TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
HB: I write fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. I am also a compulsive walker, a chicklet wrangler and a lover of cheese and cheap chocolate. I wrote a book about first zits, first crushes and first mermaid tails. I also like to sleep.
TBP: Describe Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings in nine words or less. (Can be individual words or a sentence.)
HB: A plus-sized part-time aquaphobic mer-girl versus really scary mer-dudes.
(Totally cheated with the hyphens, ha!)
TBP: Do you believe that mermaids exist or once did?
HB: I do believe in the whole ‘primordial soup’ thing; where molecules randomly bumped into one another in one big liquidy stew, arranging themselves in such a way to support life. Are there pesco-sapiens swimming the ocean blue today? Probably not, but I grew up next to the Atlantic and know how powerful the ocean can be. I definitely believe that humankind had an aquatic ancestral version and over time crawled out of the ocean and onto the beach, stood upright and started swinging from trees.
TBP: Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
HB: It was always something I dreamed of doing since 4th or 5th grade. In fact, my mom still has picture book I wrote and illustrated from back then, about a runaway robot wreaking havoc in a grocery store, pushing over teetering piles of soup cans and terrorizing little old ladies in the produce section.
TBP: Who are some of your favorite YA authors?
HB: I love, love, love anything by Katherine Paterson, Kate DiCamillo or Tim Wynne-Jones. My book-crushes at the moment are The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Plain Kate by Erin Bow.
TBP: What helps you whenever you happen to have a case of writer's block? Certain music, food, etc?
HB: I try not to fall victim to the notion of ‘writer’s block’. I think writing is hard work, yes, but sometimes you just have to push through the yuckiness and force words out even if they’re cruddy. By believing you can somehow be ‘blocked’ is self-defeating. There is always another word, another sentence, another paragraph. They may not be great words but they’re words nonetheless. I sometimes have days when everything I write stinks, but you can’t revise a blank page.
Oh, and a little bit of cheese or chocolate never hurts.
TBP: Aside from writing, what is your favorite pastime?
HB: I am an avid walker and train for half-marathons. I need a lot of ‘thinking’ time while I write and walking is the perfect way for me to let my mind wander.
TBP: What was your favorite game as a kid?
HB: We used to play a game called Midnight Ghost, which was basically hide-and-go-seek in the dark. We’d play all through the neighbourhood, well into the night, with kids ranging in age from 6 to 16. It always scared the heck out of me but it was great fun.
(We played a similar game when I was a kid only with flashlights. The best part about hide and seek in the dark is that you can hide in plain sight and some of the most obvious places with out being found.)
TBP: If you could shapeshift into any animal, which would it be and why?
HB: One with a very furry coat because I am ALWAYS cold. Seriously, I walk around with a scarf on all day, even indoors. A chinchilla, maybe? They’re pretty fuzzy. Plus they’re cute.
TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?
HB: *Audiobook Contest: Dreamscape Media produced the audiobook of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings and is offering three chances to win one HERE. (Contest closes December 20th, 2010 )
*Signed Bookplates: Also, in a fun promotion for the holidays my publisher, Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, is offering signed Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings bookplates with proof of purchase. More info HERE.
*You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.
A huge thanks to Helene for stopping by and allowing me to interview her. A review of her book, Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings, will be coming in the near future so keep your eyes open for that.
I hope you all enjoyed the interview and feel free to leave any thoughts you have on it in the comments section. :D