Name Helena Newbury
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My tenth book, Kissing The Enemy came out in August. My next one (title’s still a secret) will be out at the end of October. As I write this, I’m just waiting for it to come back from my editor so I can do my next round of edits.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I hit the New York Times bestseller list. Up until then, it didn’t seem real. Then I saw the newspaper (I’m a Brit, so someone had to mail it to me) and I was like: okay, maybe this is real.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was in love with ballet and wanted to write about a man being completely entranced by a dancer he meets and being prepared to do anything to be with her. That’s how Dance For Me started: I just wanted to capture that sense of being mesmerized by someone. I wrote it back in 2013.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to keep things tight and fast paced. I tend to write quite gruff heroes who aren’t big talkers. I do a lot of short sentences and interrupted thoughts.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lying and Kissing and Punching and Kissing just struck me as the perfect descriptions for what the books were about. Things like Saving Liberty were harder because I wanted to get the feel of the plot across as well as the White House setting.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
You can be stronger than you ever believed possible when life demands it of you.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I hope that I get things realistic (I try to always do my homework). But very little of it is based on my life. Everything from the CIA to ballet training to guns to growing weed, I had to learn about. I now have a varied but very weird collection of knowledge in my head and my search history is probably highly suspicious (when I was writing Saving Liberty I was researching all sorts of things to do with the Secret Service and the security of the President and I was quite surprised no one kicked my door down).
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
I didn’t so much have a mentor as a group of other authors who were all writing at the same time and we supported each other and beta read for each other and so on. That was a huge help. Amongst them (not an exhaustive list) Julia Kent, Aubrey Rose and Nadia Simonenko.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I say this in every interview but Nadia Simonenko really can write most any author under the table and if you’re a New Adult romance fan but you haven’t read Lost and Found you really owe it to yourself to check them out. I’m also a big fan of JA Huss.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Bloggers, including Isa Jones and Anna Dase but also many others, helped to get my name out there when I was starting out.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I’ve been full time for a few years now and I don’t plan on stopping.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
For this one, I’ve already done it. When I was halfway through, I went back and reworked the first half because I wasn’t happy with it. I’m sure I’ll tweak more during my next pass, though.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a kid. I think the thing that tipped the balance and got me writing Dance For Me was (I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s true) having a story in my head that I just had to get out.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
When I’m writing a character with a strong accent, it can be difficult to balance realism with making the dialogue easy to understand. You want the reader to get the accent in their head but you don’t want it to turn into a quagmire.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Quite a few of them are set in New York, which is somewhere I’ve visited several times (I’m a Brit) but I think it’s getting about time for another visit.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The earlier books I did myself. More recent books have been done by Mayhem Cover Creations (http://mayhemcovercreations.com)
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
There are some quite tough scenes in some of the books. There’s a particular scene in Kissing My Killer where the heroine recounts her past that had me in tears. There are also some scenes in Growing and Kissing, when the heroine’s kid sister is very ill, that deeply affected me.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something from every book I write. I came away from my first book, Dance For Me, much more flexible than when I started because I was doing ballet stretches to try to get the feel for what it was like for the characters. Didn’t make me any better at dancing, though.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I always thought a young Colin Farrell would be good for any of my Irish-American heroes, but we’d have to go back in time a bit 🙂
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you want to write, write. Don’t let anyone stop you. There’s never been a better time to write your first novel. Remember that 90% of people who want to write a book won’t start. Of the 10% who do, 90% won’t finish. So just by getting a first draft done, you’re putting yourself in the top 1%! Edit, get feedback, edit again, get a professional cover, either learn about marketing or pay someone who can do it for you and you’re off. Ask authors for advice: we’re a friendly bunch.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes: thank you! Thank you for trusting me with your time.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
PJ Adams’s Hit Me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Nope. Far too long ago. But I know the first New Adult romance I read: it was Aftermath.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Really geeky humor makes me laugh. Hate—because of skin color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, whatever—makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d quite like to visit in Nassau, in the Bahamas, during the golden age of piracy and spend a day or so meeting real-life pirates and soaking up the vibe. That whole world fascinates me. I’ve never written historical romance but if I ever did I think that’s where I’d set it.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
If I can leave behind books that people read and remember, to me that’s better than any headstone.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I like to cook. I started off awful but now I’m…less awful.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Sons of Anarchy, The Wire, Breaking Bad. Currently working my way through Hell on Wheels.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Mexican food, yellow and I listen to everything from dance music to blues but I don’t listen while I’m writing (I’m one of those people who can’t focus unless it’s quiet).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I wasn’t a writer I’d be in big trouble.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? http://helenanewbury.com