I told you I was going to introduce you to another kid lit person -- so today, I'd like you to meet Helaine Becker. Helaine, who lives in Toronto and is the author of some 30 books for children, was visiting Montreal this week and because we've met on-line on a children's writers and illustrators' list-serv, we arranged to meet up. And I must say, we hit it off. In fact, we got together twice! Not only are Helaine and I about the same height (as in not very tall), but we've got the same energy level (high)!
Helaine's latest book is called The Insect-files (Maple Tree Press) and it's a non-fiction book full of weird information about bugs, as well as hands-on activities for kids.
When I asked Helaine what she is currently working on, her answer made me laugh: "I'm working on 400 things at once!" We also talked about what we like best about writing. Helaine told me her favourite part of the process is coming up with new ideas. "That's why I do 400 things at once," she added.
I asked Helaine what tip she had to share with my blog readers, and she came up with something very sensible that I think you'll like: "Start writing. It doesn't matter what it is. The worst thing is the blank page. Once you start writing, the mind starts to get into it!"
And you know how life sometimes delivers lovely surprises? Well, it turns out Helaine is from the very same town on Long Island in New York that my husband is from. Not only did they go to the same high school (though my husband is a few years older than Helaine), but they both had the same favourite English teacher: Harry Teitelbaum. I don't know about you, but I love those kinds of coincidences. And it also happens that a few years ago, I helped my husband locate Harry Teitelbaum (who's now living in California), so I'm going to pass on his address to Helaine. Hopefully, Harry will be getting some fan mail from Helaine soon. I'm sure he'll be tickled to know that one of his former students has become such a successful writer!
Off I go... though it's Sunday and I want to do some cooking for the week ahead, I also need to spend a little time this afternoon on the revision of Junkyard Dog. I promised my editor Melanie Jeffs I'd get her the revision before the end of March, and by golly, it's nearly here!