Introducing Helena Fairfax
1. #IndieBookBanter today welcomes Helena Fairfax. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and the best place for us to find out more.
My name is Helena Fairfax. I was born in Uganda, where my parents were working as teachers, and came to live in Yorkshire as a child. Although I’ve moved around a lot since then – and worked abroad in Austria, France and Germany – Yorkshire has always felt like home. I lived in York as a child, went to university in Leeds, lived in Dewsbury for many years, and I’ve lived in Saltaire for six years now and I love it here.
I write romance/women’s fiction, and I find living near the moors is the perfect place for a romance writer. I walk my dog on the moors every day, and the peace and quiet, and watching the changing seasons and the wildlife, are all perfect for helping me mull over my characters and stories.
I’ve never been asked before what motivates me to write. It’s an interesting – and tough – question. I think it’s different with every story. I usually have an idea that I really want to develop, and once I start, my characters become real to me. I carry on writing because I feel as though I owe it to my characters now to make their story the best it can be, and to resolve everything for them. I hate to leave a story unfinished. Perhaps that sounds a bit strange, but as I’m writing, I’m not particularly conscious of writing to an audience. I’m thinking about my characters and their world. As soon as I do start thinking about someone reading the story, then my writing dries up and my characters start acting in a weird way!
It’s hard to think of an interesting secret something about myself. I spend most of my time at home, writing about characters who lead a lot more interesting life!
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2. Briefly tell us about your work in progress, what are you planning next?
I’ve just released a contemporary romance called ‘Felicity at the Cross Hotel’. This story is set in an old Tudor hotel which the hero, Patrick Cross, has just inherited. The hotel is ailing, and there are all sorts of problems besetting the staff, from a barmaid running away, to a bad-tempered chef, and an old family tragedy. When the heroine, Felicity Everdene arrives, she transforms the hotel – and the hero – by the sheer force of her personality. (Felicity means “happiness”, and I just loved the symbolism of the name, and of my heroine Felicity finally bringing happiness to a “cross” place.)
I’m now researching a non-fiction book called ‘The Lives of Women in Halifax 1850-1950.’ The book is due for release in 2018, to coincide with the centenary of the first women getting the vote.
3. What was the most unusual source of inspiration for any of your books?
I usually write contemporary romance, but I do have a series of novellas that are romantic suspense. The novella boxed set is called ‘A Year of Light and Shadows’. I had the idea for the series from watching an old cult classic film called The Prisoner of Zenda, starring James Mason (who I love!) I set my story in the fictional country of Montverrier, which I based on Monaco. I took a trip to the south of France once and I absolutely loved Monte Carlo and the Royal Palace there. The first story in the series is called ‘Palace of Deception’, and it features a doppelgänger plus plenty of dramatic romance and intrigue.
4. Who was your favourite character to write about?
I love all my characters. Most romance writers are in love with their heroes, and that’s true of me, but I think the hero I love the most is Léon in ‘A Year of Light and Shadows’. Some writers say that their characters surprise them. This had never happened to me until I created Léon. In the first story in the trilogy he’s a quiet character, but he goes on to reveal something about himself that I’d never guessed myself!
5. Finally you are invited on a mission to a New World (unfortunately you cannot take any members of your family, friends or pets). Please tell us:-
a) Your favourite fictional character to accompany you?
Oh, wow, what a difficult question again! I think I’d need someone brave and resourceful with me. Besides reading romance, I also love sci-fi, and the hero of ‘Return from the Stars’ by Stanislaw Lem, is one of my favourite heroes ever. I think I’d take Hal Bregg with me.
b) Your favourite book?
I have lots of favourite books, too! Perhaps I’d take ‘Pride and Prejudice’. If everything starts going wrong, it would be great to immerse myself in Lizzie Bennett’s world!
c) Your favourite song?
Purple Rain by Prince
d) Your favourite food & drink to take with you (we don’t know what will be available on the New World).
I’d take a supply of curry (I live near Bradford, after all!) from the Shimla Spice in Shipley, and a supply of Yorkshire tea bags.
e) Finally, tell us the one (Yes, that is just ONE) item you cannot live without?
I’d take either pen and paper or my laptop so I can keep writing.
Here are Helena’s books with a short description:-
Felicity at the Cross Hotel
Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel …
Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he’s forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.
With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?
A Way from Heart to Heart
Kate Hemingway’s life has been one of constant loss. When her husband dies in Afghanistan, it’s the final devastating blow. Kate builds a barrier around herself and her young son George, determined he’ll never suffer the pain she’s been through.
Paul Farrell is a war journalist. He’s aloof with his emotions but that suits Kate just fine. She has no intention of letting anyone ever get close.
But then Paul and George begin to form an unlikely bond, and Kate becomes terrified of risking her son’s happiness, as well as her own…
A touching and beautifully written story about the power and healing nature of love
A Year of Light and Shadows
Three sparkling stories of romance and mystery in one romantic suspense box set
Palace of Deception Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life in the Palace of Montverrier. Alone and surrounded by intrigue, Lizzie relies on her quiet bodyguard, Léon, to guide her. But who is he really protecting? Lizzie…or the Royal Princess?
The Scottish Diamond Back home in Scotland Lizzie begins rehearsals for Macbeth – and finds danger stalking her through the streets of Edinburgh. Lizzie turns to her former bodyguard, Léon, for help…and discovers a secret he’d do anything not to reveal.
A Question at Hogmanay The New Year means new resolutions. Lizzie and Léon have put their year of danger behind them, but something still troubles Léon – and Lizzie fears the worst…
One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Kurt certainly looks every inch the cowboy hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the logical world of finance – and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers.
But when Kurt hires Penny to help refurbish his Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before the logical heart he has guarded so carefully is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…
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