Friday, Friday. How I love thee, Friday. Today we welcome Helen J. Christmas, author of the thriller, Same Face, Different Place – Beginnings. Welcome, Helen. I’ll ask you to start off by finishing this statement: If I couldn’t be an author, I’d be a:
“PHOTOGRAPHER since I love all things visual – especially beautiful architecture and scenery – I would love to visit Canada one day where I understand the scenery is just stunning. I also love to describe places of beauty in my writing too.
Oh yeah, you’d love it, especially where I live on the Canadian Shield. Rock cuts and wild forests and lakes galore.
We know you write thrillers, and inspiration often comes from our literary heroes. Is there an author you admire?
It would probably be Ken Follet, since he plucks historical events from different periods of time and then weaves brilliant stories around them and invents great characters. The last book I read by this author was ‘Fall of Giants’ which is based around the 1st world war, but with such compelling people and story lines.
I don’t know a lot about historical fiction, but I love great characters. I’ll have to check him out. Let’s dig deeper into Helen the writer. Do you have any odd rituals when you work on a manuscript?
I do most of my writing very early morning at around 5-6:00 am while my husband is still asleep, pour myself a big glass of sparkling water, switch on my computer and then call our dog into the office to sit with me. For some reason I write much better when he’s in the room, just curled up by my feet – maybe it’s doggy telepathy.
Dog is a writer’s best friend? I could see it. Happy doggy mo-jo could change the ambiance. Fur slippers are always nice, too. Are there any other fantastic novels waiting to burst free from your imagination in the future?
The story I’m involved in writing too huge to be contained within one book, so yes, I’m writing the first sequel ‘Visions’ and there are two more after that! As I love old buildings and have a rare fascination in architecture I wanted to base ‘Visions’ around the restoration of an English Country mansion – but with a psychological thriller element.
I also crave the opportunity to write a story centered around the hedonistic club and drug culture in the loved-up 90s – with plenty of steamy relationships included, which will be book number 3 ‘Pleasures’ based around a nightclub.
You had me at psychological thriller. Love them, the darker, the better. And y’all know I love steam. Tell us about your road to publication. Was it short and sweet? Long and winding with many bumps?
The first book was an absolute pleasure to write and everything fell into place. It seemed as if the universe gave me everything I needed to succeed – from inspirational music to an exhibition in London which showed me photos of the very place my novel was based and in the exact year too! Then came a chance trip to Holland, home to one of my characters. Self-publishing was also easier than I thought – the only bane was the proof reading, to check for errors, which if you do it yourself, is a real headache! Positive feedback from the two people who proof-read my book was also very positive.
Yes, the first books are always the easiest, right? The next ones are much trickier. Let’s talk bedtime. Are you a warm and comfy flannel-from-head-to-toe girl? Or an in-the-buff or silk and satin kind of girl?
Oh definitely silk and satin. I’m never quite comfortable in the buff and worry that I might find myself naked in my dreams.
Ha! One of those dreams where you’re giving a speech and realize your clothes have evaporated? Hate those. Real people make the most interesting characters. How much of you is in your heroine?
There is a lot of me in Eleanor, the main heroine in my book. She starts off a vulnerable teenager, who is easily manipulated but comes back a rebel. She is feisty and out-spoken but also very sensitive and compassionate, with a strong drive to help others. But in my next book ‘Visions’, one of the heroines in this story, Avalon, is the vengeful type which isn’t really me at all.
Ah, a bit of a rebel back then, were you? How about high school? Band dork? Jock? Loner? Brainiac?
I supposed I was a bit of a loner really, just not super intelligent – academic achievement wasn’t really my strong point, I was more of a creative individual.
Yep, that was pretty much me, too. Are you a country or a city girl?
The country – cleaner, more peaceful and with less stress. I don’t like cities, I find them a bit scary and people don’t look out for one another in the same way as they do in a quiet country village. As I’m an introvert, I don’t really care for wild parties or night life.
Geez, are you sure you’re not describing me? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
I suppose I wish I could be more confident. People with masses of confidence definitely get much further in life. I suffer from a fear of failure which possibly holds me back from achieving my goals.
Confidence is a big one, isn’t it? I think we all take blows to the old confidence now and then, so you’re not alone in that one.
It’s time for the pretty! Check it out.
‘Same Face Different Place – Beginnings is a dark and fast-paced thriller, set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London.
Eleanor Chapman is only 16 when she discovers her Father, Oliver, is employed in a world of organised crime. The day he is forced to go on the run, she is left to the mercy of dangerous people. But during a short spell in captivity, she stumbles across another prisoner – a mysterious musician from Holland, named Jake.
Jake is the one vital witness to a scene leading to a devastating car bomb which claimed the life of a British MP. Now those responsible want him silenced. Their daring escape, coupled with a terrifying chase across London, places them in even greater danger until they eventually find a place to hide. Yet they know that out there somewhere, a lethal contract killer is hunting them. And the conspiracy runs deep.
But as two young people thrown together by fate, they develop feelings for each other. Their powerful love bond will keep you turning the pages as you relive their journey; a story of survival in a secret world full of dangerous enemies.’
Connect with Helen here:
Pick up a copy of Same Face, Different Place here: