Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
This question always gives me pause. What do readers want to know? I don’t lead a particularly entertaining lifestyle. I’d love to say that I have super powers, hang out with rock stars and save endangered tigers in my spare time. The truth is, I’m wife to a great guy, mom to two unique young men and grandmother to a gorgeous baby girl. I have a major soft spot for rescue animals and currently have three dogs and two cats that rule our home. Chronic, late-stage Lyme disease wreaks havoc with my life but also allows me to be home to do what I love most, which is writing.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I don’t think I actually choose anything I write, whether that be the genre or the particular plot. My first six books are various forms of suspense, from romantic to straight suspense to dark comedy. My new novel – Into The Light – is not as easily defined. It’s completely different than my usual writing, perhaps a paranormal mystery though that genre is not exactly a comfortable fit, either.
Human nature fascinates me. In my writing, I explore what drives our behavior. Why does one person choose to kill, while another, in a similar situation, does not? When faced with difficult choices, what drives our decisions? Much of this takes me in the direction of a suspense novel, though genre is never on my mind until the book is written and I need to decide how to label it for marketing purposes.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My newest release, to be published in July, is called Into The Light. As I mentioned earlier, this is a bit of a diversion in my typical writing style. Max, the main character, popped into my head one day with a story to tell. I expected that story to move in one direction but Max took it down a different path. That’s one of my favorite things about being a writer – those moments when characters come alive and lead the way. Here is the blurb:
Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.
Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there.
Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Most of my books are entirely fictional in content, though bits and pieces of my life and people I know are woven in. I don’t think it’s possible to be a writer without drawing from personal experiences from time to time.
That being said, my sixth book, The Cutting Edge, has a large amount of content that is drawn directly from my life. The book is about a hairstylist in a small town, whose job and clients are pushing her close to the edge of sanity – and toward murder. I was a stylist for fifteen years, in a small salon in the same small town I set this story in. All of the clients are based largely on real clients from my real salon. And almost all of the incidents and conversations truly did take place within that real salon.
One reviewer accused me of inventing such annoying clients that the story was ridiculous and impossible to believe. That made me laugh. I could never have invented these people. I only changed names and minor facts to protect the innocent and hide the guilty. This is a case when truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite chapter to write is always the first. That’s when the story is being born for me, the characters and, eventually, the readers. At that point, I’m just getting to know the characters and finding a path through the endless possibilities. I think I’m addicted to that adrenaline rush, which might explain the drawer full of “beginnings” I have yet to complete.
Is it terrible to admit that I fall in love with all my characters? I even love the bad ones! For the most part, I let them go when I set their books free in the world. But there are a few I’d like to revisit at some point. On the top of that list is Vinnie, a minor character from my novel Hit List. He began as a character of convenience, one that popped in to help with some background and add a little flavor to the story. While his part remained relatively small, his character, to me, is huge. There is much about Vinnie that is waiting to be explored.
As for themes and ideas I’ve love to work with, yes, there are several. These plot ideas bang around my head but have yet to find traction. I am not able to write from a plot outline and I can’t grab and issue and decide to write about it, no matter how much I’d like to. Characters always come first in my writing. The plot has to fit the character and the character, for me, leads the way.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
A combination of both! When forced to choose, chocolate almost always wins out.
The light side or the dark side?
Definitely the dark side! I enjoy inspirational stories and stories that are fun and make me laugh. But I’m drawn in by the shadows and the darkness.
What sort of coffee would you order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
I don’t drink coffee at all and never have. When I was younger, my mother used to tell me that I’d develop a taste for it. That never happened. I’m a tea drinker. If you see me at Starbucks, I’d be ordering a chai soy latte. (I like it better with soy milk, though I do occasionally use regular cow’s milk.) At home, I love to start my day with a double dark chocolate mate latte.
What pets have graced your life? Which was your least favorite? What do you think the coolest pet to have would be?
Over the years, I’ve had dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils. I’ve never disliked any of our pets. If I had to choose a least favorite, that would probably be the guinea pigs only because of the constant cleaning and their musky smell. I will always think that dogs are the coolest pets to have.
Message Board – for readers and writers: http://www.BestsellerBound.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Darcia-Helle/e/B002LTMF7O/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_8
Also available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony’s Reader store, Diesel and Apple’s iBookstore. Signed copies and purchase links available on my website.