I’ve never been good at breakups. They always end in shouting, temporary make ups, tears and binge watching Netflix shows like Vikings (weird? I know but I have to channel my aggression somewhere). Thankfully, there are books like “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” that help guide you through this awful moment in your life and make you realize that there are others who have been through the same thing as you or even worse.
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell uses her new novel to illustrate the many types of breakups that people go through and it’s so funny that you’ll forget about your own heartache. Recently, I got the opportunity to interview her and ask her all about how this book came into being. Check out the interview below:
Q: For the sake of those who haven’t yet read your novel, can you tell us what motivated you to write and illustrate this novel?
A: I was broken up with in one of the worst ways possible–ghosted. After realizing what was happening/crying a lot/eating gummy bears–I decided to draw a cartoon about it. It made me laugh. So I thought maybe other people would like to see a cartoon made about their sad stories. (They did)
Q: How did you get other people to be willing to share their stories with you?
A: I started with friends, essentially begging them to write down their stories for me. The big part of this was always emphasizing that it would remain anonymous to the public. People are definitely willing to share their heartbreak, but there is a fear that people will know it’s you or worse your ex in question will see. After a while it took off, I had a submissions platform on my website and started to receive stories from people who I didn’t know!
Q: What’s the toughest break-up story you’ve come across?
A: There are so many. One from the book that has always resonated me as one of the most painful and honestly just frustrating is a girl who was broken up with and then had her ex not only start dating someone who is exactly like her and in the same vicinity — but they kept mimicking all her life decisions, so far as to even make the same move to a foreign country right after her. It was like Jesus can this girl just get away from this asshole? Answer seemed to be a hard NOPE.
Q: What’s the funniest break-up story you’ve heard?
A: After all of this I still think my favorite one is about a boy in 8th grade who left his then girlfriend to spend more time with his dog.
Q: Was drawing the first avenue you took to handling your break-up or did you channel your emotions in another creative way?
A: Drawing was it. I mean I definitely have some angry tweets out there, but whether or not that is creative is up for debate.
Q; When did you first learn to draw?
A: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My mom always had me in drawing classes as a kid and I haven’t stopped yet. I originally taught myself by copying all the Peanuts comics we had in our home.
Q: Which other novels would you suggest to readers who recently experienced a break-up and why would you suggest these specific novels?
A: For women, I would suggest Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey and Michelle Broder’s So Sad Today. Both of those books perfectly describe what is like to have and to have lost love. I have no suggestions for dudes.
Q: Are you taking any more submissions for bad break-up stories?
A: Submissions remain open at cartoonsbyhilary.com! My hope is to have a second volume in the next couple of years.
Q: Have you received any complaints from persons who feel as if they were mentioned in the break-ups you illustrated in your novel?
A: Actually the opposite has happened. I heard that a girl in the book had an ex reach out to her to say he was bummed it wasn’t their break up in the book. I myself have had ex’s reach out only to make jokes like, “Am I in the book?” ….my response is, you can buy it and find out.
Q: Are you currently in the process of writing another novel similar to this one or are you working on some new material?
A: In addition to my daily cartoons, I’m in the process of a bunch of projects which include a TV pilot, a new book, and my next documentary Uncle Jim. I can’t go into specifics on anything except for the film, which I received the Rooftop Films Short Filmmakers Grant for. I go into production in May and oh wow I am not ready!