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Friday, August 26, 2016

Let's welcome author Helena Halme!

Welcome author Helena! Thanks for joining me here. 

What should my followers know about you? Well, I guess the most important thing about me is that I am an author from Finland! I’ve lived in the UK for a very long time, however, (over 30 years) and write in English, but my books are all set, at least partly, in Scandinavia.

What inspired you to begin writing? I’ve always written something. When I moved to the UK to marry my Englishman, I wrote a diary in both Finnish and in English, but it wasn’t until I took an MA in Creative Writing in 2004 that I started writing novels.  

Why did you focus on this genre? Writing romance came as a bit of surprise to me, really. During the MA, I wrote a quite a serious book about family and displacement, COFFEE AND VODKA, but even that book is really a romance. The central story in the novel is that of a woman, Eeva, trying to come to terms with her past so that she can love again. When I began blogging about ten years ago (how time flies!), a lot of my followers asked me why I moved to the UK. I decided to write a few posts on how I met and fell in love with my Englishman at the British Embassy cocktail party in Helsinki. He was a handsome Royal Navy Officer and I was a shy student, engaged to be married. Suddenly after 20 posts, I realised I was writing a romantic novel. When THE ENGLISHMAN first came out, it got such good reception, I decided to carry on writing in that genre, and I totally love it!

Are you working on any other books? I’ve published three books in THE ENGLISHMAN series. THE FINNISH GIRL is a prequel novella (free to download from my website for a limited time only), and tells the story of Kaisa at the age of 15, when she falls for a much older man. It’s been dubbed ‘The Nordic Lolita’ and is based on true events, just like THE ENGLISHMAN.
THE NAVY WIFE, which is a sequel to THE ENGLISHMAN is more fictional and follows Kaisa’s life when she first moves to England to be with her beloved Englishman, Peter. It has quite a dramatic twist in the end!
I’m just putting the final touches to the fourth book, THE GOOD OFFICER, which is coming out this October. It follows Kaisa and Peter as they try to rebuild their lives after the disastrous events, which take place in the previous book.
There’s also going to be a box-set of the three first books in the series soon, with an exciting offer just before Christmas, so look out for that!
All the books are also standalone reads.

Okay, here's a challenge. Sum up your current book in TWO sentences. THE GOOD OFFICER is a story of Finnish student Kaisa and her handsome Navy Officer husband Peter, who after a short and turbulent marriage find themselves living in two different countries – once more. Can they overcome the past and love again?

Where can people buy your book? All my books are available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and other online retailers. Here [DAVID can you embed please, thanks!] is a universal link to THE ENGLISHMAN, which is now free to download for a limited period only! My paperback copies are also stocked by North London bookshops such as West End Lane Books and Daunts, and can be ordered from other bookshops.

What are the 3 words that best describe you? Blonde, loving, shy.

Tell us about your work, away from writing? When I first moved to the UK, I worked as a journalist for the BBC, and until recently, ran a Finnish/British cultural association in London. I now write full time and work part-time for The Alliance of Independent Authors as Publications Manager and Nordic Ambassador.

What hobbies do you enjoy? I love food, so have to exercise to (try) and keep the pounds piling on. Walking my terrier twice a day helps! Of course as an author, I read a lot. Plus writing still feels like a hobby, even though it’s my full-time occupation now. I can’t believe how lucky I am.

What would people be most surprised to see on your Kindle or bookshelf? I completely love Nordic Noir, and read a lot of chilly murder mysteries set somewhere in a dark, isolated wood in Scandinavia. I guess it’s the Finn in me, wanting to read about misery while writing about love.

What are you currently reading? I’m reading ‘Truly, Madly, Guilty’ by Liane Moriarty, one of my favourite authors in my own genre of romance.

Tell me your 3 favourite authors? Only three!? This is difficult …OK:
Liane Moriarty
Jojo Moye
Doris Lessing
Ask me again tomorrow and you’ll get a different list!

I love music, and always interested in the musical tastes of other people. Tell me your 3 favourite songs, if you can? You specialise in difficult questions? Here goes
Anything by David Bowie (I just can’t choose; it’s the songbook of my life)
     ‘I’m Not Dead’ by Pink
     ‘Song 2’ by Blur (Best if you can sing – or scream – along)

What song best describes your life? ‘I’m Not Dead’ by Pink

In the story of your life, who would you like to play you? I’d love the Swedish actor, Alicia Vikander to play me. She’d have to go a little blonder for the role, though. But wouldn’t she be perfect as Kaisa?

Who is the person, living or dead, you would most like to spend a day with? Doris Lessing. She was such a brilliant author, and thinker. I can’t believe she’s passed.

Finally, what’s next for you? I’m writing the last (I think!) book in THE ENGLISHMAN series. It’s going to have quite heart-breaking events in it, so it’ll be a difficult one to write, but at the same time I cannot wait to get back to plotting the fate of my favourite characters.

You can download for FREE, "THE ENGLISHMAN" here


  1. David, Thank you so much for having me! It was such fun replying to your questions, although the one on my three favourite authors was really, really hard!

  2. My list of fave authors changes all the time too :)