Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Scottish Diamond – and my love for romantic suspense by Helena Fairfax

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Helena Fairfax back to the blog to talk about her love of romantic suspense novels which inspired her latest novella The Scottish Diamond.

I love romantic suspense – J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts, and the old classics like Mary Stewart - but up until a couple of years ago it had never crossed my mind to have a try at writing in this genre. One day, though, I saw a call for submissions for a romantic suspense anthology. My mind began working subconsciously in that “What if…?” kind of way and shortly after seeing the call an idea for a story popped into my head, and I really wanted to write it down.

The story I dreamed up was a classic doppelgänger suspense, with a princess vanished in mysterious circumstances and a heroine who looks enough like her to play her part. Added to that was a handsome bodyguard, a housekeeper as creepy as Mrs Danvers, and a dramatic twist that surprised the heroine – and almost ruined everything for her.

To cut a long story short (pardon the pun!) the anthology didn’t go ahead, but the agent who had intended to put it together emailed me to tell me how much she’d loved my short story, and how she thought I should expand it into a novella.

I’d loved my characters, too, and I loved the idea of making the story longer, and especially of getting to know my bodyguard hero better :) And that’s how my novella Palace of Deception came about.

I released Palace of Deception last year as an ebook, and it will be published in large print next year. (At the moment, I’m offering all new subscribers to my newsletter a FREE copy of Palace of Deception. You can subscribe here:

I thought Palace of Deception would be the end of my foray into romantic suspense but Lizzie and Léon – my Mediterranean bodyguard and Scottish heroine – refused to bow out so easily.

Palace of Deception is set in Montverrier – a fictional Mediterranean principality – and I couldn’t help wondering what would happen to Léon when he travelled with Lizzie to her home in Edinburgh at the end of the story. How would a hot-blooded Mediterranean bodyguard fit in in this dark, chilly city in the north? Would their relationship survive the move? And then what if danger followed them…?

The Scottish Diamond follows the fortunes of Lizzie and Léon in Scotland. Edinburgh has been at the centre of some thrilling and dramatic events in history, from the siege of Edinburgh Castle in the fourteenth century, to the brutal murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ private secretary in her rooms at Holyrood Palace, to the capture and imprisonment of Highland rebels in the Jacobite revolution. This beautiful and unique city lends itself perfectly to mystery and romance.

The Scottish Diamond of the title of my novella belonged to the fictional aristocratic Falmire family. In 1745, Lord Falmire fought in the Jacobite revolution, and was forced to flee to my fictional Mediterranean country of Montverrier, taking the diamond with him. While in Montverrier, he played cards with the Montverrian prince, and… Well, you’ll have to read the rest of the story to find out what happens to the diamond in the present day!

The Scottish Diamond was great fun to write, and the Edinburgh setting added enormously to the mystery and romance of the tale.

Here is the blurb:  

What do you do when nothing is what it seems…even the man you love? 

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair..."  When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she's convinced the witches' spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie's bodyguard boyfriend, Léon, is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he's finally offered the job of guarding "The Scottish Diamond," a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier. 

But the diamond's previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder, and Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth's witches are warning her of danger. 

Then Lizzie discovers she's being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised... 

The Scottish Diamond is available on Amazon and will be released to other ebook retailers in July.

Author Bio
Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she's secretly in love with. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the UK's Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards. Helena Fairfax was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize in 2014.

Helena is a British author who 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 the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. She walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.

If you’d like to get in touch, or find out more about my books, writing, and photos of my settings or the Yorkshire moors where I live, please follow my newsletter by subscribing here:

You can also visit me on my website at, or on Facebook Helena Fairfax, or Twitter @HelenaFairfax

Thanks so much for having me today, Shaz! It’s been fun revisiting Edinburgh and its bloody history. I hope you’ve enjoyed my post!


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog, Sharon. I love the way you grouped the photos. It looks great!

  2. Interesting post, Helena, about how you got your start in romantic suspense.

    1. Thank you, Susan, and thanks for dropping in. I appreciate it!