Meet the Author: Hélène Clarke
Author’s children’s book helps parents address kids’ question: Why do bad things happen?
Children’s picture book with a practical purpose
“I decided to order a few of these [‘Why Did the Osprey Poop on My Head?’] for our store because we need books that will address this issue clearly for kids.” Paul Wilkinson of the blog, Thinking Out Loud.
Hi, Hélène. Welcome to 4writersand readers; it’s a pleasure to have you with us today. First, can you tell us about you and about your life?
I grew up as an only child. I would have loved siblings but it wasn’t to be. Even as a child I loved to read. Some of my favorites were ‘Peanuts’ by Charles M. Schulz, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ by A.A. Milne and ‘Narnia‘ by C.S. Lewis. My stuffed Snoopy dog and Winnie the Pooh bear both had the stuffing hugged out of them. I grew up loving the wonders of the imagination and I always loved…and still love, when good triumphs over evil.
What about your family?
When I was 25 I married the love of my life and best friend. We were never blessed with children but my husband comes from a large family and so we have 21 nieces and nephews to inspire and make us laugh.
How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?
I have been writing for eight years. I’ve always written for children but I write many genres and for many age groups within those categories.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of ‘Why Did the Osprey Poop on My Head?’
My book is about a young boy who grows up knowing that God is good. He believes this wholeheartedly but one day an Osprey poops on his head. He is then hit by another tragedy and so questions that if God is good, why do bad things happen. The story ends with him realizing that bad things happening does not determine God’s goodness. God is good because he is.
I love your book’s video introduction. Let’s give our readers a preview:
What prompted you to write?
As a girl out of college I traveled to Perth, Australia to join up with a missions group called Youth With A Mission or YWAM for short. During my year and a half with YWAM I saw many different countries and cultures. I was introduced to the poorest of poor and I’m embarrassed to say that there were times that I wished I was home watching it on TV so I could just change the channel. It was all a bit overwhelming. The amazing thing about people living in desperate situations is that you often still hear laughter. We were there to help where we could by sharing love through singing, puppets or hugging; but, the miracle of going out to bless others is that you’re often blessed yourself. Seeing the orphans laugh at the puppet shows inspired me more than I realized.
When I came home it took me awhile to find what I wanted to do. All through the years I was writing some small skits and puppet dialogues. I enjoyed doing this but never saw it as a career opportunity until I decided to take a correspondent writing course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Once I completed this course, I realized that I was in love. I had found my passion. I wanted to write books for children to inspire them, teach them, and make them laugh. There’s no better sound in the world than a child’s laughter.
Do you have a favorite line from the book?
“We can’t explain everything. All we can be sure of is that God loves us and that he is good.”
Who is your favorite character and why?
Definitely Timmy, as this character is based on my husband. Joe the gecko is pretty cute though.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
My biggest challenge was in keeping this faith concept simple without minimizing it.
You definitely deserve an A for meeting that challenge, Hélène. Do you do anything besides write?
When I started writing I worked out of the home while writing on the side. For the past few years I have dedicated my time solely to writing and marketing. Writers are often natural hermits so the learning curve on how to get out there and market a book is a challenge to say the least. A need for more finances may alter this plan but for now I’m holding fast to it.
How can my readers get a copy of ‘Why Did the Osprey Poop on My Head?’ My book is available as a soft cover with a free audio download OR as an eBook. You can get it from amazon, barneandnobles.com, www.heleneclarke.com, Bell Tower books in Kelowna, BC or Searchlight books in Port Hope, Ontario.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully more books! I have many stories written for different age groups and in different genres. I continue to send them out and I’ll definitely post on my website the day another book gets published.
I just love the title and concept of your book, Hélène. The topic, ‘why do bad things happen’, is a timely one for parents everywhere. ‘Why Did the Osprey Poop on My Head?’ provides the perfect opportunity for parents and other adults to talk about it with the kids in their lives. It has been a pleasure. I look forward to reading and sharing many more of your children’s stories. And with a FREE audio download or eBook to accompany your print edition, how can a parent or grandparent resist? It’s a fantastic idea and a real bonus. Thanks so much, Hélène Clarke, for joining us today. Happy writing. ~ Bette A. Stevens, www.4writersandreaders.com
Find out more about author Hélène Clarke and her books:
- http://www.heleneclarke.com Go to my website to find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Tony Ross: My favourite children’s books (telegraph.co.uk)
- For sale: Winnie-the-Pooh creator A A Milne’s home (telegraph.co.uk)
- One of my favorite cartoon character “Winnie the pooh” 🙂 (jcel1129wrongnew.wordpress.com)
- Books and Babies…Never Too Young – Reading to Your Newborn (everydayfamily.com)
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