She is also an artist and has made a gallery out of a converted goat shed. As well as writing and painting, she now teaches on the MA Creative Writing at the University of Wales and currently has a RLF fellowship at Aberystwyth University. Welcome to the RNA Blog, we’re pleased to have you here. So tell us about your latest book and how you were inspired to write it.
My latest novel, SLICK DEALS, was originally inspired by a Dolphin Survey boat trip in Cardigan Bay. For some time I have wanted to set a novel in Wales and seeing an oil exploration vessel just off the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast gave me the perfect opportunity to create a romantic, exciting crime adventure. I have always liked stories about ordinary people getting caught up in big dangerous issues. When I first left university I worked as an oil trader for Shell. I now consider myself to be a conservationist. This novel allowed me to explore both sides of the oil debate. Involving the cool, sleek, city girl Ella Crossley in her oil tycoon boss’s family crisis and making her join forces with the scruffy, laid back American environmentalist Nick Jardine also gave me a chance to add some humour and emotional interest.
What do you enjoy most about your particular genre? Are you a specialist or do you have another identity?
I love sagas with plenty of suspense in them. What tips would you offer to any writer wishing to write a saga?
Of all the characters you’ve created, which one holds a special place in your heart?
I am fond of many of my characters, but Ward Frazer, the Canadian air force pilot (and subsequently SOE agent) who first appears in Lavender Road probably holds a special position in my heart. (And in many other people’s too judging from his fan mail!) He is physically attractive, of course, but I think his real appeal comes from his nonjudgmental acceptance of other people’s foibles, his mental strength and physical courage, and the romantic tragedy of his past. Also perhaps because he is the only person to see the true quality in the young, sickly Katy Parsons.
I know you have enjoyed a successful career in print, are you upbeat or concerned about the digital revolution? How do you think it might affect your own career?
As a regular attendee at RNA events, do you have an embarrassing moment you can share with us?
My most embarrassing moment at the RNA was at one of my first meetings when an agent I was hoping to impress asked me if I had ever had anything published, I was just shaking my head when a friend standing next to me said, ‘Yes you have, you once had a letter published in Whippet News!’
Do you cry over your own emotional scenes?
Yes, and not just the first time either. I’m glad to report, however, that my husband does too, he was checking through THE ART OF LOVING yesterday prior to uploading to Kindle and came in all red-eyed to report that he had just finished it and had only found five mistakes!
Aren’t husbands wonderfully supportive of we writers? Lastly, which is your all time favourite book?
I have lots of favourite books but they all share the same characteristic. The quality of the story matches the quality of the writing. If you get a really great story and great writing in the same novel then you get a winner! I’ll choose The Far Pavillions by M.M. Kaye as a prime example. And lastly, what do you think every good writer should avoid? Concentrating too much on the words and not enough on the story. Being too precious about their work.
That was marvellous, Helen, and best of luck with all your new ventures. Do come and chat with us another day.
Slick Deals TSAP Books
A child is kidnapped in Monaco.
The British government is about to license oil exploration in the Irish Sea. The only person to see a link is Ella Crossley, a young oil trader in London. But Ella doesn't want to get involved. She certainly doesn’t want to get involved with the irritating, American environmentalist Nick Jardine, uncle of the kidnapped child. But when the action moves from Monaco to London and then to West Wales and an attempt is made on her life, Ella discovers that the only people she can trust are a group of tepee dwelling eco warriors. And as she and Nick Jardine get closer to finding the hostages and to exposing a government licensing fraud so it becomes imperative for the perpetrators to stop them. Permanently.
To learn more about Helen and her work, you can find her here:
YouTube books video: http://is.gd/TqqynO
Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: email@example.com