Today Helen Treharne has been kind enough to join us for an interview! Helen lives in South Wales with her husband, who is Irish, three cats, some other waifs and strays that think they live with them, and lots of stringed instruments! Wow, Helen, it sounds like you have a really busy home! Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your books?
Helen: I'm trying to learn the ukele, but not getting very far. My "day job" is in communications and media relations so I write by night and during weekends. Oh, and I volunteer for Cats Protection, a UK based charity that campaigns for the welfare of cats as well as rescue work.
I've written three books so far. The first was a collection of flash fiction called Off the Bench inspired by bereavement and by hope. I've also written a collection of 10 urban poems about growing up in South Wales in the eighties and nineties. They're both "quick reads", cheaper than a magazine, but you can read them during your lunch break.
The most significant piece of work is my urban fantasy series - the Sophie Morgan books. The first, Relative Strangers, was released on ebook and paperbook in August 2014. The second, Death in the Family will be out in February 2015.
Me: Wow! Family, pets, charity, work, writing! When do you sleep? ;-) Can you tell us the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Helen: Relative Strangers, the most recent release, is a departure from the genre in some respects, yet a welcome return in others. I wanted to write a vampire book which was about relationships in the broadest sense - how we are all connected, how you can't escape from your past, about love falling flat on its ass. I didn't want sexy vampires. Nor did I want them sparkly. I imagine that if vampires existed they would be walking around like you or I just trying to get on with it, hiding their true natures and doing what they have to get by. Some of them are dark and viscous. Others are doing what they can to maintain their position and put dinner on the table (albeit human!). I wanted to read about a world where vampires were believable and I hope I achieved it. I also wanted to write a female protagonist who wasn't throwing herself at them, who is strong but can also be vulnerable. In that sense, it's inspired by real life. In fact, a couple of incidents in the book are inspired by situations I've found myself in - although it's heavily fictionalized of course. I've never ground a vampire into dust on my kitchen lino.
Me: Sounds like a great read! What are you working on now?
Helen: Death in the Family, the second Sophie Morgan book, was the book I really wanted to write as it's just as much about the family dynamic as it is about vampires. The first one was the thing I had to do beforehand! In this book, Sophie has returned to Wales following a series of unpleasant incidents with vampires while living in the West Midlands. I don't want to give too much away for those who have yet to read 'book 1' but let's just say some familiar characters reappear, there could be a new man in Sophie's life, plus we find out what really happened to her long lost father!
Me: Romance, drama, adventure! What more could a reader ask for!? :-) Are there any authors, or books, who have influenced you?
Helen: My tastes are varied. This year, my favourite reads have come from Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham, who I admire terribly. I like writers who write honestly, without overly verbose prose. I'm also a huge Terry Pratchett fan. I've discovered some great indie authors this year too. I always review and my blog www.helentreharne.wordpress is a good place to follow what I'm reading and what I think of their work - Goodreads too!
Me: I love Terry Pratchett!! Almost as much as Douglas Adams! ;-) What are you reading now?
Helen: I'm currently reading Neon Blue by EJ Frost. It's awesome! A fresh new take on magic.
Me: I've got a couple books by EJ Frost on my to-be-read list (looks around for some spare time), you'll have to tell me how you like it! :-) For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?
Helen: If Being Human (TV show) and Bridget Jones (book / film) had a baby, and that baby was a book, then it might look like Relative Strangers.
Me: Ha! Sounds like a hoot! :-) What is your favorite part of being an author?
Helen: Building worlds in my head and getting to live in them occasionally.
Me: That is a fun part of writing, isn't it! :-) Do you have a day job as well?
Helen: I do, I'm in external communications and media relations. That said, can being on Twitter be classified as a full time job? I'm on there a lot!
Me: Ha! Me too, I'm going to have to cut back to get on with the writing. ;-) What would you say are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?
Helen: I think most writers would agree that the hardest bit is PR and marketing. It's a huge amount of work and getting it right is something that requires a lot of effort and constant evaluation.
The easiest part for me is coming up with ideas. Honestly, I can't switch them off. Sometimes, it's hard for me as I have so many my brain can't fully form them. I have to constantly scribble things down to get them out my head so I can move on and finish something.
Me: Yeah, marketing can be tough, but it's definitely a big part of any indie author's job. What genre do you place your book in?
Helen: The Sophie Morgan books fall into the "urban fantasy" genre I guess, although my natural rebellion likes me to push against labels. The lead character is 23 though, just out of college and is navigating some pretty difficult life situations, so I guess it could fall into the new adult fiction camp too. Strangely though, the first book has proved really popular with guys.
Me: Aww... we knew the fellas had some romance in them somewhere! ;-) Anything else you'd like to tell your readers?
Helen: If you buy a book, mine or anyone else's, leave a review for the author on Amazon. It really helps them out, as well as inform the choices of other readers.
Also, if you want to find out more about me or any of my books, then check out the links:
Facebook : http://on.fb.me/1vOSmXq
Buy my books at Amazon http://bit.ly/Vu4Ve3 (Paperback and ebooks available)
Me: Amen to the reviews! :-) And thank you so much for joining us Helen!!! :-)