The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Helen Scott Taylor with us. Helen is here to talk a little about the second book in her Magic Knot Fairies series that began with her debut novel The Magic Knot.
She told me, "I’ve received some lovely emails from people who’ve read The Magic Knot. I get a lovely rush of pleasure every time I read that someone has enjoyed my book. That makes all the hard work worthwhile."
Her newest book, The Phoenix Charm, will be released on December 29th. I asked her to tell us a little about it.
"It's the second book in my contemporary fantasy romance series," she said. "It’s set in England and Wales in a world based on Celtic mythology. In this book, the hero Michael has to visit the Welsh Fairy King who rules the Underworld to rescue his baby nephew."
She also has a new novella, "The Feast of Beauty," that will be included in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance, due out January 26, 2010.
Helen is staying busy writing the third story in the Magic Knot Fairies series called The Ruby Kiss. It will be Nightshade's story (for those familiar with this series, Nightshade is the vampiric character with wings) and is scheduled for release on December 28, 2010.
She also reading The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. Helen has been invited to write a novella for inclusion in the second Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and wanted to check out the stories.
"There are some great reads in the book," she said, "and I'm really enjoying it."
"What inspired you to start writing?" I wondered.
"I started writing because I had a dream one night that I should. I know this sounds like something out of a novel, but it is absolutely true. Up until that dream, I hadn’t even thought of writing. Maybe it was my subconscious telling me to write, or it could have been my guardian angel giving me a wakeup call."
Helen dabbled a little in writing starting in 2001, but didn't consider herself a writer until she seriously started taking classes in 2003 to learn the craft. She completed her first full-length novel.
"This book was a short contemporary and it is now languishing on my computer hard drive," she told me. "But I learned heaps while writing that book."
Along with writing, Helen also runs a business, and her desk serves as the key point for both of these activities. She described it as "very cluttered."
"Periodically I tidy the desk, but I am just untidy and it only takes a few days to get into a mess again," she admitted. "My husband’s desk is next to mine and his is tidy."
She likes to take care of her office work and writing related jobs like email and promo in the morning, then she writes in the afternoon and evening.
"I'm a night bird," she told me, "and my brain doesn't fire up until after lunch. I work best late in the day when everyone else in my family has gone to bed."
When she's not writing, she enjoys walking. Even that becomes writing related, though, because she plots in her head as she walks. Her favorite pastime, however, is reading.
"My tastes are eclectic," she said. "I like reading books that are very different from my own. At the moment, I'm reading a lot of Harlequin Presents and Little Black Dress."
"How do you come up with the titles to your books?" I asked.
"I brainstorm titles and they can come from just about anywhere. Sometimes titles come out of my research for the story before I start writing, other times they come to me as I’m writing the story. I’ve been lucky that so far my editor has accepted all my titles."
On a personal note, Helen admitted that she use to hate how she looked in pictures.
"My daughter took a photography course when she was younger," she explained. "She took so many photos of me that she cured me. I think age has also made me more philosophical about my looks."
I wondered, "When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?"
"I don’t remember looking in the mirror," she said. "I must have done so because I brushed my hair—or I think I did. I’m so focused on what is going on inside my head that I don’t think about my appearance much, especially when I’m writing a first draft and my head is occupied with creating the story."
If Helen could wish for anything, it would be that her cat would live as long as Helen did.
"She is getting old and I dread the day I lose her," she told me. "She is my constant companion and the inspiration for the cat character Tamsy in The Phoenix Charm. I wish I had a spiritual connection with my cat as my heroine does with Tamsy."
Some random things about Helen:
A saying she uses a lot: "If you have the choice of being right or being kind, then be kind."
She must have eaten a crayon when she was little, but she doesn't remember. Her mom did tell her that once she swallowed a marble.
She often cries at movies. "It's always the happy bits that get to me," she shared.
She thinks scientists should invent self-cleaning domestic appliances, because she hates cleaning.
She only drinks Diet Coke, because she doesn't like Pepsi or regular Coke.
Finally, I asked her, "What do you want to know about the future?"
"I'd love to know that both my kids live happy successful lives. That would cut down on my stress over them now."
You can keep up with Helen on her website, http://www.helenscotttaylor.com