Thursday, September 5, 2013

How Authors Write-Helena Fairfax

Today I'm thrilled to host Helena Fairfax as she talks writing and her newest release.

Hi Mary, it’s lovely to be here, and thanks so much for having me on your blog!

You're so welcome, Helena! So, what do you write?
I write contemporary romance, with strong heroes and believable heroines

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
I use the third person. My novels are written from the heroine’s POV, with the occasional switch to the hero.

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I got the idea for my latest book, The Antique Love, whilst suffering from flu. I was lying on the settee with a temperature, flicking through TV channels, and I came across a programme about antique shops. Through the haze of my heated brain, I began to think how wonderful it would be to work with all those antiques, and so I gradually devised my heroine, Penny, who owns an antique shop in London.  [Wow! What a way to come up with a story!]

Do you draft quickly?
I’m a very slow writer. My two published books took a year each. I’ve almost finished the third novel, and again, it’s taken me nearly a year. [Nothing wrong with that! My first took 8+ years, the second 6, the third about 2, so it gets better with time!]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I research as I’m going along. Research also slows me down, as I’m very thorough, and quite a perfectionist. I have to get the information in my novels exactly right! [Getting it right is important!]

Do you outline? How?
In a contemporary romance, it’s important that there is strong internal conflict between the hero and heroine. First of all I decide on the nature of this conflict. Then I decide on the situations which are going to bring the hero and heroine together, and make them realize they are falling in love, despite the emotional conflict which is keeping them apart. [Oh, what a great tip!]

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I keep writing forward in my first draft. After a few chapters, I go back and revise things I don’t like. Then I carry on writing, going back to revise occasionally, then writing more and revising until I’m happy. I told you I was slow!

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
My first draft is always horrendous. I prefer not to let anyone see ANYTHING until I’m reasonably happy. And that takes a while!

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
I really like a book called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. As for websites, I follow They have a weekly “lecture schedule” and some useful info and tips for romance writers. [I'll have to check that one out!]

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
I wish I had more confidence in myself, that people will actually like reading my stories. Lack of confidence held me back for a while.

What do you have out now, or coming out?

My latest release is called The Antique Love.

One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. 

Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. 

His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. 

Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realize it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…

[Love that cover, and the blurb sounds swoon-worthy!]

The Antique Love is available as an ebook from MuseItUpAmazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple store and all major e-tailers.

Where can we find you on the web?
You can find more about me at . I also have a Facebook page (Helena Fairfax) and am on Twitter @helenafairfax. I’d love it if you got in touch – I love to meet new people!

Thank you so much for having me, Mary. You’re a lovely hostess, and I’ve enjoyed answering your searching questions very much!

Thanks so much for being here. I've really enjoyed it. If you enjoy The Antique Love, be sure to leave an honest review for Helena, and then check out The Silk Romance, if you enjoy romance, you'll enjoy this!


  1. This was a lovely interview Mary and Helena. Wonderful questions Mary and great responses Helena. Interesting to hear the different ways that people write.

    I think one year is not too long for writing a good book. I don't know how some authors can take only three months. Makes you wonder.

    Again, very enjoyable. Thank you both.

    Susan Bernhardt
    The Ginseng Conspiracy

    1. Thanks, Susan. I enjoyed interviewing Helena for this post.

      It took me years to write mine, but ironically, they are all releasing a few months apart. And yes, I admire people who can pound out a book in a month or two. Maybe someday I'll get there!

  2. Thanks, Susan! I really wish I could write faster. My writing group is helping. We have five minute exercises, which really help me learn to focus. Hopefully I'll get better!

  3. Hi Helena and Mary, very nice interview. I just finished reading The Silk Romance last night. It was so romantic, and I loved the epilogue and how you brought everybody into focus.

    I wish I type using both hands instead of an Ipad stylus, but I'd probably still stare at blank pages.

    I'm just having morning coffee and trying to wake up. I adopted a 4 month old puppy through the outreach pet rescue. My daughter fosters dogs until they are adopted. The vet thinks she's an English spaniel/setter mix. She keeps me awake by lying across my feet so I can't move.

    1. Thanks, Leona.

      Congrats on the new puppy! Love having pets (well, most days!)

      The Silk Romance was a wonderful read. I really enjoyed that and am looking forward to The Antique Love

    2. Hi Leona,
      I'm thrilled you enjoyed The Silk Romance - thanks so much!
      And your dog sounds gorgeous. I'm a bit late replying to comments today, because I've been out walking with my own resuce dog. Love her to bits, and I can never understand why someone would want to abandon her. Your puppy seems to have bonded with you :) Good luck with her!

  4. Great interview! I love how you came up with the idea for Antique Love. Definitely sounds like a fun read!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Meradeth!

      I love how something good came out of Helena being sick!

    2. Thanks Meredith! Strange what you think about when you're running a temperature :) Thanks for your comment!

  5. Great interview, gals. It's always interesting to see how others write. I think your system sounds good, Helena. I put big bold XXXXs in places where I need a name or to research something and keep on going. Since I've started doing that, the creativity seems to flow better. :)
    I love where you got your inspiration. Proves out of bad stuff, good can come. I enjoyed The Silk Romance and oops! Still need to post a review. Been out of town, but will get it done. Your blurb for your second book is really good, and I think will capture lots of attention.
    I'm with you, Mary, on how long it takes to write a book. I guess everyone is different though. Enjoyed this, y'all.

    1. Thanks, Marsha!

      I do the XYZ, ABC, place holder thing when I'm on a roll with the writing. Find and replace is one of my best friends!

    2. That's a good idea to just keep going, Marsha and Mary. I need to stop being such a perfection freak and just get writing!

    3. LOL! I never said I wasn't a perfectionist. Just that when I get on a roll with writing, I don't want to have the flow stopped by little things I can address later on.

  6. Helena, I LOVE that you were inspired while feverish! My brother wrote an absolutely brilliant short story that came to him during a fever dream. I just hope he puts it out there for publication some day, so the rest of the world can enjoy it as much as I did! (Lucky me, getting to be his beta reader!!)

    Nice interview, ladies!

    1. Thanks, Heather! It truly is amazing the things the mind can come up with while we're ill!

      I hope David publishes his short story, too! I'm sure it's an awesome read!

    2. Hi Heather, it's so strange how fever can alter the mind and provide inspiration. I'd love to read your brother's story some day. He's already really inventive, even when he's well! Hope you can persuade him to publish.

  7. Amazing story about how you come up with the idea for The Antique Love!


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