Me: What inspired you to start writing:
Helene: Looking back I realize that I always liked the creative writing part in high school English. The grammar part, not so much. My essays and stories are what kept my English grades up but it wasn't until I was an adult, searching for something I could do from home, that I hit on the possibility of writing. For years I had written my own puppet scripts, some songs and a few short skits. I didn't think of this as a possible career until I saw an advertisement for a course from the 'Institute of Children's Literature', took it, and fell in love with writing for children. I had found my passion. I wanted to write books for children to inspire them and make them laugh. Children's laughter is one of the best sounds.
Me: Tell me a little bit about you, in brief.
Helene: I am married to a wonderfully supportive man and my best friend for 20 years. We live in Vernon, BC with our black cat Boo. Our neighbor asked if he got his name from scaring people at night, as Boo is very friendly and comes unexpectedly out of the bushes. We have no children. How can you write for children when you have none?? many wonder. I'm inspired by 21 nieces and nephews, soon to be 22, plus my imagination, I respond with a smile. And maybe a childlike heart?
Me: Tell me a bit about your latest book.
Helene: 'Why did the Osprey Poop on my Head?' is about a young boy named Timmy and his pet gecko, Joe. Timmy knows that God is good but questions why bad things happen. It's for the ages 4-8 and it always gets a laugh or two.
Me: I noticed that one of the photos is of you and your cat. Would you say that you are an animal lover and tell me more about your cat?
Helene: I am definitely an animal lover. I grew up with cats and dogs, even some chickens when younger, although I didn't cuddle them. It surprises me how often our cat makes me smile. His love for love, his playfulness, his 'I'm ignoring you right now,' his wheezy snores and his 'licking his chops' sound that happens when he dreams ... about eating mice I think, all bring joy. He's not my child because he's an animal, but I do love him.
Me: What was the best part of growing up in Canada and what are some of the things you still like about it?
Helene: I love, and have always loved, to get out into nature, whether farmland, lakes, ocean, forest or mountains ... although my favorite is mountains. Being able to get away from people and enjoy the outdoors has always been a large part of my life. I get refreshed and inspired. Photography is a hobby of mine so hiking with me takes a bit longer as I'm always stopping to take that elusive 'perfect shot.' Snowshoeing and skiing, mostly downhill, gets us into the mountains in the winter and hiking and kayaking while my husband fly fishes gets us up to the mountains the rest of the year.
Me: When did your interest in stories first develop? What type of story was your favorite?
Helene: There's a few pictures of me on my website that show how early I enjoyed reading. Cartoons were my first love ... mainly Charles M. Schulz's 'Peanuts.' My Snoopy stuffy had the beans squeezed out of him from all the hugs he received. A. A. Milne's 'Winnie the Pooh' was my next all time favorite. I loved stories that combined fantastic and sometimes silly imagination with good always triumphing over evil.
Me: On your website, you mention some of your writing heroes. Tell me about them and what made them your heroes, in brief.
Helene: I think this answer ties in with my previous answer. Some of my favorite children's writers were C.M. Schultz, A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis because of their ability to embrace the imagination with humor and fascination.
Me: Your name is French. Do you also speak the language? Can we expect future books in French as well?
Helene: Sorry, no. My mother is French Canadian, my father speaks English. I think my mother focused on learning English so she didn't speak French in the home. I took French until grade 10 but can't converse, unless you ask me to count to ten ... that I can do. French immersion schools weren't as available as today unfortunately. The few times I've been with my French relatives, my response to 'parles-tu français ?' is 'un petit, petit peu.'
Me: Is there anything else you would like me to mention?
Helene: My book is available in e book and soft cover form. I have a few hardcovers for libraries.
You can find me at:
Thank you so much for talking with me Helene! We loved the book and I hope you will be sure to let us know when another one is out! Best of luck to you!
About this Blog
Author Vickianne Caswell interviews other children's authors.