Hi Helena! So thrilled to have you here - looking forward to learning more about you and your work :) Wishing you much sales and success with your latest release, "A Way From Heart to Heart."
1.) What is your favourite thing about yourself?
That’s a great question. I suffer from depression quite a lot, so there are often long periods where there isn’t anything at all much I like about myself. I should get your question out and think about it more often. It would be good therapy :) I suppose one thing I do have is a lot of empathy for other people. I think the ability to empathise is something writers share in common, and this is how we are able to dream up characters outside ourselves.
2.) What do you wish you’d known before you started writing?
A lot! Mainly I wish I’d started earlier and had more confidence in my ability to write.
3.) Share a romantic moment in your life.
I’ve been married for quite a long time, and the older I’ve grown the more I appreciate the small moments rather than dramatic declarations. As I mentioned, I often suffer from depression. I can be lying on the settee consumed with self-loathing and all of a sudden my husband will look up from the television and mention how much he loves me. That sort of thing means far more to me now than being whisked off to Paris or given a whopping diamond!
4.) Is there one subject you’d never write about as an author? What is it?
Since I mainly write romance my heroes and heroines are basically decent people with the sort of ordinary flaws we all have. I’d never write a hero or heroine who had a flaw I couldn’t forgive, such as bigotry, bullying, etc. I know there are authors who write from the point of view of a completely unsympathetic character (for example Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels), but I don’t think I could stay in that person’s head for the length of time it takes me to write a book.
5.) Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read as much as you can in the genre that you’re writing, and try and analyse why a book works well/isn’t working. Reading ordinary readers’ reviews of books also helps me understand what readers enjoy in a story. Also, if you can find someone you trust to critique your work, their advice can often be invaluable. I still remember the advice I received from my reader in the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.
6.) If you could be the original author for any book, what would it be? Why?
Any one of Jane Austen’s books. I would love to have her ear for dialogue, her wit, and her ability to create characters that have endured for centuries.
7.) What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?
I did a lot of things that ought to have got me into trouble, but I was very quiet at school and mainly got away with it because of my look of fresh-faced innocence. I once got detention after I stayed in the playground engrossed in Pride and Prejudice after everyone had gone inside. I hadn’t noticed the bell had gone. Getting in trouble for reading is probably as rock and roll as my life ever got!
8.) If I came to your house for dinner what would you prepare for me? Why?
I’d try and find out what sort of things you like to eat, but if I didn’t know, I’d make things that I could prepare in advance, so we could spend time talking instead of cooking. Something like a lamb casserole or curry. I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to make your own ice-cream, so pistachio ice-cream would definitely be on the menu!
Thanks so much for having me, Rachel. I loved your questions. Hope you can come round one day for that meal in real life one day!
Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena now writes full-time. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the Romantic Novelists' Association Joan Hessayon Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards in the contemporary romance category. Her present work in progress, a YA time-slip novel, was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize 2014.
When not writing, Helena walks the Yorkshire moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.
Helena’s latest contemporary romance, A Way from Heart to Heart, was released by Accent Press in November 2014. Here is the blurb:
A novel about friendship, loss, and the human heart’s enduring capacity for love.
A knock at the door shatters Kate Hemingway’s life when she’s told of her husband’s death in Afghanistan. Piece by fragile piece she begins to rebuild her world and her son’s, spending her free time with a charity for teenage girls in London.
Reserved, ex-public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her teenagers on a trip to the Yorkshire moors, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything.
Can Kate take a risk with her son’s happiness as well as her own?
and other online retailers
Helena is waiting to chat! Comments? Questions?