Nice 'stache!!!! And the whole braided beard thing -- Johnny Depp would be proud.
But, of course, Johnny Depp does not write books, so this is a MUCH more exciting guest today. Have you guessed her name yet?
Let's start with the unbearding...
Ah. MUCH cuter than Johnny Depp. It's Hélène Boudreau! Let's see what she has to say, shall we?
Darby Christopher: Welcome Hélène! A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?
Hélène Boudreau: I was born on a teensy island called Petit de Grat off the coast of Cape Breton. Petit de Grat was first settled by the Basque and the name of my hometown means 'little harbour, big fish'.
DC: Ha! Cape Breton is very near where my grandparents live, on Prince Edward Island. Where do you live now?
HB: I now live in Markham, Ontario, far away from little ocean harbours and big ocean fish.
DC: Landlocked! That's too bad, but I'm sure Markham is nice. Besides, Markham is pretty near Toronto, and that's my favourite city in the world. But can you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid growing up on Petit de Grat?
HB: My grandparents had one of the first radios on the island, so they were in charge of reporting the weather for the fishermen in town. There is a rocky hill behind their house and on top of that hill were several flagpoles, visible from the harbour. When the weather report came in, they would climb to the top of the hill and raise flags, baskets and other signals to alert the fishermen around town of the upcoming weather. The ruins of that "Stormdrum" are still there and as kids, we spent hours climbing up, over and around the concrete base and remaining wooden timbers. The 'Stormdrum" became our pirate ship, airplane and clubhouse, plus it had an amazing view of the harbour and the ocean.
DC: That sounds like an incredible place to play. I guess it's pretty hilly there, though. Did you ever learn to ride a skateboard?
HB: I hope that isn't a requirement for participating in this interview. Otherwise, I'm in big trouble...
DC: It's all right -- sounds like you were busy doing other things. Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?
HB: Don't try this at home, but I can turn my eyelids inside out. Totally gross, but exceedingly entertaining.
DC: Okay, I so want to see you doing that! Maybe we can get a picture to put up on this blog! So, when you are hanging around, turning your eyelids inside out, what's your favourite snack to eat? I go for red licorice, myself.
HB: Speaking of licorice, what about those black pipes with the little red candy sprinkles on the 'lit up' part? Love those!
DC: Yep -- I definitely want a picture. Eyelids inside out, licorice pipe in mouth. Hélène, if you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?
HB: I would walk through the porthole of the ship THE VIOLET during the deportation of the Acadians in 1758.
DC: Ooooh! That is SO cool! I have an Acadian friend named Gabe, and his story is going to appear in the sequel to A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. Is there anyone special you’d like to meet?
HB: I'd love to meet my ancestor, Marguerite Gallant. She was an Acadian deportee, en route to France on THE VIOLET. When I first chose the name for the main character of my middle grade novel, ACADIAN STAR, I had no idea she shared the same name as one of my ancestors. Sadly, Marguerite Gallant drowned when THE VIOLET sank off the coast of Cape Breton, never making it to her destination. It would be fascinating, and frightening, to experience just a few moments on that ship. As long as I could walk back out through the same porthole, that is.
DC: You know, even if (very sadly) Marguerite didn't make it, a number of Gallants must have survived. It is a common surname in PEI, even today. Now, what can you tell me a bit about your latest project?
HB: My latest middle grade book, ACADIAN STAR, was published by Nimbus Publishing last fall. Here's the 411:
The Acadian Star competition is the biggest thing to ever happen in Meg Gallant's small Cape Breton town. Meg dreams of performing onstage with her best friend Nève. If they're lucky, they might even make it to the finals in Halifax. But Meg's weird old aunt, Tante Perle, has been acting stranger and stranger-and just before the finale of the competition, she whisks Meg away from everything she knows. Meg suddenly finds herself trapped in the time of the tragic Acadian Deportation-and she has to choose between escaping to her own time and saving a girl who looks remarkably like Nève. Why is she trapped in the eighteenth century? Will she be able to save this stranger, so quickly becoming a friend? And where does Tante Perle fit in with all this? This book for middle readers introduces us to contemporary Acadian characters, and also offers a young girl's perspective on the Acadian Deportation.
DC: Geez -- that sounds so cool. And I really have to introduce you to my friend Gabe. I think you guys could share a few stories! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?
HB: You can check out my website HERE, read the first chapter of ACADIAN STAR here and see me make a fool of myself, while soliciting Diet Coke endorsements HERE.
DC: Okay -- that is one of the funniest vlogs I have ever seen. You rock, Hélène! Or maybe I should say ...you walk.
HB: Thanks for inviting me, Darby! This was a lot of fun.
Now, if you'd like to win a copy of Hélène's wonderful book ACADIAN STAR, leave your name in the comments below.
But first -- go watch her vlog. Really. Just do it.
And stay tuned tomorrow for another mystery author to help celebrate the launch of my book A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW!