Author Interview: Helen Harper

An Author Interview with

Helen Harper

I'm originally from Scotland, although I've lived all over the world. I 
started a career as a teacher then, after working in the UK, Japan and 
Malaysia, I left behind the world of education to write full time. I've 
always been a book lover with eclectic tastes but I particularly enjoy 
devouring science fiction and fantasy tales! I currently live in Devon 
in the UK with a crazy dog and far too many cats – not to mention the 
dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep 
appearing from nowhere.


WHAT DREW YOU INTO WRITING?

It was actually initially nothing more than a stress release! I was 
promoted at work and found myself juggling so many balls that I was 
going crazy. I read urban fantasy as a way to escape the pressures of 
daily life and then, when I couldn't find anything else to read in that 
genre, I wrote my own. It was never with a view to publish. I was just 
writing for myself. It still seems amazing to me that now I get to write 
full time.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE GENRE TO WRITE WITHIN, AND WHY?


Urban Fantasy. It's the perfect escape. As UF books take place in a 
modern setting, it's easy to imagine yourself as part of that world. The 
characters are always strong and powerful and get to experience all 
sorts of things which are technically impossible but imaginatively 
amazing.

With a number of successful books under your belt, what’s your writing goal?

I'd like to branch out into other genres one day but I love what I do so 
much and there are so many more fantasy stories in my head still begging 
to be told that I'm not sure I'll ever get there!

Which of your book series do you wish had more spotlight?

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The Dreamweaver series. There are three books in total, following an 
agoraphobic young woman called Zoe who can only find an escape through 
her dreams. It's not your typical UF series by any means and Zoe has a 
lot of issues to work through. Out of everything I've written, I feel 
it's the most realistic, however.


What does your writing process look like?

I start with a germ of an idea, which pushes at me and demands to get 
written. Sometimes it's just a character or sometimes it's a scene or a 
plot point. I'm a pantser rather than a plotter so the ideas come as I 
write - I don't plan out what happens. That way it's (hopefully) as 
exciting for me to see what unfolds and what happens as it is for a 
reader!

what made you choose the self-publishing route?

As I never really planned to become a writer, self-publishing just 
seemed like the natural progression. I only released my first books to 
Amazon on a whim! I've never sought a traditional route and as an 
independent author I feel I have far more control over every stage of 
the process. I get help with editing and book cover design from some 
wonderful people who I've worked with almost from the very start and I 
can't imagine doing things any other way.

YOUR THREE BIGGEST AUTHOR INSPIRATIONS.

Stephen King. Not only is he a pantser too but he writes beautifully, 
with immensely readable books that carry you along and which are 
impossible to put down.

Ilona Andrews. They're actually a writing couple who are at the very top 
of the urban fantasy game and whose books I have to snap up as soon as 
they're out!

Amanda Hocking. Although it's been some time since I've read any of her 
books, it was her story as an independent author that gave me the push 
to self-publish in the first place.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

The good - My characters become very real to me when I'm writing. I feel 
their pains and woes and celebrate their successes. I can often be found 
sobbing when things go wrong for them too!

The bad - There is always (ALWAYS) a point in each book where I am 
convinced that I have no skill and that what I am writing is the worst 
thing ever. Then I go and read all my bad reviews and feel even worse. 
It can be a very lonely job sometimes. Fortunately, the moment always 
passes. It's hard at the time though!

The ugly - When I tell people I'm a writer, they often seem to think 
it's a very glamorous life. Usually, however, it's me slumped in a 
chair, wearing slobby clothes and guzzling coffee by the gallon. It's 
not a pretty picture!

IF YOU COULD GIVE your past self ADVICE ON WRITING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Don't worry about what people think! Just write that book and have fun 
in the process.