One of the many people I saw all too briefly at last month’s mystery convention was British novelist Helen Smith. Helen writes two mystery series set in and around London as well as a variety of other works. Like her protagonists Helen is a lot of fun, charming, and adventurous. I loved and laughed out loud over her novel, Alison Wonderland. I talked to her recently about her writing. To sample Helen’s books take a look at her Christmas mystery short story, Real Elves, free for your Kindle today (and until December 13.) Grab a copy here: http://smarturl.it/RealElves
Q: You are a playwright and novelist and… is there anything you don’t write? What is your first writing love?
A: I have tried my hand at writing everything, including poetry, plays and screenplays. But novels are my first love. First, because I wanted to be a writer because I fell in love with reading as a child. And second, because I make my living writing novels.
Q: You’ve had a lot of adventures around the globe. How do they fit into your novels?
A: I have been very lucky to travel all over the world. I rarely put the locations into my books, actually, because I live in London and I’m obsessed with it, so it provides the backdrop to most of my books. But I traveled by ship from England to California at the beginning of this year and not only was it an amazing trip, but I plan to use it in an Emily Castles mystery. That series features an amateur sleuth, so a cruise ship would provide the perfect setting for an investigation that can be conducted – in the intial stages at least – without interference from the police.
Q: Writers are always asked: “Where do you get your ideas?” How do you take a germ of an idea and mold it into a novel or play? Do you have a method?
A: I usually start with the characters and a situation – a “what if.” I always know how the book will develop and how it will end – I often know what the last line will be before I start writing – but within that framework, some of my novels are fairly free-form. But with my Emily Castles mystery series, I have to have a mystery in it, and the mystery has to get solved by Emily, so I start with that.
Thank you, Helen! Happy holidays
About Helen Smith:
Helen Smith is a British novelist and playwright who lives in London. She is the author of two cult novels about a woman who joins an all-female detective agency in London (Alison Wonderland and Being Light) as well as the Emily Castles Mysteries and a dystopian novel, The Miracle Inspector. Her books have reached number one on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany. Her work has been optioned by the BBC.
Helen Smith’s blog: http://www.emperorsclothes.co.uk
Helen Smith’s website: http://helensmithbooks.com
Helen Smith on Twitter: http://twitter.com/emperorsclothes
Helen Smith’s books on Amazon: http://smarturl.it/helensmithbooks
There is some bonus material, including fantasy casting and locations for books and interviews with other authors over at Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emperorsclothes