Today we’re pleased to welcome Helena Fairfax to the 20QS spotlight.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name’s Helena Fairfax, and I write – and love to read! – contemporary romance. I live in Yorkshire, in the north of England, very near where the Brontë sisters used to live, which is a wonderful location for a romance writer. I have a rescue dog, and our walks on the moors every day are the perfect time for me to think up my new stories.
My first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme Award, and a runner-up in the Global E-book Awards. My latest full-length novel, A Way from Heart to Heart, was a HEA USA Today recommended read, and I was recently shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize for a manuscript I’m working on.
I love to hear from readers, and when a reader writes to tell me how much she’s enjoyed one of my books, it means more than anything else.
In my spare time, I love to knit. I’m knitting for my first grandchild at the moment, and I’m very excited about it! I l once also knitted a complete Royal Wedding – including corgis!
My latest release is a romantic suspense novella called Palace of Deception, and it was published on August 2. When Princess Charlotte, heir to the throne of Montverrier, goes missing in mysterious circumstances, Lizzie Smith is the actress who is asked to take her place. Montverrier is a beautiful country near the Mediterranean, but Lizzie finds there are sinister goings-on in the palace. Her only friend is her quiet bodyguard, Léon. But can he be trusted?
Palace of Deception has received some lovely reviews so far, including this one that I loved: “With admirable mastery of her story and its form, author Helena Fairfax keeps us guessing, keeps us holding our breath, keeps us hoping.”
3. Please share a little about your previous books.
I have three full-length stories published, all contemporary romances. The Silk Romance is set in Lyon, France, with a gorgeous French hero; The Antique Love is set in an antique shop in London, and A Way from Heart to Heart is set on the Yorkshire moors. All romantic locations, for romantic stories!
4. Have you always written in the romance genre? If not, what else have you written?
The romance genre is my favourite genre, and so far the only one I’ve written in. I have a young adult story in mind, though, which is more of a time-slip adventure story – but there will also be a strong hint of romance!
5. What or who inspired you to be a writer?
I read all the time as a child, and I was inspired by all the many children’s authors I read who showed me how wonderful it is to immerse yourself in a make-believe world.
6. Where in the world are you?
Right now I’m sitting on my sofa in my front-room, in a terraced house in the north of England, on a cold and windy day.
7. What do you love best about being a writer?
I love to create characters I can fall in love with, and a world where my heroes and heroines can get the happy ending they deserve.
8. What’s the biggest challenge being a writer?
Nowadays the biggest challenge is marketing your book once it’s published. I’d sooner be writing!
9. What’s your favorite romance trope?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I have so many! I do like the trope of the doppelgänger, or double, and this is why I decided to write Palace of Deception. My heroine, Lizzie Smith, is the double of the Princess of Montverrier.
10. What’s your typical writing day like?
On a typical writing day I take my dog out for a long walk on the moors near where I live. Then I come home and wash all the mud off her! After that my dog has a long sleep next to me, and I start writing. My day is a mixture of writing and keeping up with emails and social media, etc. I stop around 4 or 5 p.m. to take my dog out again, and then, if I’m still in the flow, I carry on writing in the evening.
I write sitting on the sofa, with my dog next to me.
12. When you’re writing, is it coffee, tea, soda, or water?
Definitely tea. I think I’m addicted!
13. Do you have other creative outlets? If so, what?
Yes, I love to knit, as I mentioned before. I also like to garden, and I’ve planted a rose garden in my back yard. In the summer the blooms are a riot of colour and heavenly scents.
14. What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished reading The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory. I watched the TV series and loved it. The book is great, too!
15. Name three of your favorite television shows.
“Poldark,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Sherlock.”
16. If you could have dinner with any author–living or dead–who would it be and what would be on the menu?
Oh, another tough question! I think I’d really love to meet William Shakespeare. That would be amazing! I’d probably have to serve him a typical English meal – maybe roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, followed by apple pie and custard.
17. If you couldn’t be an author, what other job would you choose?
I’d love to be a ballet dancer. The only trouble is, I have two left feet.
18. What are you working on next?
I’m working on two things – another novella, for the winter holidays, and a full-length YA novel.
19. Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve just finished a contemporary romance novel set in a hotel in the Lake District. I hope to see it published soon. Fingers crossed!
20. How can people find out more about you?
You can also see some photos of all the places I’ve used for settings on Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/helenafairfax/
Thank you so much for hosting me! I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions!
Photos courtesy of the author.
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