Today I’m interviewing Helen Howell, another special author from the Crooked Cat cradle. She lives down-under, and if it weren’t for her advice on a little matter to do with tarot reading, I’d be guilty of a lapse in my research for Breath of Africa.
And her novella, I Know You Know is a compelling read.
When did you start writing – and what occupied you before you “took up the pen”?
I started writing in 2010, prior to that I was a watercolour painter. Just before I swapped to writing, I had been painting and exhibiting my work for around 18 years. I’ve always done something creative and I see writing as being not that much different from painting. Writing to me is just like painting pictures with words.
What prompted you to write “I Know You Know”?
I have a history of reading tarot that dates back to the 1970’s and I know how it is possible to see with the cards, certain things about a person’s situation. So I thought wouldn’t it make an interesting story if not only could the tarot reader see in the cards that her client was a serial killer, but what if the client suspected that she knew. What then? How would that play out? I Know You Know was born from that initial idea.
It is a neat, well-crafted thriller, easily digested in one sitting. Have you written any longer works?
Yes, the book I released in 2012 which I self published, was a fantasy fiction call Jumping At Shadows aimed at a mid grade audience or adults that like to read mid grade fantasy. The original story before its many editing sessions came in at over 60,000 words, but the finished novella came in at just over 47,000. It’s still classed as a novella as it was under 50,000 words.
Tell us about the others genres you write in.
The genres that I write most in are horror, fantasy, noir and humour. Right now I have a friday flash serial running on my website that is in the horror genre and is written as micro fiction, that is each episode is just 100 words. I also have a Tuesday Serial that runs as well called WIZARD and that is a fantasy fiction, with episodes of around 500 -1000 words each.
I enjoy writing flash fiction, that is stories of up to 1000 words, as this allows me to explore different genres and find out what I am capable of writing in. This is how I discovered that I have a talent for writing 1920’s gangster noir, and these stories that I have shared have been met with really good responses.
Where have you published your work.
My work has appeared in both ezines and printed anthologies. Also I have had a tarot article published in Spheres Magazine Issue 26 2010.
I’ve had a dark story called Tap, Tap, Tap, showcased in Lily Child’s Feardom Blog’s 2012 February Femmes Fatales and a gangster noir story called Calling Card showcased at the Bijou Blog in their 2012 Noir Fest.
My story ‘I Am’ won second place in a peoples choice competition held by the ezine, The Were Traveller, last year.
I’ve noticed your activities on Twitter, and am impressed by your following. Do you have any advice for newcomers to this form of social networking?
Not really, you just have to feel your way, learn which hashtags to place on your tweets that will get you noticed. Perhaps even join in some groups etc.that share the same interests as yourself and interact with others of course.
You are a full time author. Would you give us an insight into your typical day at the office.
I’m very undisciplined. I write when I feel like it. This can be anytime really, although I must admit mornings are the better choice when one is fresh and more alert. But to tell you the truth I do most of my writing in the afternoons, my mornings are spent checking out the social media, chatting does use up time! ^_^
You started life in England. Would you tell us something about the differences between living there, and in Australia?
Probably the biggest difference is the climate and size. Everything is a bit more spread out in Australia. I’m very lucky because I live on the peninsula and have the Port Philip Bay on my doorstep, so the beach is only 10 minutes away by car. The wild life is different here, but then England does have its own treasures like robins and blue tits while we have parrots and miner birds, galahs etc. I think each country has its merits. Australia is a very diverse community, so that does make for some very interesting food. I do miss a proper English Pub though. We do tend to have more hotels here than what you would call pubs. Although I did have lunch in one that was getting nearer to the description of a pub the other day and it went under the name of a Tavern.
What do you do in your spare time?
I garden, I get great pleasure from working in the garden and also I go or at least try to go most days for a walk. Coffee and lunch with girlfriends is always a welcome pastime too.
How did you find Crooked Cat?
A friend was already with Crooked Cat and they recommended them to me.