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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reading in the Sun - Interview with Helen Pollard & Giveaway

About Helen Pollard

A Yorkshire lass at heart, I’m glad to say I outgrew my rebellious teenage vow never to be stuck in the suburbs with a husband and the obligatory two kids . . . I’m happily married, have two almost-independent almost-adults, and it turns out I don’t mind suburbia after all!

We share space with a Jekyll and Hyde cat that alternates between being obsessively affectionate and viciously psychotic. Antiseptic cream is always close at hand.

I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. It went on the back burner while I juggled work and bringing up a family, but as the kids grew older and I started to write again, it was like rediscovering an old love. When I’m writing, my characters magically take over and I’m caught up in their story – until I realise my son has no clean socks, the casserole is burning and the cat is jumping on my keyboard because I’ve neglected to feed her for . . . oh, at least forty minutes.

When I’m not writing, it goes without saying that I love to read, especially authors who can take me out of myself and into another world. To name but a few:
Andrea Camilleri (mystery, humour and great characters)
P.G. Wodehouse (such a wonderful turn of phrase)
Alexander McCall Smith’s tales of Mma Ramotswe (uplifting and thought-provoking)
Mary Stewart (old-fashioned feisty heroines)
Nora Roberts (pure romance and a good helping of sizzle!)

I also like decent coffee, scrapbooking and old eighties TV shows (Magnum, Cagney & Lacey, Starsky & Hutch . . .)

Find out more at



1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in Yorkshire with my husband, two almost-adults and a Jekyll & Hyde cat – antiseptic cream is always close at hand!

When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading if my eyes aren’t too tired from being at a screen a lot of the time. I don't watch much TV nowadays – maybe the odd movie or sitcom, but a series has to be really good to keep my attention. I try to go for a short walk once a day to blow away the cobwebs, and I enjoy treating myself to a coffee and a chat with friends when I can.

2. What kind of books do you bring with you when you go on holiday?

I like a mixture, so I might alternate between romance/chick lit/thrillers/something gentle but wise like Alexander McCall Smith. I wouldn’t take anything too ‘worthy’ on holiday, but would enjoy something that I could really escape into because I wouldn’t feel guilty about allowing myself the time.

3. If you could spend a sunny day anywhere how would your perfect day look like?

A morning stroll in an interesting town or city, with a coffee sitting outside in the sunshine, people-and-building watching.

I love the coast and the sound of the waves on the beach. It instills me with a real sense of calm. So maybe an afternoon walking along ,and then sitting on the beach with a good book (as long as it isn’t too hot!)

4. Could you tell us about your hobbies (when you are not writing or reading)?

A friend introduced me to card-making and scrapbooking a few years ago, which was a good creative outlet at a point in my life when I wasn’t writing. I can’t draw for toffee, but I realized I do have an eye for the visual. Since I took up writing again, that’s gone by the wayside, but I still have all the stuff and would like to get back into it again, given spare time . . .

5. Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I honestly don’t know! I’m not one of these writers who sits in coffee shops overhearing snippets of conversation and then building a story around them - more’s the pity!

Having a setting or place in mind helps me - I wouldn’t say it inspires a whole story, but if I can visualize somewhere in my head, I start to imagine who might be there and why, and then build a story around them.

6. If you could be any leading character from a bestselling book, who would you be and why?

Maybe Bertie Wooster – that way, I could be pampered and I could get clever Jeeves to solve all my problems for me!

7. What's your favorite reading spot?

We had a little sun room built at the back of the house recently, and there is a comfy chair there that I like to curl up in.

8. What is your favorite holiday destination and what do you like so much about it?

I wouldn’t say I have a favorite, but I am drawn to the coast.

I’d love to revisit Portugal sometime soon, as it’s years since I’ve been and it has the best of all worlds – great cities, fab coastline, friendly people.

9. Do you have any advice for authors who would like to write a sunny story?

I would say that you need to instill your story with a real sense of place – people pick up a sunny read because they want to be transported there. Yes, you can use internet research etc., but it’s better if you’ve been to a place yourself – it’s more than just sights, but also the sounds and the smell and the feel of a place that you need to convey.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

Return to The Little French Guesthouse, the sequel to The Little French Guesthouse, is due for release on 26th August!


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One very lucky reader will win a signed paperback of The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. What a great interview! Really enjoyed reading this, thanks.

  2. Loved the interview :) Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nice to meet you, Helen. I enjoyed reading about you and congrats on the new book!

  4. Enjoyed the interview and the book sounds great

  5. This book sounds absolutely charming.

  6. Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors :)
    Thanks for the lovely interview! :)

    1. Yes, Nora can always be relied upon, can't she? Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Great interview and your Jekyll & Hyde cat sure made me chuckle (then again, when I was a kid my best friend had a cat who was pure 1% Jekyll and 99% Hyde, so I can emphatise).

    1. Hi Birgit, Thanks for stopping by. I had a childhood friend whose cat was PURE evil. It would wait for me behind bushes on my way home from school and leap out to scratch the back of my legs ... and would you believe, it was called Fluff!! So mine seems quite cuddly in comparison :)

  8. Congratulations for your new book, Helen!

  9. That Jekyll & Hyde cat comment cracked me up :) I can totally imagine! I enjoyed the interview a lot. I feel like I knoe you a bit more now and I'm looking forward to read your books.

  10. Great interview and I love the cover. I used to help my mum run a guesthouse in was fun!

    1. Thanks, Ellen :) Bath must be a lovely place to run a guesthouse!

  11. It would be great to win a signed paperback
    of The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard.
    I enjoyed reading your interview.
    This sounds like a book i would enjoy reading.I like the book cover.
    Thank you for having this giveaway.

  12. I'd love to live in a town that I visited and fell in love with :) Yes I'd take the chance if my boyfriend was a jerk and ran off with someone else during OUR vacation, lol Yes, I'd love to read the book! :)

    1. A wise imaginary choice, Jan! Thanks for stopping by :)