A warm welcome today to Helga Jensen-Forde. Can you tell us a little about yourself and the RNA, Helga.
I joined the RNA NWS a couple of years ago. I submitted my manuscript to the NWS and received great feedback. After following the suggested edits, I received a two-book publishing contract with Hera Books. I was then made a full RNA member and am absolutely delighted to be a part of this wonderful organisation. It really is one of the best out there.
I second that! How did you decide on the names for your characters and the setting for your book?
The main character always had to be called Amelia. I absolutely adore Amelia Earhart, and so there was only ever one name for my protagonist. Her friend is called Sian as I wanted a popular welsh name to reflect the welsh setting. The male in the story is called Jamie as my mother always loved that name so that one was for her. I also knew that I had to set a novel in Wales as it is such a beautiful country and perfect for novels.
How long did the book take to write? How much re-writing do you do?
I wrote the book in three months. However, the editing took much longer. The first draft was very rough, and nothing like the book is now. I wanted to finish my degree before going back to it, so I did step away from it for a few years. Once my degree was completed last year, it was time for full-on editing. It was good to have that time away from it, though. I think that was important.
What is your writing day like?
I try to be disciplined, but it’s not always easy when you have a teenager and a naughty labradoodle in the house! Although I usually have good intentions when I wake up, it usually is about 11 am before I eventually sit down in the study. My writing schedule depends on what the deadlines are like. I work better under pressure as I make sure I get things done; otherwise, I can procrastinate.
What was your journey to publication?
I have always wanted to write since I was young. I worked as a freelance journalist but desperately wanted to write novels too. For years I sent out many terrible drafts to poor agents and had well-deserved rejections! I then went on workshops and studied the craft a lot more. Finally, I did a course in Dubai in 2016 to finish my novel in 3 months. The following year the first chapter was a winning entry in a writing competition at the Emirates Literary Festival. This gave me the confidence to pursue my dream career. I then did an English Literature and Creative Writing degree. I planned to do a Creative Writing MA to help me get published. However, in the first few weeks of starting my MA, I had a wonderful publishing contract with Hera Books. It’s been a hectic time with two books and an MA on the go, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who were your favourite childhood authors?
Most definitely Enid Blyton and Hans Christian Andersen. These two wonderful writers inspired me.
What book do you wish you had written?
The Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella. I adore them. They are so fun, and that’s what I want to achieve with my writing. I want readers to escape to a land of fun where nothing is taken too seriously.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
To keep on writing. It is so important not to give up. If you want to succeed in getting published, you need tenacity. This determination is definitely worth it when you finally reach the end goal and see your name on that first book cover.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I am writing something a little different to my debut, Twice in a Lifetime. It is set in Denmark, and although it will be a romantic comedy, the characters are pretty different to my first book. I am excited about it even though that deadline is approaching far too fast!
Helga Jensen is a freelance journalist and award-winning author. In 2020 Helga secured a two-book publishing contract with Hera books. Twice in a Lifetime, her debut, was published in June 2021, and her second novel is due out in spring 2022. Helga is of Danish/Welsh parentage and holds a BA Hons in English Literature and Creative Writing and is currently finishing her Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa University.
Amelia might have met The One. But is she twenty years too late?
After her husband left her out of the blue, the only relationship 48-year-old Amelia Simpson has enjoyed recently is with Nutella and Pinot Grigio. While her 8-year-old twin boys, Jasper and Rupert, keep her busy, Amelia dreams of a life more than washing muddy rugby kits and weekly chats with best friends Sian and Jamie.
Amelia needs some magic back in her life – but magic seems in short supply in her small Welsh town. So when she finds the phone number that was given to her twenty years ago by a handsome stranger in New York, Amelia wonders whether he might be The One That Got Away.
But when Sian takes matters into her own hands, launching a worldwide hunt to find the handsome stranger Amelia met outside Tiffany’s two decades ago, Amelia finds herself on a flight to the Big Apple to reconnect with her ‘Perfect Patrick’.
But as the two explore the sights of NYC, has Amelia reconnected with The One? Or will she discover that the sparkle she was missing is actually closer to home?
A gorgeously funny and heart-warming debut romcom for fans of Sophie Ranald, Jo Watson and Beth O’Leary.
Amazon link – https://t.co/YcUeRZLH5b?amp=1
Helga was talking to Karen King. Karen is a multi-published bestselling author of fiction for both adults and children. She has also written several short stories for women’s magazines. Currently published by Bookouture and Headline. Karen writes about the light and dark of relationships. Her debut psychological thriller, The Stranger in my Bed, was published by Bookouture in November 2020 and her second one, The Perfect Stepmother, was published in June 2021. She is also contracted to write three romance novels for Headline, the first one, One Summer in Cornwall, was published on 29 April 2021 and the second one, The Best Christmas Ever, will be published in October 2021.