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Children's Book Authors' Interview Blocked By Good Intentions
Episode 531st May 2024 • Adventures in the Heart of Children's Book Authors • Rick Harris
00:00:00 00:14:49

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We had to find a way to get around the Government's Bill C-18, The Online News Act.

This legislation prevents us from posting our Canadian content news stories on Facebook and Instagram. How can Canadian content not be viewed by Canadians?

We were interviewed on the CBC Radio Station based in Calgary by the host, Chris dela Torre of The HomeStretch.

As children's book authors, Granddaughter Kyra Dumoulin and Grandfather Papa Rick Harris, we are proud to have found a way to make this CBC Radio Interview available to you as listeners through our podcast show, Adventures in the Heart of Children's Book Authors.

Please enjoy!

Papa Rick: Hi, Chris.

Kyra: Thank you for having us.

Chris: Thank you for joining us. And congrats to you both on the book. Rick, I'll start with you. How did this all start?

Papa Rick: It all started when Kyra was in daycare and, um, we had a condo in Canmore, and she would come down with me, and I taught her how to ski and when we were on one of our adventures going down to ski, Kyra had said to me, Oh, can I bring my friend Georgia?

Papa Rick: The daycare had this stuffy named Georgia, and Georgia was a bunny, and so what would happen was they would, if a child from the daycare went on a vacation, they could take Georgia and her suitcase full of clothes on vacation, and then when the child came back to daycare, they got to tell stories of the adventures they had. Together, wherever they were, and so that's what ended up happening. Kyra was in the backseat of her child's proof seat. And then I had to buckle in Georgia beside her, and Georgia came with us. And Georgia was the inspiration behind Caboose.

Chris: Wow. And Kyra, do you remember that?

Kyra: A little bit, yeah. I remember how much I loved stuffies and constantly wanted to bring them on trips and buckle them in. I treated them like they were just a kid like me.

Chris: Yeah. So, what did the two of you want to do with these stories? And, why did you want to, uh, get together and, and, and, and start writing these books?

Papa Rick: What happened was, when, as Kyra got older, of course, she got, uh, then she didn't have to go to daycare, but she said to me, uh, Papa, you know, like, I, we don't have Georgia, and the daycare even had a, a brother named George, and there, so there was two of them, but, so there was no more Georgia and George to take on our trips.

Kyra asked if we could come up with our own stuffy. I think I'll let Kyra tell us more about that.

Kyra: Yeah, so we went into a coffee shop, and we were like, you know what? We have all these memories and pictures. Why don't we turn them into something?

And so, we sat down at a coffee shop and started looking through all these pictures, and we were like, I think we can do something with these.

We have all these stories. Why don't we share them?

Chris: Wow. And so, it sounds like the two of you had much potential source material to go through.

Rick, tell us a bit about what happens in this first book. Sure.

Papa Rick: Oh, okay. Thanks, Chris. So, it's really about the birth of this Bear named Kaboose, and what happened was in this fictional town of Big Head, they hadn't seen the birth of a bear cub in many, many moons, as we say in the story, and when they found out that Kaboose's mom was going to have a baby the town just went crazy Uh, crazy, and with excitement. It's all about the excitement that built around this baby being born, uh, baby cub being born in the Big Head, and that's how the whole thing started.

Even the mayor got involved. They called everybody together and planned the May long weekend. It was just the whole community getting involved, and it's all about community also in the book.

Chris: Yeah. And I know some sections towards the back of the book where you've incorporated blank pages and places for kids to colour and create their own stories. Why was that an important part to include, Rick?

Papa Rick: It was really important because Kira and I started doing all this, and of course, as Kyra said, we had all this, all these great pictures. You know what, but what happens, Chris, is people have, and you probably have had this happen to you, you have all these. pictures on your phone, and you never see them again. They just never come forward.

But for Kyra and I we went, as Kyra said, to a coffee shop. We brought some of these pictures forward, and they developed into all the stories we wrote down. Then we had to have a character, and the character evolved, and that's how the book. So that's what we're trying to do: encourage, uh, you know, moms and dads, uh, grandparents, children to sit down. And, uh, as you said, Chris, we have these activities, we call them activity pages in, uh, towards the back of the book. First, we ask you to write down your adventure together. Then we have picture-framed notes—spots where you can bring your stories to life in sketches.

And that's pretty much it. It's pretty much what Kira and I did, and so we thought, if it got us involved, created these memories, and brought them to life, we want to encourage other people to do the same thing. It's so much fun.

Chris: Kyra, is there a particular adventure that you've had with your grandpa that comes to mind that you're excited to tell?

Kyra: Yeah, so actually, we have a book in the works right now, and this is our next book coming out, and it takes place at the Canmore Folk Festival, and, um, it's when my cousin won a gift card to one of the shops, um, downtown, and, um, Yeah, she was called up on stage, and that was a cool experience and just being able to witness it.

Chris: That's cool.

Papa Rick: Yeah, Chris, we call it the hijinks from the Big Head Folk Music Festival.

Chris: That must be so much fun, coming up with this sort of alternate universe version of Canmore and the Bow Valley and writing these stories. I mean, these are meaningful to both of you in that these are things that the two of you and the rest of Kyra's Cousins have experienced together.

But what do you hope, uh, folks, what do you hope the general public gets out of this, reading these stories?

Papa Rick: You know you always are looking for a way to bond with your families. And you know, a lot of times grandparents, there's sometimes a disconnect because of technology and all that. But if you incorporate, and that's what Kyra and I did, we incorporated and embraced technology.

So, you know, we didn't shy away from it and incorporated it into the storytelling. So, to have the digital pictures, I tell the story of Kyra being our first digital baby. Cause you know what? When she was born, we bought our first digital camera. There is no film of Kyra.

Kyra's not on a roll of film. All the pictures of Kyra are digital. And guess what? They all reside. Well, a lot of them reside on my phone, and then Kyra and I would sit down at a coffee shop and go through the pictures, and it was just incredible. So that's what we're trying to instill in other people: sit down with your grandchildren or children and look at the pictures.

Don't let them just sit there and lay dormant; bring them to life.

Kyra: Yeah, I think it's super important to make memories and live in the moment because a lot of the time, in this age, we can forget to live while we're constantly looking at our phones.

It's just super important to make those memories and try something you haven't done before. For example, Horseback riding in the winter is one of my favourites as well.

Chris: Yeah.

Papa Rick: And we wrote a story about that you know, the special horseshoes and stuff like that.

Chris: How many stories have you written?

Papa Rick: I think we're up to about 38.

Chris: Wow, that's incredible. That's a lot.

Papa Rick: It is, Chris. We created most audiobooks first. Kyra's cousin Bailey, our middle granddaughter, loves reading these things. She often is the voice of Kaboose.

Kyra: Yeah, she does a really good job, and she's the good age to be where you feel like you're experiencing it through Kaboose.

Chris: Oh, wow. How old is she?

Papa Rick: Oh, she's 13 now, but we started her when she was a little younger, and she has the perfect voice right now. You know that and our youngest grandson. He's just turned 10, and he's amazing, too, because you've got, you've got, you capture that youthful, young.

Kyra: Spark.

Chris: Yeah. Congratulations on this, Rick and Kyra, and thanks for joining us today.

Papa Rick: Oh, our pleasure.

Kyra: For having us.

Papa Rick: Yeah. Thank you, Chris.

Please visit our website, www.kaboosetherockymountainbear.com. We would love it if you could purchase our book, The Adventures of Kaboose the Rocky Mountain Bear.

Mentioned in this episode:

Children's Book Authors' Radio Interview Blocked By Good Intentions

Children’s Book Authors Radio Interview Blocked by Good Intentions Part of this podcast episode is a bit different from our first several episodes. The idea behind this podcast show is to showcase other children’s book authors. However, as a self-published children's book author, sometimes good intentions can only impede your ability to reach readers, especially when the government gets involved. As a children’s book author, the journey to get your book recognized is not as easy as most people think. In all my research as a children’s book author, the real work begins once you have written and published the book. Marketing is critical, and if you are a self-published author, you have more than likely spent a small fortune on writing, editing, illustrating, and formatting your book. You hear the word marketing often, but as a self-published author, you need a budget to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on social ads, print ads or any major media outlets. Unfortunately, for most self-published children’s book authors, these are funds you probably don’t have. You must hit the street and drum up your support if you don’t have deep pockets. When we published our first book, I contacted the local newspaper. They were looking for a human-interest story and loved the idea of a granddaughter and grandfather writing a children’s book together. They also loved that the book's story was about the main character's adventures in their backyard. We used a historic town in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. The newspaper article was well written and attracted the eye of a major radio station’s producer. The producer tracked us down and conducted the initial interview. She loved our background story of how our book came to life and booked us to be interviewed in the two largest radio markets in Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton. We were so excited. We planned to post these radio interviews on our social media accounts and create buzz. Unfortunately, this is where the Canadian government news content legislation blocked our dreams of using these two great radio interviews to promote our self-published children’s books. The Canadian government created and passed Bill C-18, which received royal assent. The Department of Canadian Heritage has created regulations through the act and guide. "A free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy," Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement. "It levels the playing field by putting the power of big tech in check and ensuring that even our smallest news business can benefit through this regime and receive fair compensation for their work." Unfortunately, good intentions have blocked Canadians from accessing Canadian news content. I know this is not the spirit of the legislation, but this happened to us as self-published Canadian authors. As a result of Bill C-18, we can not post our CBC Radio interviews on Facebook or Instagram. What were we to do? Fighting Big Government was the energy we couldn’t expend. I decided to create a Children's podcast show, Adventures in the Heart of Children's Book Authors, to help market our book and help other children’s book authors promote their books. You might be asking how creating a podcast can circumvent Bill C-18. We can reformat our interviews into audio content and release it to the Canadian public this way. I am sure many small business owners trying their darndest to promote their businesses through social media have encountered the same roadblock. If you are listening to this podcast episode, we did it! But why do we, self-published Children's Book authors, have to fight Big Government? Could we ask for your support in two ways? First, listen to this podcast, which includes the original radio interview on CBC Radio's afternoon drive-home show, The Homestretch, and decide if there is any reason this interview contains news content that should not be shared as deemed by the Government of Canada. Please leave your comments on the social media platform you were able to listen to the podcast post of the radio interview. Second, if you think that a little girl’s dream of writing a Children's book and bringing it to life is news content that should be shared, please voice your opinion to your member of parliament and tell them this legislation is over the top and needs to be amended. We are not opposed to the legislation's spirit, but Canadian content should not be blocked in today's technological world. How does this ensure we are benefitting from legislation meant to help us? Let your voice be heard. Please enjoy our radio interview, and if you appreciate our message about the love of being children’s book authors, please share. And if you think our children’s book, The Adventures of Kaboose the Rocky Mountain Bear, should be in your home library, please purchase it.

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