Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interview with Helena Harker

Please welcome Ellora's Cave author Helena Harker!

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I write whenever my children give me the chance to write. So when they are in bed, or when they are watching TV, I am sitting at the computer, typing away! I try to aim for 1,000 words a day, but I often don’t meet that.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Absolutely. Every writer needs critique partners. My crit partners offer me valuable insights about little things that escaped my attention. Without them, my writing wouldn’t be as polished as it is.

Who are your books published with?
Mostly with Ellora’s Cave.

What do you think makes a good story?
Characters the reader cares about and a plot with lots of twists and turns and an unexpected ending.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
Yes. I write erotica, so I don’t want people to know about it. “Helena” is close to my real name. “Harker” was suggested by a close friend. I liked the alliteration, so I went for it!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A novelist. I’ve never wanted to be anything else. I’m glad I’ve managed to get published, and it would be fantastic if I could quit my day job someday.

What are your favorite TV shows?
Game of Thrones (I watched all 3 seasons in 3 weeks), Dexter and True Blood. I am quite obsessed with all three. Other than that, my TV is pretty much always on the Disney Channel, because that’s what the kids watch.
What is your favorite meal?
Anything with the word “chocolate” in it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Sometimes I go out and buy margarita mix. Then I kick back and relax while watching TV.

What would we find under your bed?
Lots and lots of dust bunnies! If I have to choose between writing and housework, well, writing ALWAYS wins out!

Helena Harker is a teacher by day, writer by night, a daydreamer who loves to escape to other worlds. Her fiction is populated by strong men, passionate women and lots of steampunk inventions. In her free time she enjoys photography and curling up with a good book.

Camilla is a sexual blackmailer. After a betrayal from her fiancĂ©, she spends her days exacting revenge against men who are unfaithful. Armed with an iron resolve, her Panoptoscope and a handbag filled with instruments of castigation, she becomes a formidable adversary. Her quest for revenge has hardened her heart, but a small part of her still thirsts for passion and the heat of a man’s touch.
Hephaestus is a skilled metallurgist who hammers iron into any shape his imagination desires. When Camilla walks into his forge asking him to repair a pendant, flames of passion ignite between them. After Camilla receives letters that threaten to expose her, she seeks his protection as well as his love. However, in order to melt her heart, Hephaestus must resort to extreme measures to make her see that pardon, not punishment, is needed for love to grow.

Hunting men is a most lucrative occupation, one I enjoy with an ardent passion. As I wait for Lord Aldridge to exit his tent, I silently curse him for choosing to pitch his camp in this godforsaken bog. Although we are barely an hour outside London, it seems I have been transported to the jungles of Borneo. The dank, moist air wreaks havoc with my curls, my riding boots slip through the mud and my walking skirt reeks of rotting leaves and mallard droppings.
Silent, shielded by darkness, I rest my body against the trunk of a tree that leans precariously over the pond and adjust the lens of the Panoptoscope against my eye. Motionless against the elm’s rough bark, I blend into my environment. Although my hiding place is barely ten yards away from Aldridge’s simple canvas tent, he will never see me.
I aim the ‘Scope at my quarry and peer through the lens. How magical. My newest, truly ingenious modification far exceeds my expectations. My contraption allows me to see in the dark, and for a few moments I imagine myself to be a panther lurking in the undergrowth, waiting for the perfect moment to ambush my prey.
The leafless trees appear in various shades of gray, their limbs hanging low, resembling eerie fingers that reach for the tent. Lantern light glows inside, and shadowy figures stir within the canvas walls. Lord Aldridge has brought company. It is not unexpected. After all, Aldridge has many suitors.
All of whom are male.
Come out, Aldridge. Your judgment awaits. Often, I choose to confront men and punish them for their sins. It is a good thing that I do, for who else would pass judgment over them and sentence them for their transgressions? Surely not another man. No, it is a woman’s duty to judge men and determine whether they should be condemned for their actions.
Shadows shift. I catch sight of an arm, a knee, a head. An embrace? I believe so.
Does Aldridge’s wife know about his philandering? How can she not? After tracking his whereabouts for weeks, I know how little time he spends at home. How does she cope with his betrayal? When a man promises to stand by the woman he loves till death do them part, he should be forever bound by that promise or be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Camilla Covington’s consequences.

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