Today I’m introducing an author I’ve met in real life. In fact, Helen Pollard and I met up again just last Saturday, along with a lovely group of authors who all live in t’north of England, and a fabulous time we had, talking about writing and all things romance. Helen’s a lovely person to be with, and I’m chuffed to be able to carry on the conversation today, and to find out more about her.
I’d say welcome to Yorkshire, Helen, but you already live here! So let’s just pour us a cup of tea and get started.
Where do you live, Helen? (Let’s pretend I don’t know :) ) I live in a large village (more a suburb, really) a few miles from Ilkley, Yorkshire. It’s only a train ride into Leeds, or a short car drive in the other direction to get out into the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Best of all worlds!
That’s very near me…and I agree!
Where is your favourite place in the world? That’s a hard one. I think I’ll say the Arnside and Silverdale area in Lancashire, in particular a lovely walk that starts from Silverdale, passes through farmland, woodland and then along the estuary coastline and back in a loop. I don’t know why, but I just love that particular walk and can’t wait to do it when we’re in that area.
That sounds like a walk my dog would love. I’ll check it out on my map.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I worked part-time in a fish & chip shop for quite a while when I was younger. The people I worked with were fun, but I burned my hand badly in the chip warmer, slipped on a pool of fat and cut my leg … plus, the grease permeates everything you wear and glues your contact lenses to your eyeballs. And those mushy pea and curry sauce pans are an utter nightmare to clean out at midnight!
I had a friend who worked in a chippie, too. She said exactly the same about the smell of grease, and she had burn marks all up her arms from where the fat used to spit out of the fryer. It makes you think twice about how hard people work when you call in for your fish supper.
What book do you wish you’d written? I’m going to cheat here and pick a film – sorry! The Four Seasons by Alan Alda (1981) – what a superb script, so natural, poignant and with many hidden little gems of wit. I would love to be able to write the book equivalent of that.
I don’t remember ever seeing that film. Now I really want to watch it!
What’s your favourite song? Anything by Jack Johnson, but if I had to pick, I’d go for Constellations on his In Between Dreams album. It’s like a sort of Valium for your ears and soul.
What a great way to describe it.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I’d love to speak to my late granddad again. He was such a laid-back character. I’d ask him why he couldn’t have passed on more of those easygoing, don’t-believe-in-stress genes to the rest of the family!
He sounds a great chap. Sounds like my Irish granddad. Good to have grandfathers remembered.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? I remember playing at shops in the park with my mum once. We didn’t often go there just the two of us without my brothers, so it seemed like a treat. My mum had an aneurysm when I was just eight years old and lost her speech and ability to walk. She had a very long recovery and was never quite the ‘same’. This memory is one of the few I have in my head from before that time.
I’m sorry to hear that about your mum. That’s a terribly bittersweet memory.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Maybe Mr J.L.B. Matekoni from Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series set in Botswana. He’s kind, loyal, conscientious, well-meaning, long-suffering … and I realise I’ve just described my own husband, bless him!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? It’s a cliché, I know, but you can never please all the people all the time. I’m still daft enough to try sometimes, but I tend to worry less about it as the years go by. Being comfortable in your own skin is important – I think I’m finally getting there.
Great lesson, especially as a writer.
And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website
The last thing they’re looking for is love …
Laura Matheson is a natural at avoiding romance, so when she is drawn to mystery guest Daniel Stone while helping out at her friends’ hotel in Portugal, she assumes all she needs is a little extra willpower.
Daniel is at the hotel on business. The demands of work and a manipulative ex-girlfriend mean he doesn’t have the time or energy for romance, but Laura is a distraction he finds hard to ignore.
As they negotiate a minefield of misunderstandings and mutual attraction, will they both continue to hold back? Or will they finally allow love into their lives?
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Thanks so much for dropping in, Helen. It was great to learn more about you. I love the premise of your novel. It sounds the perfect holiday read – especially as I look out on a wet, windy day in Yorkshire!
If you’ve enjoyed Helen’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!