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My contemporary romance A Way from Heart to Heart is released…today!

a way from heart to heart, helena fairfaxToday my contemporary romance, A Way from Heart to Heart, is released by Accent Presshooray! After all the hours of planning and thinking and agonising about my characters, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see my heroine and hero finally come alive as living and breathing creatures.

Now A Way from Heart to Heart is finally an actual book, I’ve been sorting through all my old writing notes and files and tidying everything away. It’s quite sad in a way for me, like saying goodbye to old friends, so I hope you’ll keep my characters alive by picking up or downloading a copy of my book, and bringing them back to life :)

I’m always amazed at the way people can grow out of a small idea in my head into characters I can finally actually see as “real” people, with all their own strengths and weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. As I was reading back through my notes for A Way from Heart to Heart, I found it strange to revisit how my ideas evolved into a finished book over the course of writing several drafts.

When I first start creating a character, for example, I’ll think of their physical appearance. This is

helena fairfax, a way from heart to heart
The Yorkshire moors: setting for A Way from Heart to Heart

the easy and fun part :). What I generally do is get an image in my head, either of someone well-known, or else someone I actually know in real life. As my characters gradually gain a life of their own, they morph in my mind, eventually turning into real people, with a physical appearance that is unique to them.

When I read back through my notes for A Way from Heart to Heart, I found I had plumped for two specific people for the main characters’ physical appearance. For the heroine, the image in my mind was of Agyness Deyn, who’s a British model. I don’t have the copyright to any images of her (I wish I did!), but you can see a photo of her here. She’s very attractive, as you can see. I thought hard about having a heroine who looked this good. Sometimes a heroine who is too beautiful can be off-putting to a reader, but I didn’t think this would matter too much, as right from the very first page my heroine has serious troubles.

For my hero, the image I had in my mind was of Daniel Day-Lewis . Well, he’s a good-looking guy…and most of my readers have no objection to that! :)

Like I said, by the time I’d written The End, these two characters had taken on their own appearance, but basing their looks on recognisable people when I was first dreaming them up helped me keep their characteristics in focus, until they began to take on a life of their own.

You might still recognise odd snatches of the original role models, though, like in this piece of dialogue:

helena fairfax, a way from heart to heart
Sunny day on the moors

‘Paul, wait.’ He looked down in surprise at the hand on his jacket, and she withdrew it swiftly. ‘I mean, have you got a minute? There’s something I’d like to ask you.’

‘Is everything all right?’ He turned back, searching her face.

‘Yes, it’s –’ She broke off, waving her hand in the air. ‘Oh, come inside for a minute, Paul, for goodness sake. You make me nervous.’

There was a flash of vivid green, and Paul stared at her fingernails. She snatched them down, curling them into her palm.

‘It was for a shoot yesterday,’ she said. ‘I just forgot to wipe it off.’

‘Ah.’ He glanced up at her. ‘Frozen pea ad?’

There was a taut silence. Kate’s heavy brows drew together. Then, despite herself, she began to chuckle. She’d forgotten how ridiculous Paul’s deadpan humour could be sometimes. She tilted her head back, gazing up at him in amusement, and wiggled her fingers in front of him. ‘It’s a new make-up range, Paul. People pay a fortune for this stuff.’

‘Really? Good Lord.’ Paul smiled back at her. The creases that ran either side of his mouth deepened attractively, and the colour of his eyes shifted to warm blue. It was such an unusual sight, Kate’s laughter died, and she found herself staring at him.

I wrote in a previous post about how I took my title and theme from an Afghan proverb, ‘There is a way from heart to heart.’ You can read that post and other details about the story here.

Here is the blurb:

After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Kate’s free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives – which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.

Reserved, ex-public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything.

But can Kate take a risk with her son’s happiness as well as her own?

Buy links: My publishers (Accent Press) make all releases exclusive to Amazon for the first ninety days, to take advantage of their Kindle Select program. You can purchase A Way from Heart to Heart in print or Kindle format on Amazon US and Amazon UK, or on their other regional sites. For readers who prefer to buy through iTunes or Kobo, or any of the other online retailers. it will be available in February 2015. So sorry for the wait. I’ll come back with the links when the time comes – and I hope it will be worth the wait!

I hope you’ve liked this small taster of A Way from Heart to Heart. If you have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

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18 thoughts on “My contemporary romance A Way from Heart to Heart is released…today!

  1. Aloha Helena! :-) Love it. And that cover is really brilliant! I like your excerpt too. You have a nice easy writing style, easy to read.

    Good luck with this. I think it will do well.

    Aloha and care Meg :-)

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  2. Know how you feel about characters… Drusilla marched into my head without subtlety or artifice and took up residence there for four years. Once all four novellas were finished, she retired to Avalon and sent me a postcard from Santa Monica!

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  3. Congratulations! Doin’a happy dance right here in my office for you. Really interesting about your characters morphing into individuals apart from the person or celebrity you base them on. How about choosing names for them? In my WIP I have changed almost everyone’s name as I wrote the story cause I guess I know them better. Loved your excerpt especially of Paul’s expression and his eyes changing. Interesting. Best wishes on your new release!!

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    1. Thanks very much, JQ! That’s interesting what you say about changing the characters’ names. I tried that once and found I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. It was like renaming one of my own children. Since finishing my book I’ve discovered there actually is a real Paul Farrell who is an Australian journalist for The Guardian. Well, if you’re reading this Mr Farrell – time to change your name! :) My Paul Farrell is staying!
      Loved your comment, JQ – thanks for taking the time to call in!

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  4. Good luck Helena. I’m sure it will be a great success. The story is great, and the characters very appealing. The cover looks beautiful too!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marie! Hard to believe we were having lunch in a pub last year in Hebden Bridge, swapping our opening chapters. Can’t wait for release of A Spell in Provence, too! Thanks for your lovely comment!

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  5. What a lovely post, Helena about your writing and your new book. I love how your characters come about.

    I truly understand how sad it is to put your old notes and writing aside and your characters. In my current WIP, I ended a main character’s part in the story. I cried after I did this. I was so shocked by my reaction. And I couldn’t take it any longer…lol… and so I had to put her back into the story. :)

    I wish you all the best for, A Way from Heart to Heart, your new print novel! Congratulations!
    Susan

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    1. What a lovely comment, Susan. I can so sympathise with your reaction to ending a character’s part in your story. It really made me smile that you had to bring her back! I can totally understand.
      Thanks very much for your well wishes – and best wishes to you on your new Kay Driscoll release!

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  6. Congratulations on your new release, Helena! I love the cover, and the playful font. The story sounds awesome, and I’ve added it to my TBR list. Wishing you tons of success and many happy readers!

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