Romantic Novelists' Association

Helena Dixon – Trouble In Paradise

10 August 2021

We are delighted to welcome Helena Dixon to the blog today to talk about her latest release. Helena, could you tell us a little more about it?

This is actually a release with a difference. Trouble in Paradise is actually a re-release of a very special book. Originally it was called Animal Instincts and it won the RONA award back in 2010 under my Nell Dixon writing name. It was published by Little Black Dress which was an enormously popular line of books. I was really thrilled when my agent, Kate Nash, managed to persuade Headline to do a refresh and bring the book back for a new audience under my Helena Dixon writing name. The story is set on an Animal Sanctuary complete with Dave, the badly behaved parrot.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

What prompted you to tell this story? My husband, Dave, is rubbish at listening to me when I try to talk about my plots with him. He isn’t a reader and although he tries to help, well, he doesn’t really. For years his reply used to be ‘has it got a dog in it?’. If I said no, he would suggest I add a dog and give me the plot of Lassie Come Home. So, when that failed he said, ‘put a parrot in it. Everyone likes parrots.’ I got so tired of this that I thought you know what? I will. So, I wrote the book and called the parrot Dave after my husband. Unlike my husband the parrot has a foul mouth thanks to having been kept in a brothel so poor Clodagh can’t rehome him.

How did you decide on the names for your characters and the setting for your book?

My characters always come named in my head before I start. Clive the ginger cat and Nigel the giant dog were named after old school friends of my husband. The setting was inspired by a small sanctuary near my house. They are always struggling for funds and many builders would like their land as it’s on the edge of green belt.

When did you realise you wanted to be an author?

All my life. Ever since I was young, I’ve had stories running through my head. I used to spend hours daydreaming and populating my fictional worlds. I love books and reading. I wrote my first book when I was 17. It was pretty terrible and will never see the light of day but it took a major health issue in my thirties to make me wake up and realise that my 40th birthday was looming and if I was ever going to write a book and try for publication now was the time.

If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?

Just do it. Go for it. Push yourself more and have more faith in your ability to write. When I was at secondary school my English teacher, Mr Cox, told my parents that I’d be a published author one day. I think I was 13 at the time. He had faith in me so I think I should have had more faith in myself.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read. Read as much as you can. It helps you get an instinctive feel for the flow of words, pacing, dialogue and settings. Look at why you like some books more than others and then look at how you can use those skills in your own work. Read to find out the current trends in your genre or niche.

Can you tell us what you are working on now?

I’m currently working on my Miss Underhay series. These are murder mysteries set in 1930’s Torbay in Devon. There is a romance in there too between Kitty and Matt. They are under my Helena Dixon writing name and are proving hugely popular having scored bestseller flags in the US, Australia and Canada and with translations in Italy and Bulgaria. I’m currently writing book 8 in the series and have just signed a new contract to write 3 more books in the series. The first book is Murder At The Dolphin Hotel with Murder At Elm House the latest release in the series.

About the Author

Helena Dixon splits her time between the Black Country and Devon. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, and a crazy cockapoo. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 and Love Story of the Year 2010 as Nell Dixon. She now writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime.

Nell enjoys hearing from readers and you can read her news and contact her via her website  or visit her blog  Helena can be found on Twitter – @NellDixon – Instagram @HelenaDixon and you can friend her on Facebook

Where to buy Helena’s books:

Murder At Elm House

Trouble In Paradise

Helena was talking to Ruby Moone.

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.