Saturday 5 August 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Perfect Prey by Helen Fields ~ Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Helen Fields Blog Tour where I welcome Helen to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:

  • What inspired you to write your first book? 

I always wanted to write. As a child I filled notebooks with plays, songs, poems and stories. After having children, while I was on a career break, it was the obvious and natural thing to take up again. Try as I might to write in lighter genres, everything always ends up with a darker element and I think I was destined to write crime and thrillers. I like my own company and enjoy being alone inside the space in my head where the stories happen. Writing them down is just an extension of the constant activity internally.

  • What books have most influenced your life? 

My father had a collection of Dennis Wheatley books, a writer who was prolific through the 1930s and on. The themes were crime based - murder, abduction, devil worship and contained many supernatural references. Those books were the first I read with such adult storylines and they struck a chord with me. As a teenager and in my twenties I consumed everything by Stephen King, James Herbert and Dean Koontz. For me, it was the escapism that mattered. The other author who captivated me was JRR Tolkein. I first read The Hobbit when I was nine and I have reread it so many times since that my copy has literally fallen apart. Tolkien world-builds like no one else. All those authors opened my eyes to a universe of imagination that is breath-taking.

  • What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? 

My writing problems are mainly logistical. As a mother of three (two boys aged aged 13 and 11, and a girl of 8) I find the hours in my working day extremely limited. In reality, my writing days ends when I pick up from school, so I have only six hours Monday to Friday to do all my writing, publicity, emails and other business. Some days I barely seem to have hit my creative flow before I have to stop. That can also be a problem in terms of the psychology of writing, when I find that long hours are needed to perfect chapters or work through problems, so having to break off in the middle can be quite destructive. I wouldn’t change it for the world, though. I get to write all day and spend the afternoons and evenings with my children doing activities. I’m incredibly lucky. One of the issues with researching Perfect Prey was the darknet section. I was reliant on others to explain how it works and the sort of websites accessible, whereas I usually prefer to do my own research first hand. This time, I really didn’t want the sorts of viruses and hacking that using the darknet could bring.

  • What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

With Perfect Prey, the hardest part was not being tempted to go off on tangents from the main plot. There were a few different characters I’d like to have been able to explore more fully, and staying focussed on the two central story lines required some discipline. Many authors will say that writing the middle section of the book is the hardest and that’s definitely true for me. I think it’s easy to have a clear vision of the opening and a good idea of resolution, but it’s maintaining the pace in those middle chapters when there can be a loss of tension that’s tricky. It requires advance story planning and an excellent editor (I’m extremely fortunate with the latter.)

  • What's your favourite under-appreciated novel? 

 My favourite under-appreciated novel is Intensity by Dean Koontz. All of Koontz’s books sell well, of course, but this is textbook brilliance in thriller terms. With very few characters and a limited setting, Koontz created heart-pounding intensity that doesn’t let up for a single page. Anyone interested in writing crime, thrillers or grip lit should read it, learn and be left in awe.

  • Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Gabriel Tallent is the latest author who has really inspired me. His book, My Absolute Darling, set in northern California about a girl’s relationship with her abusive father is disturbing and brilliant. I love discovering new authors who push the boundaries. It makes me want to work even harder.

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