What I write and why

by Michelle Helliwell

What am I working on?

No Prince Charming, which is a follow up novel to Not Your Average Beauty. No Prince Charming follows the story of Edmund Pembroke, cousin of Stephen Pembroke, hero of NYAB. I don't want to reveal too much of the story, as NYAB hasn't been released yet, but it concerns Edmund putting it all on the line to protect Lady Gwyneria Snowdon, the book's heroine, from some nasty business. And of course, Gwyneria doesn't particularly think she needs protection, so it will make for some interesting fun and games. As the name suggests, this book is inspired by the story of Snow White. Sparks will fly! Smooching and happily ever after is inevitable. :-D

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough one for me to answer. NYAB hasn't been released yet, so it hasn't gone out to a broad audience, but those who have read my books tell me my stories are different from other historicals -- "haunting" is a word I've heard used. There is some suggestion of magical realism, though my books are neither paranormal nor fantasy in the way we typically think of that genre. I like the slow burn. Is that different? Though I am inspired by many authors, I can't point to another author and say "my books are like this" -- so I guess they are.

Why do I write what I do?

 Three words: I love it. I've tried writing more literary work in the past, I started a time travel adventure in my teens, I've written scores of essays, but nothing resonates with me the way historical romance does. And you know, I am only lately feeling like I can say that is what I write without feeling badly about it--which is a horrible thing. But now, when I talk about it with work colleagues, people tell me how much they love Diana Gabaldon or Tami Hoag or whomever and I think I just needed to get over myself and take pride in what I write. I saw a great post on a fan site once -- I think someone should put it on a bumper sticker -- but it was something to the effect of "don't pee on someone else's squee". So you know, if you like Duck Dynasty or John Locke, good on you. That's your thing. Historical romances are mine.

How does my writing process work?

I enjoy writing but I have to make myself do it most of the time. There is nothing particularly romantic about it. I have a full time job, a husband, 2 kids, pets, etc. Since it's summer I've been training myself to get up at 5:30 while the sun is up early -- and I'm hoping to heaven it sticks when it starts to get dark again. I get up, I pee, and I sit down at my computer (or a scribbler) and write for about an hour before the regular business of living takes over. Sometimes, if I work a little extra during the week at my day job, I try and take a "writing holiday" which means I go to a coffee shop for about a couple hours of writing but those are not plentiful as I'd like. Before I start on a new story I do have to spend some time on a really high level outline, but I am a discovery writer and figure it out as I go. Sometimes I am linear, sometimes I am not. The great thing about writing is that everyone has a different process and it's all correct.

Michelle Helliwell is an aspiring historical romance author and lego video game addict, whose story Not Your Average Beauty won the historical category in the NEORWA Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. She tweets infrequently at @mlhelliwell, blogs more regularly at www.michellehelliwell.com/blog, and pins far too much.


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