romance novels

My favourite interview questions

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know every Tuesday I interview an author. We generally sit and have a chat over a pot of tea by the fire, or, if the weather’s warm, we head outside to my back yard with the dog and take our tea out there. I’ve really enjoyed our chats, and I’ve got to know authors from lots of different countries, backgrounds and genres.

What you may not know is that I’ve been interviewed myself many times now, on lots of different blogs around the world. I thought for a change I would be the interviewee here on my own blog. I’ve picked out a few of my favourite interview questions over the years, and I’m reproducing them again here. (After having this idea, I realised perhaps it might sound weird to be sort of interviewing myself… but in any case – here’s me!)

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the silk romance, helena fairfax, romance novel, romantic, france, silk, weaving, lyon
My first romance novel – so excited to see this cover!

Have you always gravitated towards being an author? My first romance novel was published in 2013, and in answer to your question “have you always gravitated toward being an author” –  yes! I’d always wanted to be a published author. Other kids dream of being actors or ballet dancers or football players, but right from being a child, I longed to have a book with my name on it.

A lot has happened since my childhood, and it took a long while to make the dream come true, but now it has, and it’s the best feeling of achievement I ever had.

What is your latest book about? Was it inspired by a certain event/person/memory, etc? The title of my latest release, A Way from Heart to Heart, is taken from an Afghan proverb, “There is a way from heart to heart”. My story is about a young widow who loses her husband to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. She sees all her ties with loved ones unravel around her, and becomes withdrawn and over-protective of her young son. The hero, an upper-class journalist, is the last person you would expect to break through her barriers – but the Afghan proverb holds true.

helena fairfax, exter novel prize
Halstead Fort, Hadrian’s Wall

What genres have you written besides romance, if any? Is there a genre you haven’t tried yet but want to in the future? I would love to write a timeslip novel, and in fact I have written the first couple of chapters of a story about a soldier on Hadrian’s Wall in Roman Britain. I visited Hadrian’s Wall last year. It’s a magical landscape that made a big impression on me.

(Since answering this question I received the exciting news that my idea and my opening chapters for a YA timeslip novel set around Roman Britain have been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize. The award ceremony takes place in the lovely city of Exeter in Devon on 28th March, and I will be travelling down with my family. Watch this space!)

What are some of your hobbies when you are not chained to the computer? I live in the north of England, near the Yorkshire moors. This is the landscape made famous by Wuthering Heights. Every morning I walk my dog on the moors for an hour. I love to see the changing landscape, from the purple heather of summer to the virgin white snow of winter, stretching to the horizon. My dog loves it, too – only she’s more interested in chasing the wildlife!

the antique love, helena fairfax, romance novel, seting londonWhat are your favourite types of characters to write about? I love to write my heroes! Someone once said that every romance author should be in love with her hero, and that’s definitely true for me :) The final scene of my last novel, The Antique Love, was voted “Most Romantic Love Scene Ever” by Love Romances and More readers, and a reader said of the hero, “Oh, my, swoon!” That made my day.

What is your beverage of choice while writing? Tea! We British are famous for our tea drinking, although actually I think it’s more common in Ireland. My family is Irish originally, and my Irish grandmother drank lots of tea. She lived to ninety-five, and I always claim it was her plentiful pots of tea that did it!

What book are you reading now? The book I’m reading now is amazing. It’s not a romance; it’s a true story about South Korean identical twin girls. It’s called Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited, by Anaïs Bordier and Sam Futerman.

It tells the incredible story about how, in their twenties, the girls discovered each other via the internet, even though one had been brought up in France and one in the US. It’s a really touching story. I can highly recommend it.

What projects are you working on? At the moment I’m working on a contemporary romance, set in the Lake

The Lake District: setting for my next novel
The Lake District: setting for my next novel

District, in the north of England. A few weeks ago I travelled to the Lakes to do some research into freshwater diving (my hero is a diver). The divers at the local dive club performed a dive into one of the lakes especially. It was a great day…and the location is stunning. The perfect backdrop to a love story.

If you had three things on your writing desk at any given moment what are they? My e-reader, a photo of my children…and a cup of tea!

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I hope you enjoyed my questions – and my photos!

If you’re a reader, do you enjoy getting to know your favourite authors through author interviews? If you’re an author, do you have a favourite question that you’ve been asked? What questions do you get tired of answering (if any)?

If you have any questions or comments at all, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

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15 thoughts on “My favourite interview questions

  1. Hadrian’s Wall is a place I have always wanted to visit! What a great idea for a book. Best of luck with it! (And interviewing yourself is not strange at all so long as you keep switching seats,)

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    1. Hi Ken, I hope you do get to visit one day. It’s fascinating to experience how the wall has become part of the landscape, still evident after thousands of years, The might of Imperial Rome must have been a terrifying thing.
      I’ll remember your tip to keep switching seats! Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment

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  2. Helena, I didn’t think it was odd at all to interview yourself. You picked really cool questions and of course, had great answers. While time slip novels are not my favorite, I found it fascinating that you could be up for an award without having finished the novel! That is freaking awesome! But then, you do string words together really well. :) Best wishes to you for that and for all your endeavors, which you seem to be juggling a lot of right now. Loved the lake district pictures. Will look forward to that book especially. I’ll share. :)

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    1. Hi Marsha, for the award we had to submit the first 10,000 words plus a synopsis. There are lots of great things about this contest. The agent judging it (Broo Doherty) is one of the best in the business and I can’t wait to meet her. Also, we could receive a critique of our opening chapters if we paid a little extra. The critique was well worth the money! Finally, my novel would entail a LOT of research and I wanted to know if it was worth carrying on before I committed myself. Being shortlisted has given me a reason and the confidence to continue. So I think it’s been a great competition for me personally – even if I haven’t actually finished the novel. Thanks so much for your kind words in your comment, and for sharing. I much appreciate it. Thanks!

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  3. How original to interview yourself, Helena! I wish you good luck in Exeter. How exciting it is to actually be there when they announce the results. Bonne chance!

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    1. Merci, Marie! I’ll take some photos when I am there. I’m looking forward. Even though it’s a long journey, it will be good to go, as my step-daughter lives in Exeter, too. I’m looking forward to seeing her! Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Helena, what a lovely idea, a blog on your favorite interview questions. I may borrow your idea someday. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve always wanted to be a published author. You have much to be proud of in achieving your goal, your novels, your awards. I wish you continued success.

    Susan

    (We have photos of Hadrian’s Wall. I’m drinking tea as I write this. :) )

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    1. Hi Susan, I’m so glad you thought it was a good idea. I wondered at first if it might sound a little strange! And how cool that you have photos of Hadrian’s Wall. It’s a magical place. Thanks so much for your comment. Hope you enjoy your tea – I’m drinking a cuppa too!

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  5. Loved reading your answers, Helena – and wishing you all the luck in the world with your time-slip. Well done for being shortlisted! Enjoy Exeter – I visited there many years ago while holidaying in Devon (and saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed outdoors one evening!)

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  6. I don’t think it’s weird to interview yourself, but then again, I had never thought to do it. You are a trailblazer in this realm. I enjoyed it so much, I may swipe this idea!! Congrats on the Exeter event and what an honor and privilege to attend. I am studying your beautiful photo of the Lake District.That’s where our friends go. I love seeing their photos too.

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    1. Hi JQ, feel free to swipe my idea! Susan has said that she might also follow suit, which would be awesome. We could call interviewing yourself “performing a Helena Fairfax Interview.” There, it has an official title now, and is no longer strange!
      The Lake District is beautiful, but as I mentioned to Marsha, they are more a set of large ponds compared to your lakes! Well worth a visit, though. I hope your friends enjoyed it, and that the rain held off for them. Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment!

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