Audrey Hepburn Is Nice - Meet the Local Author Who Wrote The Book On Her

We don't talk enough on here about local authors - which is our bad. So, we're rectifying that starting today and talking to Margaret Cardillo author of Just Being Audrey, a children's book about Audrey Hepburn. Plus, our friend Ana Mari at the very, very nice store The Archive is having an event with her this Friday, so you can go ahead and consider your Friday plans from 6:30 - 10:30 made, because there will be sweets, drinks, art on display by local artists and more. We chat with Margaret below about her favorite books about Miami, early Christmas shopping and, of course, Audrey Hepburn. 

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Hi Margaret - we're chatting a bit today because you're having an event at one of our very favorite NICE PLACES (not to play favorites...) The Archive. Tell us a bit about who you are and what you're celebrating.

It's so nice to be chatting with you! So, I'm a Miami resident and a frequenter of The Archive. When I met Ana Mari, my husband, aka my publicist, thought she'd like this children's book I wrote about Audrey Hepburn called JUST BEING AUDREY (published by HarperCollins). When we showed it to her she loved it and immediately came up with four different ideas for an event. That's how her mind works. We've been talking over the last year (I had a baby which kind of postponed things) and this Friday is the big event! We are so thrilled. It is a night to celebrate elegance, loveliness and kindness: everything that Audrey embodied. And who better to celebrate with than the people of Miami? The Archive is the perfect mix of collectors/gift boutique and art gallery. Miamians should feel very lucky to have The Archive as our own.

Couldn't agree more! Were you born and raised in Miami? Tell me about when Audrey Hepburn came into your life...
I was born and raised in Naples, FL actually. I came to Miami by way of New York where I was a children's book editor. I moved down in 2007 to attend UM for an MFA program in writing. My husband and I thought it was a two year adventure and we just never left. Audrey came into my life well before that. When I was in 6th grade I had to dress up like a character from history. My mom suggested Audrey Hepburn. We popped Roman Holiday into the VCR (yes, the VCR) and I just fell in love with her. She kind of became this roll model for me growing up. (How lucky for my mom that I had Audrey as a roll model and not some sleazy 80s star, btw.) When I was editing children's books it just hit me that a picture book of her life would be pretty amazing: she had an incredibly interesting life off camera and she was one of the first celebrities to dedicate herself to charity with her work with UNICEF.

I know it's a little early to talk about Christmas, and by a little early, I mean kind of a lot early because the humidity is so high right now I can't even begin to imagine what December feels like, but nonetheless I'm plotting who this would be a good gift for. What do you think?
I don't know...I keep an ongoing Christmas list so it never feels too early for Chirstmas. Plus every Miami building is so freezing with the AC that it feels like Christmas inside. Outside is another story... JUST BEING AUDREY is really for everyone. I've signed it for everyone from 75 year old men to newborn babies. Anyone who is a fan of Audrey, of fashion, of ballet and especially for people looking for a beautiful gift about a woman with an incredible heart, will like this book. Audrey is a fantastic roll model for girls...she was famous for all the right reasons, and not many can say that anymore. Reading wise it's probably for ages 4-12. But I can honestly say that it transcends ages--in large part due to the incredible illustrations that I didn't do!

What's your favorite book with Miami as a character? I'll go first: Swamplandia and Miami by Didion.
Well, thank you for choosing two books at the top of my list. SWAMPLANDIA is incredible and there's no touching Didion. Judy Bloom's STARRING SALLY J FREEDMAN AS HERSELF is just fantastic. I also loved the nonfiction book by Les Standiford LAST TRAIN TO PARADISE. I don't know if the Everglades count but RIVER OF GRASS, A LAND REMEMBERED ,THE SWAMP, THE TALKING EARTH and the photo books of Clyde Butcher are essential South Florida reads. A lot of Carl Hiassen and James Grippando books, too. BACK TO BLOOD is on my nightstand I just haven't started it yet. I know it's not a book, but I love the movie Miami Rhapsody. The last line of the movie sums up Miami better than anything I've heard.

If you've been into The Archive, I know there's something in there that you're eyeing... what is it?
Um...everything. But specifically? There's a painting of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas that I love. She's so inspiring and the painting shows all of her wisdom. But really, there isn't one thing in there I wouldn't love to have in my home. We just bought the most original gift for a close friend (a fabulous restored miner's lamp--marked and all) and he loved it--and he's picky. Their taste is impeccable.

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects that you're working on? Are you sticking to children's books?
Yes, I just finished a book on Jackie Kennedy Onassis which I will be turning in to my editor at the end of the month. And I have a few ladies in the works...Marjorie Stoneman Douglas is at the top of that list. I also teach screenwriting at UM and write short and feature length films. I just had one made--it's set in the Everglades...of course--and we are currently making the film festival rounds. It's a lot of fun.