I am delighted to invite author and fellow Yorkshire lass, Helen Pollard over to my blog for a chat about her new release, The Little French Guesthouse. Over to you, Helen:
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I live in West Yorkshire, only a train ride into Leeds or a car journey into the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Best of both worlds!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I think secretly I always wanted to be a writer. I had a fierce love of reading and it fired my imagination.
List three words to describe yourself.
Loyal, conscientious, creative.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
Gosh, that’s a question! My mind’s a total blank, but my husband has suggested Diane Keaton. Do you think she can do a Yorkshire accent?! *definitely*
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
Oh dear. Chocolate. Or Pom-Bear crisps.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Super-worrying! I could take it to whole new heights.
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
As a child, I loved reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Magic Faraway Tree’ books. I loved the way she created whole new worlds, so I started writing my own stories. I continued to write as a hobby into my teens, then in my early twenties I sent a romance or two to a publisher with no success. I didn’t write at all while my family was young and I later went back to work (no time and too tired!) but as the kids grew up, the urge to write was nagging at me so I started again about six years ago, hoping to get published.
I don’t read as much as I should, as my eyes are often too tired after staring at a screen all day. I don’t watch much TV, but I do enjoy the odd movie or decent programme. I’m really enjoying The Durrells at the moment. I go for a short walk once a day for fresh air, and I enjoy meeting up with friends occasionally for coffee and a chat. And of course I love spending time with my husband and kids if they’re around. I used to enjoy scrapbooking years ago, but now I’m writing again, I don’t have time. I’d like to get back into it eventually.
Where did the inspiration for The Little French Guesthouse come from?
I’d had the opening scene in the back of my mind for years – how would someone feel if they caught their boyfriend with an older woman rather than a younger woman? – but I wasn’t writing at the time. Then we were on holiday in a gîte in France one summer, and I thought, ‘This is it! This is where that scene takes place!’ Once I could picture the setting in my mind, I was desperate to get started and so I began writing again . . . and the story evolved from there.
You are a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. How has this group helped you develop as a writer of romantic fiction?
I joined the RNA at the beginning of 2015 and suddenly, my online world of friends expanded with like-minded people. Members of the RNA are a friendly lot and very supportive of each other, and everyone understands each other’s writerly anxieties and issues!
I’ve met a few members in ‘real life’ which is lovely. We meet now and again to catch up with news and share information – always helpful, and an encouraging boost.
I would definitely recommend it. You make new friends, give and receive support, and learn so much in online conversations. And of course it opens up a whole new world of books to add to your TBR list!
Where do you do your writing?
In the attic. It’s supposed to be a study, but inevitably it’s full of piles of stuff we mean to sort out some day but never do. I have to keep my eyes on the screen and mentally block out the mess!
Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel?
I wish I could tell you it happened like it does in the movies. You know the kind of thing. The heroine standing proud, oozing restrained fury. The audience’s satisfaction as she delivers a reverberating slap across her lover’s face. Her dramatic but dignified exit from the screen.
Believe me, there was nothing dignified about it. All I did was stand there shaking, rage and adrenalin coursing through my body like rabid greyhounds, my mouth flapping open and shut as I tried to find the words. Any words. Even a simple sound of outrage would have sufficed, but all I managed was a pathetic squeak.
‘Emmy, it’s not what it looks like,’ Nathan spluttered, but of course it couldn’t be anything other than what it looked like. My view as I stumbled through the door had been graphically explicit. Even he must have known how lame he sounded. Grappling for dignity and his belt, he tried again. ‘We were… I mean, I didn’t expect you to…’
I launched into a wronged-woman tirade as though someone had handed me a bad soap script.
‘No, I bet you didn’t expect me to…’ An alarm bell clanged dimly at the back of my brain, but I ignored it. ‘How could you? You cheating bastard! I can’t believe you…’ The clanging grew louder and more insistent, moving to the front of my consciousness. ‘Shit!’ With a guilty jolt, I remembered why I’d come all the way up here in the first place. ‘Gloria, you need to call an ambulance. I think Rupert’s having a heart attack.’
‘What?’ Adjusting her dress, Gloria greeted this sudden change of subject with bewilderment.
‘Rupert. Your husband, remember? Heart attack. Ambulance.’ I gave her bangled arm a nudge to see if her brain was still functioning or whether sex with my boyfriend was more spectacular than I gave him credit for.
‘Ohmygod. Ohmygod.’ The message finally got through to her lust-addled brain cells. ‘Where is he?’
‘Kitchen.’ I headed for the stairs, my mind thankfully back on the emergency at hand and pushing visions of Nathan and Gloria romping on the roof terrace to the rear of my consciousness. For now, remarkably, there were more important things to worry about.
‘What do you mean, a heart attack?’ Gloria shouted after me. ‘Why the hell didn’t you call an ambulance?’
‘I tried, but then I realised I didn’t know the number, and besides, my French isn’t good enough,’ I called over my shoulder. ‘I thought it would be quicker to get you to do it. I had no idea you’d be so busy.’
‘Ohmygod, Emmy. He could be dead by now!’
She was right – he could be dead by now – but when we reached the kitchen, to my immense relief, Rupert was still conscious and sitting propped against the wall the way I’d left him. I’d done my best, but I hadn’t expected to lose precious moments with the melodrama upstairs. I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if he had stopped breathing.
What can we expect from you in the future?
The Little French Guesthouse is the first of a three-book series, so I’m currently working on the sequel, due out later this summer.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can find me at my website and blog
and also on
Thanks so much for having me as a guest on the blog! My pleasure, Helen x