I’m writing this post to let you know my publishers have made my novel A Way from Heart to Heart free on Amazon until May 9th 2017. If you haven’t already read my contemporary romance, here is the link to download a free copy while you can on Amazon Kindle. * (*I’m very sorry that the book is not free on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca. I wish I could make it free in those stores, but unfortunately this is totally out of my hands since my publisher sold the North American rights. This is something I’m not very happy about :( If it does become free in North America, I will add another post on my blog.)
To celebrate the “free weekend” (in most countries), I’m reposting here an interview I had with a lovely Indian book blogger called Aditi Saha. Aditi got in touch with me through my contact page, telling me how she loved the sound of my book, and asking if she could review it. I love to hear from readers, and it was brilliant that Aditi enjoyed my book so much. You can find Aditi’s review here, and her original interview here on her website.
I’m reposting the full interview and Aditi’s thoughtful questions. I hope you enjoy it …and enjoy the free read!
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Interview on Book Stop Corner
Good afternoon folks,
Aditi: Hello and welcome to my blog, Helena. Congratulations on your book, A Way From Heart to Heart. Can you please share with us the story behind the book, A Way From Heart to Heart?
Helena: Thanks so much for having me, Aditi. It’s lovely to be here!
A Way from Heart to Heart is the story of a young widow, Kate Hemingway, who is trying to rebuild her life after her photographer husband is killed in Afghanistan. The hero, Paul Farrell, is the reserved, distant friend of her husband’s, and godfather to Kate’s son George. Paul and George form an unlikely bond, and through the course of the story, Kate comes to realise that there’s far more to Paul than she realized.
Aditi: What inspired you to pen this heart-touching story, A Way From Heart to Heart?
Helena: There were several things that sparked off my story. I once spent a week on the Yorkshire moors (the setting for A Way from Heart to Heart) with a group of disadvantaged teenagers from an industrial city in Germany. The teenagers had never been in the countryside before, and it was a pleasure to see how much they enjoyed the freedom. I recreated this experience in my novel.
I wanted to give a voice to people like these young teenagers, who are so rarely heard, and so I created my heroine, Kate, who comes from a troubled background. Kate works for a charity supporting disadvantaged teenage girls.
Another incident that inspired me was watching the film Love, Actually. There is a scene where the actress Keira Knightley gets married and discovers that her husband’s best man has secretly been in love with her for years. I thought the best man in this film was a strong character. I wanted to know what happened to him, and so he became the influence behind Paul Farrell, the hero of A Way from Heart to Heart.
Aditi: How will you describe your journey of writing the book, A Way From Heart to Heart, like how did you research for this book? Did you too travel extensively like your protagonist?
Helena: There were a few elements in the book that required extensive research. First of all, the setting in the Yorkshire moors. I’m lucky to live very near the Yorkshire moors – the home of the Brontë sisters – and so this part of the research was quite easy for me. I visited quite a few farms, like the one Kate and her teenagers visit. I learned a lot about sheep farming!
Kate lives in London, which is also a city I know well. I live in the north of England, and London is around three hours away by train. One of my daughters lives in London, and I’ve visited a lot over the years. It’s a crowded and busy city, and a good contrast to the Yorkshire moors, where half the story is set.
Like Kate, I’ve also traveled quite extensively, mainly in Europe. I’ve worked in Austria, Germany and France, but I’ve also visited family in New York, Ecuador and the Caribbean. I plan to visit my oldest daughter next year, who lives in New Zealand, and I hope to do some research for a story set in that country, which will be fun.
I’ve never been to India, though, and I would absolutely love to visit some day. There are many parts of India that would be wonderful for the setting of a novel. I’d love to get the chance to see them.
Aditi: Tell us one trait of each Kate and Paul that intrigues you the most.
Helena: Difficult question! They both have a lot of traits I admire. Kate’s upbringing has made her tough and resilient, for example, and, despite his upper-class education, Paul never judges people by their background, but by who they are as a person.
There is one trait that unites them both, though, and that is loyalty. They are both loyal to the memory of Stuart (Kate’s husband and Paul’s friend). Kate is also loyal to her own best friend, Orla, and Paul is loyal to Kate, swearing to look out for her no matter what happens.
Aditi: What did you expect your readers to get away with after reading the book, A Way From Heart to Heart?
Helena: I wanted readers to come away thinking of the Afghan saying that forms the title of the book: “There is a way from heart to heart.” To me, the saying means that people can always find a way to love one other, no matter what their differences. It doesn’t matter what culture or background people come from, our hearts are the same, and we have the same desires. If we try hard enough, we can find a way to understand and love one another.
Aditi: How will you describe your journey so far as an author? Was it always your one true dream to be an author?
Helena: I did always dream of being an author as a child. In a way, I wish I’d started writing much sooner, but I never had enough confidence. Now I’d say to anyone who wants to write – just do it!
Aditi: Tell us about your passions apart from writing. And which is your favorite contemporary romance book?
Helena: My main passion is reading. I moved house recently, to a smaller house, and I had to get rid of a lot of books. I could only take with me books that I loved – the sort of books that have become “old friends” – but even so, I still have a bookcase that covers an entire wall! I love to visit bookshops, and only wish there were enough hours in the day to read more.
That’s a very difficult question about my favourite contemporary romance novel. There are a lot of authors whose novels I love, including Liz Fielding, Jessica Hart, Fiona Harper, Barbara Hannay…the list goes on! There’s one author of contemporary romance – or rather contemporary romantic suspense – whose books I read and reread, and that is Mary Stewart. Madam, Will You Talk? is one of my favourite ever romances.
(Georgette Heyer is my favourite ever romance author, but she wrote historical romance, not contemporary.)
Aditi: How will you describe your normal writing day? And what do you do to get away from the stress of a long day’s work?
Helena: My normal working day starts by taking my dog for a long walk on the moors near where I live. (She’s a
rescue dog, and prefers to be far from other people and dogs.) Walking the dog is a great time for me to think about my characters and my plots, and dogs are the prefect pets to help with stress. No matter what the weather, she is always happy and excited :)
After our walk, I answer emails, etc, and then I write for as long as I can, until my brain feels like it’s drying up. When that happens, I do some housework, and then I go back to it. I’m quite a slow writer, and I think about every word, so my brain dries up quite easily! It’s my dream to become a faster writer.
Aditi: What’s next up on your writing sleeves? Please share with us briefly about it.
Helena: My next project is a romantic suspense novella which I’ll be releasing at the end of June / beginning of July. It’s called Summer in the Palace of Deception, and is set in a fictional principality in southern Europe, where all is not what it seems. It involves a heroine who is acting the role of Princess, her bodyguard, and a creepy housekeeper who I modelled on Mrs Danvers in Rebecca. It was a lot of fun to write!
Aditi: Once again thank you so much for joining me today in this interview session. I wish you luck for all your future endeavors.
Helena: Thank you for your thoughtful questions, Aditi. It was a pleasure being interviewed by you. Best wishes to you.
Read the review of A Way from Heart to Heart