Author Interview with Hélène Boudreau
Get to know Hélène…
Hélène Boudreau grew up on an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean but now writes fiction and non-fiction for kids from her land-locked home in Ontario, Canada.
She has never spotted a mermaid in the wild, but believes mermaids are just as plausible as sea horses, flying fish, or electric eels.
Let the conversation begin!
What one word describes you?
Five-track-minded. Sorry, I know that’s more than one word but it’s a symptom of my affliction.
What do you do when you see a spider in your house?
I get my kids to catch it in a cup and release it outside. Not that I’m scared of spiders but they are petrified so it’s equal parts hilarious for me and a potential growth experience for them.
Do you bake or buy?
I have a thing about packaged foods so I definitely bake lots and try to sneak in all sorts of good stuff for my girls like flax seed and quinoa. I’m sure they eat stuff at their friends’ houses and wonder ‘what is this smooth-tasting manna from heaven?’.
Should you tip for takeout?
Only if it’s delivered. If I pick it up, sorry but all you did was push it across the counter to me.
Which is worse, being in a place that is too loud or too quiet?
Loud places are the worst for me. I get completely overwhelmed by noise and go into shut-down mode. Stadiums with screaming sports fans? Torture.
What is one quality that you really appreciate in a person?
Compassion. Especially for children.
What would you rather have: a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, or a chauffeur?
A housekeeper! So s/he could clean up after the girls and I create elaborate craft projects, cook elaborate fancy meals, and come back from elaborate long-distance road trips.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m a planner so I tend to rely on charts, calendars, lists, and timelines to organize my ideas. Otherwise, it’s Crazy Town if I just write into the void without some kind of outline and it takes forever to revise my manuscript back into submission.
What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.
I hope I write quirky, funny dialogue and scenes well because those are my favorite things to write.
What books have most influenced your life?
I’m from a family of ten so books were kind of community property in our house. I remember, though, that my godfather sent me my very own hardcover Trixie Belden for Christmas one year. I cherished that book because it was mine. All mine! That feeling of ownership of a story, a character, a whole world, is what really influences me to write for kids.
What book are you reading now?
I usually have three books on the go at once.
Paper book? The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen
E-book? The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (but I suspect I’m not clever enough to understand this book)
Audiobook? One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Who are your favorite authors? What really strikes you about their work?
I really love underdog stories with characters that are flawed but have a special inner light and compassionate spirit like Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux and Louis Sachar’s Holes. I think both books do an especially great job of making the reader root for the main characters, who are layered and textured in surprising ways. Love that!
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