Marie-Hélène Lebeault Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Marie-Hélène Lebeault: I live in Quebec, Canada, and I am the mother of two young adults. Formerly a teacher, I now spend my days writing, translating academic manuals, and lending my voice to corporate training videos. I enjoy reading, hiking, and going to the beach. I am also an avid rollercoaster fiend and am on a mission to visit all the Six Flags amusement parks with my daughter. Every year, I travel for three weeks on a solo adventure to a new part of the world. Since COVID hit, I have been taking in the beautiful scenery on my ebike and discovering new hiking gems closer to home.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
MHL: If I gave you key that could open the door to anywhere, where would you go?
IBB: Where do you like to write?
MHL: I would love to say anywhere and everywhere. But the winner for me is at my desk, on my mac.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
MHL: Silence! I am very easily distracted.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
MHL: Books by Cecelia Ahearn, Mitch Album, and Diana Gabaldon not only satisfy me as a reader but make me want to improve my craft.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
MHL: Actually writing! I participated in NaNoWriMo as an incentive to get me going. I was amazed I had completed a novel in 30 days. It was terrible! I mean, the story was good, but the book needed work. I hired an editor, and that book became the first in a series of four. With each book, you can see all aspects of my writing have improved.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
MHL: This changes daily! At first, completing a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo. Then making it readable so I could share it with friends and family and not be embarrassed. Then publishing it. Then another, and another, and another. Then I started dreaming my books would sell. Then I imagined they landed in schools and libraries. Now, I dream they get picked up by Prime or Netflix, and they’re turned into a TV series! But mostly, I want to keep improving.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
MHL: I haven’t received a lot of reviews. I need to get on that. But my most glowing bit of praise from a good friend who read the still-terrible-but-grammatically-sound second draft and loved it. Her notes and encouragement made all this possible.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
MHL: Marketing and promotion. My first hurdle with self-promotion anxiety was publishing the book and sharing it on Facebook with family and friends. I mean, putting yourself out there for strangers isn’t so scary. However, my immediate and extended family have been very supportive. My books are in English, and I’m from Quebec, where most people speak French. Many of my friends have not read the books. I’m currently in the process of translating them.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
MHL: I read a lot; that’s the best way to improve. Working with an editor is excellent too. I’ve also gone back to school and am working on a Major in Language and Linguistics.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
MHL: I think an editor should clearly enjoy your writing style and story and help the writer turn the story into the best version of itself.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
MHL: Nothing. I would listen and take notes. Those are two powerful reactions, and there are nuggets of gold to be gleaned from them.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
MHL: Stop making excuses or listening to advice. Just write whatever comes and don’t judge it. Keep writing.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
MHL: Many more books! As I mentioned, translating my books into French and possibly translating into other languages.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
MHL: I don’t know if it’s enticing or not. But I’m handy with Canva and did the best I could. When I get a budget, I might consider a more cohesive look for the series.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
MHL: I read every day, at least an hour if I’m busy. I read a lot of Fantasy, Romance, Auto-Biographies (as audiobooks), and quite a bit of new age or health-related non-fiction.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Marie-Hélène and her work, please visit: