her blog, and she is a fabulous generous soul. So TODAY, Helena is going to tell us about some of her Experiences (and I capitalized that on purpose—some of them are BIG), both with learning to be a super spy (seriously—look at the pics!) and with self publishing. (she had an ALMOST series of experiences with agent and publisher, and finally decided to go for it)
So without further ado, WELCOME HELENA!
First I’m giving a big hug to Hart for hosting me today. It’s a thrill to be here.
Her Tartness asked me to talk about my Becoming Layla plan. Layla Daltry, you see, is the heroine of my thriller The Compass Master, and she’s many things I’m not, such as under 30 (I’m so past 50), financially well-off (I’m so not), an antiquities hunter and scholar of ancient manuscripts who lives in a Dublin penthouse and has adventures in exotic places and… you get the picture.
Anyway, a couple years ago I had an agent who came this close to finding a publisher for my novel. When that fell through I was very discouraged and planned to self-publish, then started rewriting my manuscript. But I was also going crazy. I found that I really needed to DO exciting things and not just write about Layla’s adventure. For some of us writers there can be the temptation to live vicariously through our imaginations instead of being real. So I thought, what about using my main character as a role model? Why not develop skills she has that I’ve always wanted but never pursued because daily life and lack of funds kept holding me back?
I tackled her toughest skill first – Parkour/ freerunning. It’s climbing jumping bouncing off walls flying leaping tumbles and OMG I was DEAD after each sadistic class in the course. I was also the only female and by far the oldest. But working out with teenaged and twenty-something guys showed me how to make realistic changes to Layla’s action scenes. BONUS: one guy was a lock picking whiz who gave me great pointers. I’m now picking away.
My WORST Layla experience was Aikido. Years ago I studied taekwando, so I’m used to martial arts discipline. But in my fifth beginner Aikido class an idiot black belt threw me to the floor and cracked five of my ribs and my left lung half collapsed. Then the emergency room doctor failed to diagnose these injuries and I walked around for a week before another doctor freaked and sent me to a hospital. The one bright element to this grim episode was my realizing how Layla should also sustain injuries, but because she’s on a desperate hunt she must keep going. Talk about writing from experience. I added this angle and love how it gives the story more tension and reality.
|Ready... get set...|
Here’s a shortened blurb for my book. The longer blurb is on the Amazon page for The Compass Master and here on Hart’s Sunday (10/23) piece.
As an antiquities hunter and scholar, Layla Daltry balances on the edge of the law and takes too many risks. Yet even she isn’t prepared for the unseen enemy who traps her in a deadly endgame and forces her to search for extraordinary lost biblical epistles. If she fails, the epistles will disappear forever and her life and those of people she loves may come to a swift end.
Thank you, Hart, for your support and naked enthusiasm. And happy writing to all you readers here today.
And Thank YOU, Helena! I really wish you a ton of luck with your book!
Now what are you all waiting for?! (this is a CHRISTMAS gift type of book... seriously—look how pretty it is)