Today's post was a little last minute, but I hope you won't mind. And I hope the author doesn't mind. :) If you were interested in the book I reviewed yesterday, then you'll enjoy this Q&A with the author, Hélène Boudreau. She even added a video to the end of the Q&A. How awesome is that? :)
Q: Where did Jade come from? Was anything drawn from life? (setting, characters, etc.)
A: My main character, Jade, came about through conversations I had with my daughters after reading Mélanie Watt’s picture book ‘Scaredy Squirrel’. The book is about a neurotic squirrel who’s afraid of everything. We were getting a bit silly, talking about birds that were afraid of flying or fish that were afraid of swimming; which led to the idea of an aqua-phobic mer-girl. It just seemed like such a ridiculous idea that I just had to see where it led. Little did I know; it would lead to this book series!
Port Toulouse in the story is actually based on the town of St. Peter’s, Nova Scotia, near where I grew up. My dad used to take us there by boat and we’d sail from the ocean, up a canal and through a boat lock to the Bras D’Or Lake. I was always amazed by the purple jelly fish in the ocean compared to the white jelly fish in the lake. It always made me wonder how different it would be to live in a lake compared to the ocean. That was the inspiration for my underwater mer-world in the Real Mermaids series.
Q: The titles of the first two books are rather catchy, Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings and Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath. Did they come easily or was it a struggle?
A: Coming up with a title for the first book was actually really tricky. At first, I’d called the book 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.
A few more titles were thrown around (and thrown out) then 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.
The other two titles came about through a lot of collaboration with my editor, my agent, and my mom. My mom insists she gave me the idea for Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath on a road trip we took last summer.
I choose to leave her believe that. *wink-wink*
Q: Was there anything specific to mermaids or ocean life in general that you had to research?
A: I spent a lot of time researching tides and tidal pools and the mechanisms of boat locks throughout the whole series. I really wanted to explore how salinity and tidal conditions might affect mers.
I also researched a lot of theories on primordial development and the concepts of human evolution. My main focus was to make the magic as ‘believable’ as possible by basing it on scientific explanations (which I extrapolated from, of course).
Q: Any hints on what's next for Jade? (and Luke, of course. ;))
A: In Real Mermaids Don’t Need High Heels (Book #3) Jade tries to overcome her fear of awkward dancing as she prepares for her first formal high school dance, while trying to orchestrate the biggest political coup in mer history.
Q: Mermaids: in your opinion, real or myth?
A: Real, of course! Was there ever any doubt? ;-)
Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for the advance copy of Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath and for facilitating the Q&A as part of a blog tour for its release. And thanks so much to Hélène for answering my silly questions. :)