I am delighted to welcome
Helena ~ welcome to Jaffareadstoo and thank you for telling us all about your latest novel,
A Way from Heart to Heart
Thanks for inviting me today, Jo!
Helena, where did the idea for A Way from Heart to Heart come from?
It’s a couple of years since I started writing this novel. I was asked this question recently, and I really had to think hard - until I remembered! One of the seeds of inspiration came from watching the film Love, Actually. There’s a scene where Keira Knightley discovers her husband’s best man has been secretly in love with her for years. I remember thinking what incredible strength of character the friend must have had to keep his love secret all that time. When the best man disappears from the film I wondered what happened to him. Where did he go? Did he love again?
What can you tell us about A Way from Heart to Heart that won't give too much away?
There is a way from heart to heart is an Afghan proverb I discovered whilst researching this novel. The saying is perfect for my title. I wanted to write a story that shows love of all kinds – between parent and child, between best friends, between lovers, and the intensity of teenage love. I wanted to show that people have an incredible gift for reaching out in love to one another, across all ages and cultures.
Do you write with a particular audience in mind?
That’s a great question. I’ve really had to think hard about that one! I guess when I first have an idea for a story, it’s something I personally want to tell. Of course as I write the story down, I have to think of my audience. I have to write in a way that I know will engage readers, that will make people identify with my characters, and that will make them want to keep turning the pages.
I don’t have a particular audience in mind, though, and I find it a shame that there are categories such as “women’s fiction” or “chick-lit,” as it puts many men off from reading novels that are character-driven and about relationships. The men I know who have read my books – and who would never otherwise have picked up this type of novel – have been surprised at how much they’ve enjoyed them. My husband even missed his stop on the train because he was so engrossed!
Do you write the type of books you like to read and which authors have influenced you?
I do love to read stories with an uplifting ending, and so the answer would be yes, I write the type of books I like to read! I read prolifically – everything from sci-fi and crime to graphic novels. As far as women’s fiction or romance goes, it would be so hard to choose one author over another as an influence, because collectively they’ve had a massive effect. I love Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen, Sue Moorcroft, Jennifer Crusie, Kristan Higgins, Courtney Milan, Adele Parks, Fiona Harper, Liz Fielding, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Colleen McCullough, Catherine Gaskin, Angela Thirkell…The list goes on and on!
When do you find the time to write, and do you have a favourite place to do your writing?
I try and write for a couple of hours every day. If I can’t manage that much, then even just half an hour or a snatched few minutes here and there. I’m a very slow writer, though, and have made a resolution this year to try and increase my word count.
My favourite place to write is sitting on my settee, with my dog asleep next to me. It’s very peaceful then – unless the postman knocks on the door. Then my dog goes ballistic!
Can you tell us if you have another novel planned?
I’m working on a contemporary romance set in the Lake District. My hero has inherited an ailing hotel by the side of a lake. An old tragedy dogs the business, but when my heroine arrives, with her cheerfulness and enthusiasm she begins to sweep away the bad feeling and turn the hotel’s fortunes around. Unfortunately, her unscrupulous father has plans of his own for the hotel. The hero’s trust, and the heroine’s loyalties, are tried to the hilt.
You can find Helena on her website here
Facebook Helena Fairfax
My review of A Way from Heart to Heart is here.
Thanks again for hosting me, Jo, and for being such a lovely hostess. I've much enjoyed answering your thought-provoking questions!
Helena thanks so much for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.
Jaffa and I wish you continued success.