Robert and Alexandra Smith have just self-published their first book through Mascot Books, “An Angel Finds the Way,” written by Robert, a pilot, and illustrated by Alexandra, a 2018 Yale graduate. It is the first collaboration by the pair. The book was nearly six years in the making, beginning when Alexandra was in high school at Cranston West.
“I’d always wanted to write a book,” said Robert. “I originally was thinking of something to do with aviation. However, it’s expensive to self-publish a book and it’s expensive to have someone else draw it as well. I decided on a faith-based book about angels instead, as it was an easier book for us to do together.”
He began to research angels and their role and significance in religious history. His younger daughter Lauren’s name was the chosen name for the main character.
As Alexandra was beginning her illustrations during her junior year of high school, her colored pencil drawings for the book became a part of her portfolio for college, where she hoped to pursue a profession in the medical field.
“It took years for us to finish,” said Alexandra. “I worked on it during the summers when I was in college.”
Robert started writing right away, and then spent time tweaking the story before beginning the publishing process.
“I learned a lot about angels writing this book,” he said. “It’s not all explained in scripture.”
Robert said he chose this particular angle of faith-based writing because he believes that kids today need to be inspired to be inquisitive about their faith, and as a CCD teacher along with his wife, Ginny, he hoped that a book such as this one, a combination of fact and fiction, will be that inspiration which will get kids excited about their faith.
The response to the book’s publication has been good so far, and Robert looks forward to continuing to market the book to religious schools, churches and other faith-based organizations and retail locations.
“This book has a broad target audience,” Robert said. “I originally wanted it to be a lapbook, something perfect for a First Communion type of gift, but I really think it has a place for older audiences too, as it has a lot of information in it for older kids. I’d love to be able to take Lauren with me for readings at schools, being that she’s the main character in the book.”
As the pair looks forward, Alexandra is getting ready to train as an EMT while she prepares to relocate to another part of the country and to apply to programs to become a physician’s assistant. Another book may be in the works for Robert, but the time to illustrate it may not be for Ally, depending on her school and work schedules. However, that won’t deter him from considering another.
“I’ve still got an aviation book in the back of my mind,” he said. “But there are still other faith-based books I’d like to do in the future.”
To find out more about “An Angel Finds the Way,” and to purchase a copy, visit Tally’s (1150 Pontiac Ave, Cranston).