Welcome, Helen, to Hound Day
By Jeff Salter
I love the weeks when we invite guest authors or review other books. Today, my guest is a cordial and talented colleague from Yorkshire, across the Atlantic — Helen Pollard. Tell you the truth, I don’t recall exactly how long I’ve known Helen, but we undoubtedly crossed paths at our publisher’s goings-on, if not on a blog before then. She has a terrific blog herself [check it out] and even hosted me about two months ago.
So, without further ado, here’s Helen to respond to my questions… followed by a bit about her newest book.
- Something I’ve noticed is your sense of humor. How would you describe it? How much a part of your daily life is humor?
[HP]: I think I’ve always used humour as a kind of defence mechanism for daily life – you know that old saying, ‘If you don’t laugh, you’d have to cry.’ I’m a born worrier, so humour is what gets me through – trying to see the funny side wherever I can. It also tends to be a rather self-deprecating kind of humour — since I have a tendency to take everything too seriously if I’m not careful, the least I can do is to not take myself too seriously!
- You’re a Yorkshire Lass. Have you ever visited America? Do you think the two cultures had a lot in common? What do we share besides language?
[HP]: No, I’ve only travelled in Europe. There are parts of America I would love to see, though. I suspect the two cultures have more in common than we realise. I think we certainly share a sense of a right to freedom, and both countries are of course multi-cultural, so hopefully a tolerance of other people and cultures.
- How on earth did you get hooked on American cop shows from the 1970s and 80s? What were your favorites and why?
[HP]: When I was a kid, my Dad used to go out on a Friday night, so my Mum and I would curl up and watch whatever was on TV. Cannon, Kojak, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O . . . I was madly in love with Starsky and Hutch! When we got into Petrocelli, I wanted to be a lawyer. Then Quincy, so I wanted to go into forensics (!) By the time I was in my teens, there was Magnum P.I. to drool over and Cagney & Lacey to look up to. What was not to like?
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[HP]: I’m very lucky, in that my husband is extremely supportive. He understands that I have a creative streak that needs an outlet. And my daughter loves writing too, so she very much understands. My son accepts it with stoicism! One of my brothers is a little bewildered by it, I think, as he is not a creative type at all, but he does his best to understand. Friends are still getting used to the idea – they are intrigued more than anything – but nobody has openly expressed anything negative about it, thankfully.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[HP]: I stopped writing as a hobby once I had two small children, and that continued for a long while (no time and too tired!) but a friend introduced me to card-making and scrapbooking which was a good creative outlet. I can’t draw for toffee, but I realised I do have an eye for the visual. Of course, since I took up writing again a few years ago, that’s gone by the wayside, but I still have all the stuff and would like to get into it again, given spare time . . .
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[HP]: I can honestly say, the genre and length of my new book! I very much enjoyed writing my first two romances, but this new release is quite different and very much in my ‘voice’. It is longer, chick lit / women’s fiction with a down-to-earth sense of humour. I concentrate very hard on the characterisation in my writing, so this book has given me more scope, with so many more characters to weave in. Also, my first two romances were sweet/clean, something which suited the storylines and characters of those particular books . . . whereas this new one is much cheekier and more irreverent, and was a lot of fun to write.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[HP]: I was particularly touched by a review from another UK author for my first romance, Warm Hearts in Winter. She had been saddened by the shootings in Paris before Christmas and wanted to retreat from social media and escape into a good book. She ended the review by saying, “I absolutely loved this book, and it came to me at just the right moment. In a sad world, it’s good to reflect on the power of love, and remember it’s never too late for a second chance.” I was touched to know that I had provided an uplifting read to someone just when they needed it most.
Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?
When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.
Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes [i.e., cottage] will help keep her mind off her misery.
Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.
Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?
Available for pre-order at 99 cents (publication date 28th April 2016): http://amzn.to/1T1m7BO
Any questions for Helen?
[JLS # 270]