Today I'm delighted to welcome Helena Fairfax to the blog to talk about her book A Way From Heart to Heart which was published last week.
After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Her free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives - which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.
Reserved, public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything, and leaves Kate torn.
Can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book, A Way from Heart to Heart?
A Way from Heart to Heart is the story of a young woman who loses the husband she adored to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. At first sight, Kate’s story seems quite stark, but as the novel progresses, you see that there are so many strands of love woven around Kate, through her son, through her best friend, and through her husband’s oldest friend, who has always been there for her, though the darkest times.
Where did the inspiration come from to write about rebuilding a life following the death of a loved one, especially one killed in Afghanistan?
I sometimes find it hard to pinpoint where my initial ideas spring from. This particular idea just seemed to come to me fully-fledged and felt “right”. I’d suffered myself from the loss of a loved one, and maybe subconsciously I wanted to write my way through the pain of loss. Of course as an author you have power of life and death over your characters. I wrote about a husband who died in Afghanistan because I wanted to show that deaths in war torn countries aren’t just another news item that we can forget about next day. They happen to real people, whose deaths affect the loved ones left behind for ever.
What message do you hope readers will take from A Way from Heart to Heart?
Whilst researching my novel I discovered an Afghan proverb: ‘There is a way from heart to heart.’ This saying sums up exactly the core of my novel. I wanted to show that even when the worst things happen to us, the human heart endures and the ties of love still bind us. It’s an uplifting proverb, and I wanted to leave readers with a message of hope in love.
Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
A Way from Heart to Heart is set on the Yorkshire moors, and my new novel is set in the Lake District. It’s about a man who’s inherited an ailing hotel, and a woman who is a sort of “hotel inspector”, who has come to advise him on how to turn it around. There are a lot of problems and secrets at the hotel, and the young woman who arrives is like a breath of fresh air, sweeping them all out into the open.
If you could write in another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I’d love to write a detective novel. Crime and romance writing are similar in that basically the reader already knows what is going to happen: the hero and heroine will get together, and the detective will solve the crime. The excitement and suspense come from not knowing how this is going to happen. The best romance and the best crime novels keep you turning the pages, desperate to know how everything is going to end satisfactorily.
Do you set yourself a daily writing target?
I do…but I seldom achieve it! I’m absolutely the world’s slowest writer. It’s my resolution for next year to speed up!
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
I’m usually quite excited about starting the next writing project. I’ll have had some ideas running round my head, so I can’t wait to get started on all the shiny new characters that have been demanding my attention!
If you could write collaboratively with anyone else, who would it be and why?
Oh, great question! Maybe I’d choose a crime writer – someone like P.D.James, or Irish crime writer Tana French – and we could write a crime/romance mash up. That would be brilliant!
Where would you perfect writing retreat be?
Somewhere by the seaside. I love the sea, and there are so many parts of the British coastline that are wonderful.
Do you read much yourself? If so, what types of books do you like to read?
I read all the time. I read a wide variety of books, but I most enjoy books that end happily. I’ve just finished a great book called Separated @ Birth, by Anaïs Bordier and Samantha Futerman, a true story about South Korean twins who were adopted and only discovered each other in their twenties. It’s such a moving story and left a deep impression on me. One of my favourite books of the year.
A Way from Heart to Heart was released by Accent Press on 18th November.
Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Happy endings are her favourite, and when one of her novels won a competition in the US for "The Most Romantic Love Scene Ever" it made her day.
Helena was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena has turned to writing full-time. She walks the Yorkshire moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.
A Way from Heart to Heart buy links:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-Heart-Helena-Fairfax-ebook/dp/B00PQRJ0WQ/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Way-Heart-Helena-Fairfax-ebook/dp/B00PQRJ0WQ/
(Available from other online distributors from February 2015)
Thanks so much for being such a lovely hostess, Sharon! I really enjoyed answering your thought-provoking questions.