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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writing Wibbles: Interview with Helen Howell

It is my great pleasure to, once again, have Helen Howell here to talk about her new novella!

Easy one first: tell us a little about Mind Noise. Where did the idea come from?

Mind Noise is about a boy who can hear peoples' thoughts and this tends to alienate him from others. Then one day an old man appears who is able to communicate with him through thought. The old man offers to help him control this gift he has, but the question is, is the old man who he seems to be? And should the boy trust him?

The idea for Mind Noise came from a thought, that led to these questions. What would it be like to hear other people's thoughts? How would one cope with hearing things that perhaps they just didn't want to know? How would you use the information you heard? and how that then affects your life.

I think too, adolescence is a difficult time for either boys or girls to have to cope with, and an extra element like being able to hear other's thoughts, proved to be an interesting subject for me, because one could take it in so many ways. But then I decided to add the old man into the equation and to look at how he had arrived at where he was, and what motivated him. Him befriending the boy was a perfect scenario to build the story on, and adding Catherine into the equation added another interesting element. The boy now has to work out who to trust.

What's the most substantial difference(s) between the (now-defunct) serial version of Mind Noise and the published version?

The story in itself is basically the same, but the rewrite for the published Novella has more background building of the characters and the situations that occur. You get a better feel for the characters and what motivates them into doing what they do. If you like, we get to see the story behind the story.

Once upon a time, you were an exhibitionist (watercolors, not the other kind). Have you ever been tempted to write a story about someone falling into a watercolor and ending up somewhere else?

Funny you should ask that, the simple answer is No. But I have often thought about writing a story about a character in a book becoming obsessed with the writer. ^_^

You have two other books out. Tell us a little about them.

The first book I ever wrote and self published in 2012, was Jumping at Shadows. This is a fantasy fiction for 9 yrs upwards to adults who like mid grade fantasy. It is a story about a girl called Belle who discovers the secret of a family heirloom. When She and her friend Rosy use this heirloom they are propelled into a world of the shadows—the same shadows that have been haunting Belle all her life. Soon Belle realises that the future rests in her hands, and only she can keep the magic of her ancestors from falling into the clutches of a dangerous mad man.

I spent a long time writing this book and re-editing it, it was the first long fantasy fiction I ever wrote and I'm still proud of it. You can get e-books from both Smashwords and Amazon.

My second book, like Mind Noise, was published by Crooked Cat Publishing and is called I Know You Know. It's a story about a tarot reader who sees in the cards of a client that he's a serial killer and the client suspects she knows. Here's the blurb:
The darkest cards in the tarot deck reveal the darkest side of the man sitting opposite Janice—Mr. Edgar Kipp.

She feigns an inability to read for him, but will he believe her?

His parting words indicate that he knows she knows he's a serial killer. And he plans to return. The voice of her dead grandmother urges her to be careful, warning Janice she might be seeing her own future in those foreboding cards. But Janice doesn't want to listen. Gran's dead. How can she possibly help her?
I enjoyed writing this story, as I myself read the tarot cards and I know they can give you insight into certain aspects of peoples lives. I had this notion that to take it one step further, and put the tarot reader in jeopardy from her client because of what she knows, would make for a thrilling story. The story allows you to understand where Janice came from and how she develops her abilities and it also gives you a look into the dark world of Mr. Edgar Kipp.

The book is available from Amazon as a paperback or e-book.

OK, last one: what did you want me to ask that I didn't? What's the answer?

How do I feel about having my work published?

I think the honest answer to this is that I'm happy my work has reached a wider audience. I write because I love to write but if most of us writers are honest, we write to be read too. When someone not only reads what you have written but likes it too, well that's like a box of chocolates being given as a gift. The sheer pleasure of knowing that your work is liked by some is the motivation needed to carry on writing. Because writing is a lonely business and once you release your work into the public, then there are those anxious moments as to whether it will be well received or not.

Thanks for having me over.

My pleasure, Helen! Now let’s let everyone know where to get Mind Noise and your other books, eh?

Links to Mind Noise:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Noise-Helen-Howell-ebook/dp/B00HXX4RY2
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Noise-Helen-A-Howell-ebook/dp/B00HXX4RY2

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/399499

Links to I Know You Know:

US: http://www.amazon.com/I-Know-You-Helen-Howell-ebook/dp/B00BH59NAU
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Know-You-Helen-Howell-ebook/dp/B00BH59NAU

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286746

Links to Jumping at Shadows:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Jumping-At-Shadows-Helen-Howell-ebook/dp/B008TJKXQ0
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jumping-At-Shadows-Helen-Howell-ebook/dp/B008TJKXQ0

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/204743

1 comment:

  1. I've read, and own, two of the three: "I Know You Know" and "Mind Noise." Both introduced me to great characters, characters I'd enjoy spending more time with." Even Edgar and the old man, neither simplistic evil characters. They had their own motivations.

    Good interview, Helen and Larry. Always good to know a little more of the mind behind the stories.


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