Shoes are like men — we’re always struggling to find the perfect fit.
This is exactly the notion that author Camille Licate explores in her first novel.
Small Shoes: Outgrowing Old Relationships & Finding the Right Fit is a book about change and examines how we grow and evolve as we get older and we discover that just like shoes, that once used to fit so well, relationships become too “small,” out of “style,” or just too “old.”
Here we catch up with Camille who reveals that a culmination of a series of personal life events, lessons, and insights, provided her with the inspiration to write a book that will help women everywhere navigate the sometimes rocky terrains of life.
CelebZter: How did you come up with the concept of your new book?
Camille: Small Shoes: Outgrowing Old Relationships and Finding the Right Fit is a culmination of a series of personal life events, lessons, and insights, pertaining to changes in my relationships with love, life, location, career, family, friends, and Self, that I began recording back in the year 2000. Having recently retired from a career as a professional ballet and modern dancer, in NYC, I was at a distinct crossroads in my life. I had worn dancing shoes since age 7 and dedicated much of my childhood and early adulthood to the craft. During this time, I also held a job as a Pottery Analyst with the North American Archeology Lab, at The American Museum of Natural History, NYC, and decided I would not take next steps to advance my career as an Anthropologist. I slipped out of my comfort zone, realizing the “shoes” (life), I had been wearing (living) were too small, and went in search of my next “right fit.” Over the next 9 years, through countless transitions, including a coastal leap to Los Angeles, CA, where I met with success as a professional actor, I continued to write. Then in 2009, when I felt I clearly understood the necessity and inevitability of change, and what I could offer to individuals going through similar major life transitions, I pieced together the novel before you, titling it, Small Shoes.
CelebZter: Had you written stuff before or is this your first novel?
Camille: This is my first novel. Before Small Shoes, I was named a contributing author in Native American Landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia by Dr. David Hurst Thomas. I was also cited in the publication, “The Beads of St. Catherines Island,” 2009. Both tributes stemmed from my work at The American Museum of Natural History. I also wrote a column for an online publication titled, “Animal Insights,” based on my knowledge and work with animals, as a volunteer, at The California Wildlife Center.
CelebZter: Who was your biggest role model growing up? Which author did you used to read a lot of?
Camille: Hands down, my extraordinary Mom, Emily Licate, was and is my biggest role model. Her positive attitude, love, support, honesty, cheerful and grateful disposition, even in the face of our family’s most challenging times, taught me how to be strong and walk with a gentle confidence. And, I must include my amazing Dad, William Licate, who gave me a strong work ethic and the courage to persevere.
Shel Silverstein was an all time favorite, growing up. The Giving Tree, Light In the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends were read over and over and over. As a young adult,The Game of Life and How to Play It, by Florence Scovel Shinn, proved a touch point and inspiration for living and coping with change.
CelebZter: Now living in Hollywood, what do you make of the town and the people in it?
Camille: Hollywood is what you make it. I say this because for years I struggled to fit in and call it home. I was constantly chasing the dream, feeling it was out there… somewhere. Hollywood became a big craggy hill and I spent many a day exhausted and frustrated by the climb. Once I became grounded enough to realize that nothing is out there, but rather right in my own mind and heart, I slowly, but surely, discovered my confidence and peace followed. Hollywood transformed into a fun, diversified town, full of opportunity, amazing friends, and spectacular vistas!
I feel many people in Hollywood are spinning, much like I was, searching outside of themselves for the answers…forcing instead of allowing. And, thinking they have to be somebody, when they are already enough. These are good people, caught, perhaps, in a disingenuous crowd or frenzied circumstance. I often think how wonderful it would be if there was a designated non-transportation day in Hollywood. Everyone would stay home or walk places, take deep breaths, smile and just be.
CelebZter: What is your advice to other aspiring writers?
Camille: Realize that the written word is an extremely powerful tool to inspire others, so write with integrity. Write without the rush, especially when you are writing inspirational novels. More often than not, it is the experiences you have, throughout time, that add to your writing. Self-publish! Coming from a career as an actor, where waiting to hear about a callback or booking is the norm, I decided to self- publish. I have full creative rights to my completed novel and have opportunity to meet with interested publishers, while it is on the shelves and selling. If you have writer’s block or don’t feel like writing, then don’t write. Sometimes it is better to use that time for a hike or walk to clear your head, where you will most likely process what you will write next. Be prepared, however, for a surge of writing inspiration that might have you pulling an all-nighter. Need inspiration? Write long hand, (yes, I am telling you to put your computer away) in a notebook, outdoors…feather quill pen optional. Find a good editor, and as my Mother tells me every day, “Touch every word when polishing your draft.” Volunteer. It’s a great way to meet new people and immerse yourself in a world you wouldn’t otherwise visit. It may inspire your writing (see question #2). Try new things. Because, I’m one to jump at the next great adventure, (I swung from a trapeze for the 1st time last month) I have so much more to relate to and write about, as a result. Take time to play. It is all too easy to become consumed by work. Schedule in time to relax and regenerate. You can do it! Take it one step at a time!
CelebZter: How can people buy your book?
CelebZter: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Camille: I would be a Marine Biologist, Storm Chaser or both. I am fascinated with Great White Sharks and would love to study them in the wild. I am almost as equally fascinated by weather and storms. I’ve watched the movie “Twister” close to 25 times, and for that matter, am glued to the television during Shark Week, but you probably figured that out!
CelebZter: Anything else you’d like to add?
Camille: This interview today is a true testament of me realizing and trusting I’d outgrown my “small shoes.” As a result, I put on some very uncomfortable “shoes” for a while, trying on this and that, while striving to find my next right fit. Looks like I found it! And, you can too!