Friday, November 21, 2014

Helena Fairfax: Suffering from green shock!

It’s a great pleasure to welcome Helena Fairfax to the blog today,

Many years ago I spent a week in a hostel in the middle of the Yorkshire moors with a group of teenagers from an industrial city in Germany. They were on an exchange with a group of English lads from a similar urban environment. All had spent their teenage years in difficult, sometimes extremely tough circumstances, and were from various different ethnic heritages, ranging from Turkey to Korea. One thing these lads all had in common, though: they’d all been born and bred in a city.
I remember sitting in the coach with them on the way from Leeds/Bradford airport, watching them gaze out at the rolling heather, the moors stretching into the distance, all greens and purples, with not a bar, or a café, or a MacDonalds in sight.
One of the Germans murmured, with his face pressed to the window: ‘Ich habe Grün-Schock.’ Literally: I’m suffering from green shock. What a great expression!
Over the years I’ve thought a lot about that week on the moors, and last year I began to turn the experience into a story. I thought up a heroine who is a Londoner. Kate Hemingway, born Katerina Rudecka, spent time living homeless as a teenager and now volunteers with teenage girls, helping them in their turn to mend their broken lives.
I wondered how it would be if I took Kate and her group of London teenagers away from the city and into the middle of the Yorkshire moors. And then I wondered how it would be if they had a journalist accompanying them - someone from a completely different background; male, upper-class, and (outwardly, at least) appearing to have all the advantages a public-school education can offer. So, a completely random group of people, brought together out of the city and surrounded by sheep and moorland for a week. How would they all get on?
One of the teenagers in my novel is from Afghanistan, and I took the theme of my story from an old Afghan proverb: ‘There is a way from heart to heart.’ My story is filled with differences in culture: between town and country, between East and West, between rich and poor. And yet despite all these differences, where basic emotions are concerned, the human heart is the same the world over, with the same capacity for love. At the core of my novel is a romance (of course!), but it also deals with the love between best friends, between families, and with the intensity of teenage love. ‘There is a way from heart to heart’ is the positive, uplifting message I wanted to leave readers with at the end of my novel. I hope I’ve succeeded!

A Way from Heart to Heart was released by Accent Press on 18th November.

After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Her free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives - which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.
Reserved, public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t.  But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything, and leaves Kate torn.
Can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?

Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Happy endings are her favourite, and when one of her novels won a reader competition for "The Most Romantic Love Scene Ever" it made her day.
Helena 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 has turned to writing full-time. She 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.

A Way from Heart to Heart is available on:

Follow Helena:
Twitter: @helenafairfax

Thanks so much for having me, Elaine and Natalie!

A pleasure, Helena!

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Marie Laval said...

What a lovely post, Helena. I can well imagine how odd and unsettling it must be for people living in grey, harsh and noisy cities to find themselves surrounded by miles and miles of empty moorland. I do find the Afghan saying beautiful. You were right to make it the title of your novel! I wish you plenty of success with your story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Marie! Yes, the group were tough young men, but they were scared of the sheep! :) Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment.