Today, I’ve got author Helen Harper here visiting us to answer a few questions about herself. She’s an urban fantasy author with five different series (Blood Destiny, Bo Blackman, Highland Magic, Dreamweaver, and Olympiana), for a total of twenty-four books published so far. The novel I will be highlighting in this post is Gifted Thief of the Highland Magic series. You can find out more details about it at the end of the post. There is also a giveaway opportunity you don’t want to miss!
Now, on to the interview…
What is the longest you’ve ever stayed awake? Why?
I had the journey to hell once from Scotland to Japan. I was a poor student, traveling there for a semester of study – and I was very green. I took the overnight bus to Heathrow (twelve hours, no sleep), discovered my flight was cancelled when I arrived at the airport but managed to get a seat on an alternative flight to Tokyo (another twelve hours, no sleep), had to wait at Narita airport for a connection (ten hours, no sleep), arrived in Osaka without realising there was a domestic airport AND an international one – and I was being picked up by the university at the International one. I eventually broke down over my suitcase in floods of tears at the main Osaka train station because I didn’t know where I was going or where I was. I think I probably tagged in at around 60 hours by the time I worked everything out and found a bed. It was horrific.
What is your current country of residence? Have you visited other countries?
I’m from Scotland originally and I currently live in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia – but not for much longer! I’m returning to the UK on November 15th and it’d be fair to say I’m terrified. I’ve lived abroad now continuously for almost twelve years and they always say it’s harder going home than it is going away. I’m fully expecting large amounts of reverse culture shock!
I’ve always had itchy feet – I took a gap year and taught English in Thailand when I was 18 and then moved to Tokyo when I was 28. I lived there for four years before switching to Malaysia. It’s a great hub for travel around South East Asia. If more people travelled, then I truly believe that the world would be a better place because we’d understand each other so much more.
Do you have pets? If so, what kind and do they help you write your books?
I have three cats and one dog. For a long time, my house has been a never-ending carousel of various animals and I am a self-confessed cat lady! I’ve had Scout the longest. She’s hopelessly neurotic but she came from a local shelter as an adult cat. She has visible scars around her legs so her life was obviously once not very nice at all. Then there’s Mavis, Scout’s nemesis. She was an abandoned stray at the school I used to work at. She was hit by a car so I took her in while she recovered from a broken hip and she’s never left.
Lara Croft (who’s named that for a reason!) was a stray on my street who kept coming by and refusing to leave. And finally Marlowe the dog who I adopted from a local rescue group. He’s 18 months old and completely dippy. They’re good company when I’m writing – apart from when the cats decide to park their furry arses on the laptop, of course – and Marlowe gives me reason to get dressed and venture outside during the day, otherwise I might never manage it! I think they’re going to find the cold of the UK a considerable shock to their tropical systems…
What genres of books do you like to read?
Everything. Although fantasy has always been my go-to genre, I’ll happily curl up and read just about any book. Reading is just such escapism. With TV or films, my mind often wanders or I’ll get up and have whatever’s on as just background noise. But with a book, my absorption is total. All my strongest memories as a kid revolve around books (I can still my remember my pure, unadulterated joy when I was handed an Enid Blyton book – my first without pictures!). The last book I read was a spy thriller and the one I’ve just started is a family drama. I’m very proud that for the first time in three years, I’ve gotten my TBR list down to under a hundred. I doubt it’ll last though!
Name a few of the TV shows you like to watch.
My top show of all time is The West Wing. I could (and do) watch it over and over again but I have to admit that Buffy The Vampire Slayer comes a close second. I’m also a total sucker for reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race (but don’t tell anyone – I like to pretend I’m cerebral!). If there’s one show that I’ve not heard much buzz about and that I’d like to recommend as I think it should be on everyone’s list, it’s Sense8. Partly because of the sumptuous locations and cinematography but also because the storyline is just wonderful.
What would be your weapon of choice if society crumbled and it was each man/woman for themself?
That one’s easy – the pen. A sword might have more immediate impact but the pen is what will allow any society, no matter how devastated, to survive beyond the initial apocalypse. It can help people to avoid past mistakes, learn from history, acquire knowledge for survival … and if all else fails I can stab someone’s eyeball with it.
Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Helen. I loved hearing about all your pets and world travels. You’ve led an amazing life!
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time although she still fits in creative writing workshops with schools along with volunteering to teach reading to a group of young Myanmar refugees. That’s not to mention the procession of stray cats which seem to find their way to her door!
Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. She currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.
You can visit her at her website here: helenharper.co.uk
Or stop by her Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/HarperFire
Helen has been generous enough to offer five ebook copies of Gifted Thief to individuals selected at random from the comments. Be sure to leave a comment below no later than Wednesday, November 9th for your chance to get a copy. Winners will be contacted soon after that.
Orphan. Runaway. Thief.
Since the moment I was ripped from my mother’s womb, I’ve been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don’t want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I’ve never looked back. I don’t need a Clan. I’ve got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could.
Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I’m going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it’s just as well I have sense of humour. I think I’m going to need it.