Henriette writes dark, romantic suspense novels and loves giving troubled characters a happy ending. She also assists with the annual RoNA Awards, and is a member of the Historical Novel Society. Welcome to the Blog, Henriette, do tell us what was the first thing you ever wrote, and did it launch your career?
As a child I was always making up stories, to the extent that I sometimes didn't know where reality ended and fiction began. This got me into a lot of trouble, so my mother suggested I write down my tall tales instead. The result was a 12 page picture book about two orphans girls who run away to Egypt but just happen to be adopted by a lovely new family they meet on the Orient Express. And, er, no, it didn't launch my career.
Were you in the NWS before getting published, and did you find it helpful?
I was in the NWS for about 12 years before I found a publisher, and the advice and support has been invaluable. The lovely readers taught me that even made-up stuff needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, not to mention believable characters, good dialogue, and proper spelling and punctuation. Perhaps this sounds a bit like Creative Writing 101, but one thing is knowing this, another is when a helpful person points you in the right direction. I'm eternally grateful.
So what do you think was the special ingredient of your new novel which caused it to be picked up?
Hard to say. Because I write romantic suspense, my work is a hybrid of the crime and romance genres, but I also throw a few other elements into the mix – social topics, political comment, difficult personal issues. Plus, my characters tend to be quite secretive. I'm hoping that these aspects combined make up that literary umami which may appeal to readers!
Writers are always asked where they find their ideas. Would you like to share any tips with us on how you find your inspiration?
|Henriette's Ideas Box|
How would you describe your book? What did you enjoy most about writing it? And which part created the most problems?
As I mentioned above, my book is part crime, part romance, and what I enjoyed most about writing it was the North Norfolk setting, which almost became a character in its own right. The most difficult thing to write were the emotional scenes because I became deeply affected by the characters' feelings. This surprised me – I thought I could separate myself from my characters, but clearly not.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don't give up. Believe in yourself, even when people tell you to get a proper job, and that you're just “throwing good money after bad”. You're pursuing a dream. So what if they' think you're a saddo just because you haven't been published yet? You'd be far more of a saddo if you didn't even try.
Which character from your book would you most like to trade lives with?
None of them! I make it my mission to keep my characters in the crucible for as long as possible, so I really wouldn't want to be in their shoes.
What should every good writer avoid?
Mmm, lots of things, I suppose. Not take ourselves too seriously, perhaps...?
Have you ever won or been short-listed in any competitions or awards, and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
|Henriette's FoR Award|
So what next? Can you tell us a little about your work in progress?
My next book, entitled THE ELEPHANT GIRL, which will be published in July 2013. It's the story of a woman who, as a young child, witnessed the murder of her mother. 20 years later she begins to question what she actually saw and whether she might have been an unreliable witness.... Oh, and there's a smashing hero in it!
Too close for comfort…
When Dr Lia Thompson’s grandmother dies unexpectedly, Lia is horrified to have to leave her life in America and return to a cold and creaky house in Norfolk. But as events unfold, she can’t feeling that there is more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye.
Aidan Morrell is surprised to see Lia, his teenage crush, back in town. But Aidan’s accident when serving in the navy has scarred him in more ways than one, and he has other secrets which must stay hidden at all costs, even from Lia.
As Lia comes closer to uncovering the truth, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust?
Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today Henriette, it’s been fascinating. We wish you every success with your book.Best wishes, Freda
Henriette’s Website: http://henriettegyland.wordpress.com
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