Today we welcome Helen Pollard, who writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She firmly believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor – to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love … and we all need a little love, right?
A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers. They share space with a Jekyll and Hyde cat that alternates between being obsessively affectionate and viciously psychotic. Antiseptic cream is always close at hand.
When Helen’s not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.
Helen, you sound like me, except my teenagers are my grandchildren. Is your writing area like mine, too?What does it look like?
A mess! I have a computer desk and work desk in the attic – but of course that’s where we dump everything that needs to be sorted out until we have time to deal with it … and then we never find time. I’m a naturally tidy person, so if I look around me at the heaps of goodness-knows-what, it drives me mad!
I imagine you don’t see it at all when you are writing. Speaking of imagination, how do you come up with titles and character names?
I find titles quite hard, actually. With Warm Hearts in Winter, even when I’d finished the book, everything I thought of seemed to have been used before! In the end, I went for something that gives the reader a clear idea of what they’re getting (with a little alliteration for good measure!)
Character names are easier – once I have the character in my head, I choose a name to suit and then try to stick with it. I hate it when I have to change a character’s name for some reason later on, because by then I feel it’s an intrinsic part of them.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Believe in your work, but be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and try to improve on them. Also, know that getting published doesn’t end when you get a contract – there’s a whole world of marketing, social media, blogging etc. that goes with it.
So true! I wonder how Jane Austen would deal with all that! What author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?
Alexander McCall Smith. His books are so gentle, yet so wise.
I enjoy reading about the Lady’s Detective Agency. Botswana is the only place in Africa I’d like to visit, even though I know Precious is a fictional character. She is truly unique. What is something unique about you that others don’t know?
I’m a Virgo with an Aquarius ascendant (someone once drew up my astrology chart). So basically that means I’m self-critical and pedantic, with a creative rebellious streak. Not an easy combination to live with!
Contradictory, to say the least! What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?
I love losing myself in spreadsheets, so I do all the household budgets and banking. I think I like the logic – although it’s probably also an avoidance technique to keep me from doing all the things I ought to be doing, like writing or cleaning!
Ugh, spreadsheets and cleaning, my two least favorite occupations. Let’s change the subject. Pick at least three of the favorites below and answer with one word:
What is your favorite:
Animal — Tiger
Season — Autumn
Food — Chocolate
Movie — Some Like It Hot
Music — Jack Johnson
Place you’ve visited — Switzerland
Platce you’d like to visit — Italy
Well, I’ve been to Italy, but not Switzerland. Maybe some day… Please tell us about Warm Hearts in Winter.
Forced by circumstance into the world of temping, when Abby Davis accepts an assignment in the wilds of Yorkshire as personal assistant to a widowed novelist, she assumes he is an ageing recluse.
Thirty-something Jack Blane is anything but. Still struggling to get his life and writing career back on track three years after his wife’s death, Jack isn’t ready for a breath of fresh air like Abby.
Snowed in at his winter retreat on the moors, as the weeks go by and their working relationship becomes friendship and maybe more, Abby must rethink her policy of never getting involved with someone at work … and Jack must decide whether he is willing to risk the pain of love a second time.
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/B-N-WarmHeartsInWinter
Thank you for coming by, Helen.
Find out more about Helen at:
Website & Blog: www.helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com