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Kids and Tween Author Helen Perelman

During the day, Helen can be found with her laptop at a library or coffee shop -- and sometimes on the blacktop of a playground with her kids. Helen’s first job was working at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City (named after A.A. Milne’s donkey.) She worked at Scholastic, Inc. editing many second- and third-grade paperback series, and later at Disney Publishing as an Executive Editor for middle-grade and young-adult books. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Nathan, and their twin daughters.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a town on Long Island, New York called Roslyn Heights.  It’s about thirty-five minutes from Manhattan. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere!  There’s always something that happens during a day that I tuck away and hope to use in a book. 

Did you always want to be a writer?   
I always enjoyed reading and writing.  English was my favorite subject in school.  My second-grade teacher had us write stories all the time – and I was hooked!  I studied English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, and after I graduated I moved to New York City.  When I saw a neighborhood children’s bookstore help wanted sign, I applied.  I already had a large collection of children’s books from childhood and wanted to keep up my collection. Working there was the best education in children’s literature. Soon after that I got a job as an editorial assistant at Scholastic, Inc. I loved working with writers and illustrators and I put thoughts of being a writer on hold.  I really enjoyed being an editor. I stayed there for a few years and then worked at Disney as an Executive Editor.  After my daughters were born, I decided to take off my editor’s hat and try on a writer’s hat.  I am really happy with my decision – and the work that I am doing now.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The best writers are good readers.  Read all you can!  And start keeping a journal.  Every day try writing a little bit about your day.  Start a writing group with some friends. It’s very helpful to share work in progress.

What’s your favorite part about writing Candy Fairies?
My favorite part about writing Candy Fairies is thinking about the world in Sugar Valley.  How does the valley look, smell and taste?  Do jelly beans grow on trees or bushes? What season do gummy berries blossom? It’s fun to imagine!  I also love inventing the expressions that the Candy Fairies say….Sure as sugar, it’s choc-o-rific to imagine such a so mint world!

Did anything in My Super Sweet 13 really happen to you?
I had jelly bean favors at my bat mitzvah when I was thirteen. But that’s about it. My niece and nephews (who were around thirteen when I wrote the book) were very helpful. They gave me lots of ideas. On my wedding day, it poured, and there was also a huge blackout the day before the wedding. I was definitely channeling all the mishaps of planning a party when I wrote that book!

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing books?
I love hanging out with my family and friends. My husband and I have lots of fun with our daughters.  I enjoy exploring new places, dancing around the house with my girls, hunting for the perfect cupcake recipe, searching for new songs for my iPod, and completing a knitting project.  I’m also really good at procrastinating and love to watch television and to talk on the phone with my friends!