Name Helene Louard
Where are you from
I’m originally from France. I was born in Paris and lived in a small village in the south of France until my family moved to Canada. I currently live in Montreal, Quebec.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My novel, The Tunnel – a YA dystopia/science-fiction/paranormal romance book – was published by DreamBig Publishing on August 19th, 2016. It is now available on Amazon.com and through other major retailers.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was ten years old. I had read a book about a boy and his dog and didn’t like the book’s ending so I decided to write my own.
From a very young age, I felt drawn to books. I’m very creative and have a wild imagination so it’s easy for me to get lost in a good book. I love how wonderful a great novel makes me feel. It’s a superb escape! When I was a teenager, I wrote a lot of dark poetry (typical teen angst stuff). It took many years for me to decide to write my first book. In 2005, I wrote a fantasy entitled “The Dreamer’s Vengeance”. I’m now actually in the process of publishing it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until my novel, The Tunnel, was picked up by DreamBig Publishing. I’m not sure why it took me so long to embrace my talent. It’s probably because I spent so many decades locked in the corporate world trying to find my place. I have finally figured out that that world simply isn’t meant for me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I can’t really explain it. The plot for a novel usually strikes me out of nowhere. Within minutes, the entire storyline is played out in my head.
With The Tunnel, it was a listening to a specific song – one I’d never heard before – that sparked the whole story.
Now, if only I could write the story as quickly as I imagined it…!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I prefer writing in the third person because it enables me to delve deeper into all the characters’ traits and personalities. I also hate extensive details that don’t add anything to the storyline. I like to think that readers enjoy using their own imaginations. So in my opinion, there’s no need to describe a landscape or character’s face in intricate detail. I leave that to the reader.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
When the storyline for The Tunnel infiltrated my mind (during my usual lunchtime walk), I pictured my main character, Alexa, at the wheel of a car entering a dark tunnel. The tunnel is the portal that propels Alexa into the future and into the post-apocalyptic world she is meant to save. I also thought the title would sound very “paranormal-y”.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many but primarily, I want readers to believe in love again. And not just romantic love but also in the love that is shared by siblings, friends, and the entire human race. The Tunnel celebrates selfless and sacrificial love. It also sends a strong message about the consequences of humans playing God. In the book, the human race hangs by a thread because of genetic modifications and human pride. Ultimately, the world is destroyed because human beings messed around with nature.
There’s also a message about spirituality and destiny – that we are all connected and here for a purpose.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In The Tunnel’s prologue, a woman named Elyssa takes a trip to Israel to search for her missing mother. During the trip, she is “bitten” by a supernatural force that soon bestows her with visions of the future. This part of the book was definitely influenced by an event in my own life. When I was only four years old, my maternal grandmother went on a trip to Israel. When she came back, she was diagnosed with cancer. She died shortly thereafter. When my mother told me that story, it stuck with me and kind of haunted me, to be honest. So when I started writing the prologue, I felt a strong need to incorporate my grandmother’s story. I think it’s a way for me to pay homage to her and the incredible life she lived.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
The first trilogy I ever read was J.V. Jones’ Book of Words. I read those books in record time! That author really changed my life and inspired me to write The Dreamer’s Vengeance.
I then dove into George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series (Game of Thrones!!). A few decades later, I discovered the world of YA writing and totally fell in love with authors like Amanda Hocking, Suzanne Collins, James Dasher, and Michael Grant. I like to switch genres and I find I go through phases. Like for a couple of years, I read nothing but horror novels. I guess I like to experiment and broaden my horizon.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can’t pick one author as I simply have too many favorites. I definitely like Michael Grant because his “Gone” series really steps outside of the confines of traditional paranormal writing. His imagination is insanely wild and his books, very popular. I like it when an author proves that even if it’s never been done before, it doesn’t mean it can’t strike a chord with readers.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
God. After all, where else did all my inspiration come from? I really can’t take any of the credit. Even when I’m writing, I’m amazed at what I’m typing because it feels like an out-of-body experience. I totally attribute all of my gifts and talents to the Lord.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I think every author’s dream is to be able to write all day and get paid for it. The reality is that only a few ever get that chance. I guess it’s a lot like trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood. But regardless of the financial aspect, I do see writing as a career. Bottom line: It doesn’t matter if a book sells millions of copies, an author should write for the joy of writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am very blessed to be working with a publisher that didn’t feel the need to change my storyline or any other details. And so far, my book reviews have been fantastic which leads me to believe that readers like it just the way it is!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From my love of books and reading. Plus, I think that writing is my only talent (hee hee). I just love to create worlds and stories. When I was a kid, I would set up a storyline for my friends and sisters to play out. Everyone had to follow the plotline or else…! I should have known then, I was going to be a writer!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on two projects right now. I’m half-way through writing my next novel, The Tide, which is a prequel to The Tunnel. I’m also working on publishing my fantasy novel, The Dreamer’s Vengeance.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. Trying to get the story from my brain to the page. Sometimes I get writer’s block. It’s horrible. When it happens, I know it’s because I’m not on the right track so I usually take a break and then totally erase whatever last paragraph or section I’ve been working on. A fresh start usually unlocks my mind again.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I don’t need to travel. That’s the beauty of the internet and social media. I can do all my research and promotions online.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I came up with the design but I hired a Graphic Designer to put it together. Her name is Jocelyne Pena. I think she did an amazing job!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Making sure the plot flowed effortlessly and that no details were missed. There’s a prophecy in The Tunnel so I had to be careful to follow its course. I also had a few family members read the book before publishing. I strongly recommend that authors get the opinions of friends or family before they finalize their manuscripts. You’d be surprised at how useful their comments can be.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that although I’m a skeptic in real life when it comes to romantic love, I sure enjoy writing a good love story!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I love this question! I really do hope The Tunnel will be made into a movie because I already imagined the entire trailer. It gives me chills when I think about it!
I think Tane could be played by Jeremy Sumpter, and Micah, by Kellan Lutz. As for Alexa, I recently saw the movie “Nine Lives” and immediately thought Malina Weissman would be amazing in the role (once she’s a little older, of course!).
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Write because you love to write – not because you want to make money. Also, cherish the positive feedback and discard the negative. It makes life much more pleasant.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want readers to sit back and enjoy the ride!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m editing The Dreamer’s Vengeance so I’m not reading right now. When I write, I just don’t read other books. But once I’m done, I’ll be checking out the authors’ books that are published by DreamBig Publishing. I also plan to read more books by indie authors.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m pretty sure it was that book about the boy and his dog (I just can’t remember the title). The dog dies at the end. I was absolutely outraged which is why I wrote my own alternate ending. In my ending, the dog comes back to life. Ha. Take that!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I watch a lot of TV so I can state that watching Game of Thrones does both for me. I love watching comedies like Seinfeld and The IT Crowd. I’m actually a huge fan of comedy. That’s being said, I find it interesting that my books tend to be very dramatic.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
This might sound like an odd answer but… I don’t want a headstone. I’m happy to be cremated and have my ashes tossed in the ocean (one of my favorite places). If I had a headstone, I’d be taking up place in the cemetery and since I’m an environmentalist, I’d rather not do that 😛
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I am a major TV and movie nut. I always enjoy going for walks and surrounding myself with all kinds of animals. I especially love cats!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are my absolute favorite!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m a vegan so I love all vegan cuisine. I’m a big fan of Daiya pizza and “cheese”cake. My favorite color is blue. As for music, I currently enjoy Twenty-one Pilots (their lyrics are fresh and original – a nice change from the usual!). I also like most of the stuff on the top 40 list and enjoy the music of Chris Tomlin.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have worked with animals. I always wanted to be a zoologist or biologist. The problem is that I wasn’t any good at math and physics so that dream was a bust at an early age. But I still have the dream to open up my own animal sanctuary one day.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can visit my website at www.thetunnelnovels.com. I also have a Facebook page www.facebook.com/thetunnelseries. My book’s information is also available on DreamBig Publishing’s website at www.dreambigpublishing.net.