Summer Island Breeze: Find out what it was like for Hélène to grow up on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! Salty sea smells every day? I’ll take it!
Okay, so not exactly in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean but I grew up on a very small island off the coast of Canada and it may as well have been the middle of nowhere because looking back, it sure felt like a different world.
First, you have to take a causeway, then a drawbridge, then another bridge before finally arriving to my little slice of island paradise called Petit de Grat. Petit de Grat is not a tropical utopia but it was a pretty unique place to grow up in that:
- My friends and I used to have sleepovers on my dad’s fishing boat while it was moored in the middle of our harbour.
- The island only had a few hundred inhabitants but was full of kind-hearted, colourful characters.
- Wild cows roamed the east end of our island and were known to chase us through forest paths.
So how did my childhood affect my process of writing the Real Mermaids series?
- My dad took us for boat rides to a town on the mainland called St. Peters. We sailed up a canal from the ocean to a fresh water lake. That canal inspired the setting of my fictional town of Port Toulouse. I often wondered if the purple jellyfish in the ocean knew about the white jellyfish in the lake. It amazed me that two totally different underwater worlds could be separated by just a mile-long canal. That was the inspiration for the mer-world in these books.
- I wanted my fictional town of Port Toulouse to be small and quaint, with a strong sense of community and full of fun characters like where I grew up.
- It was a bit harder to work in the wild cows so mermaids seemed like a good alternative. ;-)