the more than 3,000 camp letters I collected from kids around the country. Sharing some of the gems aloud with my 16-year-old son, Blake, Bianca and my husband, Mark. The letters made for great dinner conversations.
FM: Where do you draw your inspiration from? DF: In the case of P.S. I Hate it Here! Kids' Letters From Camp -- definitely from my daughter.
FM: What are your favorite places in Chicago?
DF: We live a couple of blocks from Lake Michigan and beautiful Gillson Beach. That's my hang-out.
FM: What are your favorite places worldwide? DF: Besides fabulous Chicago ... Italy - all the way. My husband's family lives in a little town along the Amalfi Coast, Massa Lubrense. We spent some time with our kids all through Italy last summer. This summer we'll be back - hiking the Cinque Terra and in Sicily, too. Hiking and mountain bikinig in Moab, Utah is also pretty spectacular. And Telluride, CO - winter, spring, summer or fall - is a favorite place, too.
FM: What are people surprised to know about you? DF: That I'm so darn short. Having a loud voice and a big laugh gives the illusion of height.
FM: What was your biggest career moment to date? DF: Initiating the Heart Homes Initiative of Designs for Dignity. We reclaim gently used furnishings for people who are in need in Chicago.
Meet Diane Falanga at her next reading in Chicago on Friday, May 14th at Book Cellar, 4736 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL from 6–8 p.m.
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