Collette Yvonne Interview

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 
I grew up as a military brat which means my siblings together with my Mom followed my father across Canada and Europe from airbase to airbase so he could scream up and down runways on fighter jets all day long. Of course that means I retaliated by becoming an anti-war, counterculture, off-the-grid type who built a log house in the country and tried raising chickens and vegetables for a few years. The eggs were great but farming is RIDICULOUSLY hard work and involves random late-night encounters with skunks behind the chicken shack. So that gig didn’t last. Now I move house every 4.3 years because milbrats don’t know how to settle down. These days I prefer to get my eggs from a clean, well-lit grocery store. My three kids are fairly normal despite observing their mother’s pioneer phase in the log cabin and are currently adapting to modern life successfully. My husband likes to hang back so he can watch the ever-unfolding scene with a bemused look on his face.
Which writers inspire you? 
All of them. There are, of course, too many greats to list but my top favourites are storytellers like J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, witty writers like Sue Townsend and Sue Limb, romance weavers such as Helen Fielding and Jane Austen, and the masterful literary painters such as Alice Munro and Iris Murdoch. If only I could have written The Black Prince, then my itchy obsession with writing might be scratched out forever.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
When did you decide to become a writer?
In high school I loved art class. My Dad (remember? the fighter pilot?) urged me to avoid art school because that would be nothing but a bunch of hippies drawing naked people and throwing clay pots around. So I signed on to two years of Business Administration in college instead. Soon after graduation I decided that a university degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in History was the obvious next step. Once enrolled, I sidetrekked through the departments of Meteorology and Women’s Studies followed by courses in Medieval English. All which led directly to deep confusion about my options and the door of York University’s Creative Writing Program. Since then I have been a writer who occasionally dabbles in photography, Chinese brush painting and the occasional life drawing class.
Do you write full-time or part-time? 
I write part time. I am also a yoga teacher. That means I either sit on a cushion on the floor, cross my eyes, stare at the tip of my nose and say oOMmmm or sit on a cushion on my chair, cross my eyes, stare at the computer screen and wait till my eyeballs start to bleed. This is followed by taking a yoga posture like Downward Dog, which helps bring an energizing blood flow directly into the brain pan. It’s best if you suck your navel up tight against your spine, pull your pelvic floor up to the base of your nose and stick out your tongue at the same time. My yoga students really love this posture.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
The Perils of Pauline began with a slightly—ok , fine, a heavily—autobiographical day-in-the-life short story about a desperate mother of two kids who are home from school with fevers, coughs and way too much energy. In the course of those few starter pages, my lead character Pauline consumes a little too much of the kids’ cough syrup and adds a chaser of her favourite brand of single malt scotch, Lagavullin, which is really soothing for an oncoming migraine headache. This storyline is par for the narrative course for most female authors with young kids. Be assured, we don’t imagine stable Mom characters who nurse the children back to good health and pack them off to school the next day. Where’s the fun? No, in the next chapter, the lead character runs off out of the house to take up with a horny vampire or she starts a torrid affair with a handsome poetry professor. I went with the hot poet since the vampire bit has been done to death.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? 
A strategy? Sure. Wait. What?
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I prefer good reviews. (What’s not to like about hot poets anyway?)
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
The Perils of Pauline is published by Astor+Blue Editions at
The Perils of Pauline is available at all the usual places on the net such as
I have a website at and Facebook author page at , Twitter is @panichouse and I have an author page at Goodreads
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
If you are a fan of unstable, slightly autobiographically-drawn Mom characters, please check out The Perils of Pauline.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
A bilingual blog is a great idea. Thanks for the interview, it was fun and an honor to be featured on Book Wormie!


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