Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chatting with Helene Boudreau

Helene Boudreau joins us today to chat. Thanks for joining us!

What made you choose to write? Like a lot of people, my road to becoming a writer was a bumpy and detoured one. Sure, it was always something I wanted to do but for a long time it was just a pipe dream. About five years ago, I was at home with a two and four year-old and was debating whether I should go back to a very demanding job which I didn’t particularly enjoy.

But then I wondered, what would happen if I put in just as much effort into something I did enjoy? That’s when I really started writing with intent. The deal was, I would work my tail off and if I didn’t have a book published by the time my youngest was in school, I’d consider going back to ‘work’. My youngest is now in second grade, so I guess things worked out okay.

Where do you write best? Being the mom of two girls, I tend to write in the ‘in between’ moments like after dropping them off at school, getting them to Girl Guides, making dinner or helping them with their homework. Having a laptop really helps because I can take it with me to the library while they read books or sneak in a bit of revision while they’re at swimming lessons or art class. So, I guess the answer to ‘where do you write best’ is really wherever and whenever I can.

You’re the author of several nonfiction books as well, is it hard to go between fiction and nonfiction? It’s actually kind of nice to write both. Non-fiction appeals to me because I get to research and write about all sorts of cool topics, but it also requires a lot of creativity, especially when writing for kids. There’s also something equally cool about creating a world from your imagination and hooking a reader in that way. But again, fiction writing requires research and draws a lot from reality and real life experiences—at least for me.

I think that's great. I like the idea of writing about a bunch of different topics

How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one? Like lots of other authors I know, ideas never seem to be in short supply. It’s usually finding time to write which is the limiting factor. Writing REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS was a mixture of ideas and many of those were inspired by real-life experiences. The setting for the book is based on a real town near where I grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It has a canal connecting a fresh water lake with the ocean and was really the inspiration for my underwater mer-world.

Oh, I like that!

How did you come up with your title? Coming up with a title for this book was really tricky. At first, I’d called it BIG SPLASH because my main character, Jade, is a bit on the heavy side and she was definitely making a big entrance in her mer-world. But that title was a bit too similar to another book that had just been released.

Then, I thought about calling it RHYMES WITH JADE but my critique partner kinda said, “Huh? You mean like ‘trade’ or ‘afraid’?”

Um, no…MERMAID! Mermaid rhymes with Jade…so, um, that idea didn’t fly.

Finally, I was having dinner with my sister and she was wearing this cute thumb ring, which led to a discussion about toe rings, which led to REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS.

Can you tell us a little bit about REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS?

First zit. First crush. First…mermaid’s tail?

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But this revelation raises a serious question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. But how does a plus-sized, aqua-phobic, mer-girl go about doing that, exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend Cori, and her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…

Here's the book trailer:

What did you do on your release day? My release day was December 1st but the official launch was at my local library a few days later. I love launching my books at the library because the children’s librarian there is so supportive, their book collection is amazing and the library itself is beautiful.

We’ve also been doing a ‘virtual’ launch of sorts and in a fun promotion for the holidays my publisher, Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, is offering signed REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS bookplates for anyone who’d like to personalize their copies of the book. More info HERE.

Oh I Love the idea of having the launch at the library!

What’s up next? My next release is an early chapter book called WATER HAZARD, which is the second volume of my RED DUNE ADVENTURES series (Nimbus Publishing). It’s an eco-adventure mystery series for 7-9 year olds. In terms of new writing projects, I’ve got two young adult manuscripts on the go as well as the very first chapter of something brand new.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?

I really enjoyed PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow and of course everybody’s probably heard of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Are there any authors you’d love to meet? I would be completely intimidated but I’d love to meet Kate DiCamillo or Katherine Paterson. I love their books.

Do you have a favorite literary quote? “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” — Annie Dillard (The Writing Life)

Listing of your favorites:

Candy: Chocolate covered raisins
Pizza topping: Meat-lovers
Genre of books: Funny!
Singer and/or Song: Top 40
Restaurant: Tex-Mex
TV show /Movie: Vampire Diaries or Big Bang Theory
Color: Red
Shoe: Flip-flops

Thanks for chatting with me today, Hélène!

*You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the interesting interview with Hélène. I really enjoyed learning more about her. My gratitude to Hélène for sharing such indepth responses here today.
Happy New Year!