Getting to Know the Author: Helena Fairfax

HeartHelena Farfax photo
Welcome, Helena. Let’s get to know more about you …

Hi Glynis, and thanks for having me on your super blog!

What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I chose to write contemporary romance novels because it’s my favourite genre to read. Quite simply, there’s nothing better than travelling that emotional journey towards a happy ending – and in the arms of a gorgeous hero, too!

Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
I’m not clever enough to do that. I once had to edit a manuscript whilst working on a totally different story, and I kept getting confused!

Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I wrote my first novel, The Silk Romance, through the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. Their guidance and critique helped me enormously. I’d love to join a romance writers’ group, but can’t find any near where I live (near Bradford). If anyone knows of any such group, please let me know!

Can you remember your first reading book?
My first reading books were Ladybird books, which I loved. The first book which got me hooked on reading was Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Jane Gardam. It’s a brilliant book, and I still have my battered copy.

Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
Not particularly snacks, but I do drink copious amounts of tea! Everyone in my family is a massive tea drinker. I put it down to our Irish heritage.

Good old cuppa, it gets us through the day!

Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
I don’t really like sitting at a desk – it reminds me too much of the times I did “proper” jobs in an office. I sit in an armchair with my laptop, and my notes spread round me.

The Silk Romance 333x500Are you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.
The Silk Romance was published by MuseItUp Publishing, as is my second novel, The Antique Love, which will be released in September. I will be submitting my third to Muse, too – when I finally finish it!

Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
The obvious choices for a contemporary romance writer. Jane Austen, because she wrote the perfect romance in Pride and Prejudice. Then Georgette Heyer, whose novels have just the right mix of light-heartedness and emotional involvement, and whose dialogue is always superb. I can read her novels again and again.
Then maybe a slightly less obvious choice is Patrick O’Brian, author of the Stephen Maturin/Jack Aubrey series of novels, which are set at sea in the eighteenth century. Those books have everything: brilliant characterisation, witty dialogue, excellent historical research, fascinating accounts of life aboard ship, and of the wildlife encountered at sea. All this, plus romance and cracking adventure.

What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript
The best piece of advice I received from the NWS was to make the emotional conflict between the hero and heroine the key. This is the building block to the whole story. I like to focus on this first. Basically I decide first what it is that is keeping the characters apart, despite their love for each other, and then build the rest of the story outwards from there.

If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
That’s a difficult question – although it would be awesome if I ever got asked it for real  The hero of The Silk Romance is French, and my absolute favourite French actor is Romain Duris. For the heroine – since this isn’t actually for real – I think a young and gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor would be perfect.

I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
My every day supermarket tale involves my son – not myself – but it’s such a great story I’ll retell it here! When he was in the sixth form, my son had a Saturday job working on the checkout at a local supermarket. One day he was working on the till for “10 items or less”. A tall guy approached, pushing a trolley absolutely packed with goods – way more than ten. The guy had a baseball cap pulled down, hiding his face. He proceeded to unload his shopping onto the conveyor belt. My son pointed out politely that this checkout was for ten items only. The customer looked up and apologised in a most charming manner, and began putting everything back in his trolley. He had a deep, well-modulated voice recognisable throughout the galaxy. My son realised he had turned away none other than – Patrick Stewart. Who was just doing his weekly shop. As you do, when you’re a captain in Star Fleet Command!

Great tale, thanks for sharing!

My first novel, The Silk Romance, was released in May by MuseItUp Publishing.
Here’s the blurb!
Jean-Luc Olivier is a courageous racing driver, a hero to millions, with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.
Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.
Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.
The Silk Romance is available as an e-book from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon US, Amazon UK. Barnes & Noble. Kobo and other e-tailers.
Author bio
Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country. She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every day—one of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants. When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories. Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life.
You can find Helena on her blog:
on Goodreads , on Facebook or on Twitter @helenafairfax

Thanks for being such a courteous hostess, Glynis. I enjoyed your questions very much!
You are most welcome, Helena. Thanks for sharing your writing life with my us all.

About Glynis Peters Author

I write Historical saga style novels featuring mystery and romantic twists. HarperCollins/HarperImpulse publishers of my novel, The Secret Orphan. I live in the UK, in a coastal town in Essex. When I am not writing, I enjoy making greetings cards, Cross Stitch, fishing and the company of my little granddaughters. I also write Victorian novels under my own name, Glynis Smy,
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1 Response to Getting to Know the Author: Helena Fairfax

  1. A pleasure to meet you, Helena.

    Jane Austen and Patrick O’Brien are certainly two very different literary influences!

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