Thursday, August 29, 2013

Interview with Helene Boudreau

A Little About the Author:
Hélène Boudreau writes fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. She is also a compulsive walker, a chicklet wrangler and a lover of cheese and cheap chocolate.

Her tween novel REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS is a 2011 Crystal Kite Member Choice Award Finalist.

Connect with Helene:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

I just recently read your Real Mermaids series, where Jade (our main character) finds out that she’s a mermaid. In such a delicate part of her life, how do you think that you relate to her?

I was a very late bloomer so I can definitely relate to Jade in that sense. It’s hard when you feel left behind by your peers in a physical and/or emotional sense. Jade has even bigger problems, though, in that she’s now stuck with a shiny new tail.

My own daughters are at the precipice of entering those uncertain years of raging hormones and topsy-turvy emotions. I really wanted to write a fun story for them (and girls like them) to ease them into the land of zits, training bras and smelly armpits. The upside being that—no matter how hard puberty might get—at least they don’t have TAILS!

At first, Jade and Luke’s relationship is just so awkward and sweet. How did you make it feel authentic?

I’m glad you think their relationship rings true. When I was first ‘pursuing’ my husband it took forever for him to figure out I was actually into him and wasn’t particularly a huge hockey fan—the arena was just close to where he lived. I wanted to capture that same dense but adorable quality in Jade. I think obliviousness is a charming quality. ;-)

I remember loving Jade’s attitude and her spunk. Did you base her off of an acquaintance?

Jade is not based on anyone in particular but I like to think she’s a bit like me except that I would need a full 24 hours of deep thinking to come up with some of the things she thinks or says. Actually, that’s probably why I stare at my computer screen a lot when I’m writing these books!

Facebook or Twitter?

Definitely Facebook! Twitter is too fast-moving for me and once something disappears from my stream, it’s like it’s gone forever. I like Facebook because it’s a lot more visual and appeals to my sense of order. So much of my life gets planned on Facebook. This week, I organized a lunch with a bunch of friends, shared cute music videos with my sister, and tracked my walking progress with my walking buddies! That said—it is really distracting.

I just recently became a big reader of MG as a genre-- and I feel like there’s a pressure to always have an adventure. How do you feel about that?

The middle grade age (from 9-12) is a time when kids’ worlds open up in exciting but sometimes scary ways. They’re given more responsibilities and freedoms and their stratospheres expand exponentially. At the same time, our society has become sometimes quite protective (sometimes for good reasons) so books are a way for young people to explore new worlds, characters, and situations they may not encounter in real life. And yes, those themes can definitely have an adventurous tone to them.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Hm. Lemon? I mean, I like both chocolate and vanilla but for baked goods I’m a huge lemon fan.

In a town that’s full of mer-transfers, Jade fits in with all of her quirks. Was the mermaid town just a random idea, or was it your intention from the beginning?

Jade’s town of Port Toulouse is actually based on a town called St. Peter’s near where I grew up. It has a boat canal, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to a fresh water lake just like in the book. My childhood village also had so many interesting characters at the local wharf, the bingo hall, or the post office—it was easy to draw inspiration from them!

What do you like to read when you're not writing? Feel free to name drop! (:

I’m loving Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s illustrative work in I’m Bored and am excited to see her new book with Michael Ian Black called Naked. For middle grade, Karen Rivers’ The Encyclopedia of Me is a HUGE hit in this house.  

What do you have in store for us after the Real Mermaids series?

I’m actually working on the fourth book in the Real Mermaids series at the moment. It’s called Real Mermaids Don’t Sell Sea Shells and it will be out this fall! In Book #4, Jade, Cori, Luke and Trey and their families head off for a tropical vacation in the Bahamas. Jade soon finds out that sun, surf and tropical breezes are no ‘day at the beach’ because being a teenage mermaid never takes a vacation.

After that, I’m ready to explore new territory—possibly with a new series, a stand-alone, or a new picture book. I’m working on all three possibilities at the moment so we shall see!

Check out her books--


  1. Wonderful interview and these books sound like fun..I love the funny titles!

  2. Great interview. Very interesting.