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Saturday, January 8, 2011
Author Interview: Helen Scott Taylor
The Long and the Short of It: LASR is pleased to welcome Helen Scott Taylor, whose latest work "The Crystal Crib" appears in the anthology A Midwinter Fantasy, published by Dorchester Publishing and is linked to her previous works in the Magic Knot fairy world.
The Magic Knot Fairy series is set in the mystical rural depths of present-day England, Ireland and Wales. The first book in the series, The Magic Knot, was the American Title IV winner, along with being chosen the Best Book of the Week by LASR readers and garnering several other accolades.
Astute accountant Rosenwyn Tremain thought she had life all worked out.
She thought her mother was exaggerating the danger when she pleaded with her not to search for her father.
She thought the three linked stone rings her mother gave her were just strange jewelry.
She thought monsters only existed in story books.
She thought she was human.
How wrong can one woman be!
When Rose discovers she is the Cornish pisky queen and her father is a dark druid who has imprisoned her people in portraits, the race is on to discover the fairy lore needed to release her people before her father destroys the piskies forever.
She seeks help from the sinfully sexy Irish fairy twins, the O'Connor brothers. Niall's faint air of menace flutters dark thrills of anticipation through her, but does he want to kiss her or kill her when she accidentally touches his Magic Knot and forges a mystical lovers' bond with him? And can she resist the seductive glamour of his mischievous brother Michael?
With the survival of the Cornish piskies in her hands, Rose must escape from a vampiric, winged fairy, outwit The Queen of Nightmares and surrender her mind, body and spirit to Niall to release her hidden inner fairy. The Tarot cards warn he will stab her in the back, but when she's in his arms, the last thing on her mind is death.
The second book of the series, The Phoenix Charm, also garnered rave reviews, including a Best Book rating from The Long and the Short of It.
HE'S PURE TEMPTATION.
Cordelia has sworn she'll abstain from looking into Michael's future--particularly when the image in the gilded smoke of her divination mirror shows him half naked. Yet she can't resist watching the sexy rascal slowly running his hand down his ribs, over his abdomen, flicking open the button on his jeans with a little flourish like a magician performing a trick.
SHE'S TRYING TO RESIST.
Respectable wise woman Cordelia restrains her secret water nymph sensuality with the Celtic symbols painted on her skin. But Michael's powerful fairy glamour leaves her breathless, off balance, struggling for control. When Gwyn ap Nudd, the Welsh King of the Underworld, steals away Michael's infant nephew, Cordelia must work with him to save the child. But how can she trust her instincts with Michael tempting her to explore the hidden elemental depths of her nature and insisting that she believe in the power of...The Phoenix Charm.
"The Crystal Crib" is set in Iceland and draws on Norse mythology.
"I enjoyed exploring Norse mythology and using some of the Norse gods as characters," Helen said. "I have concentrated on Celtic mythology up until now. Even though the hero and heroine have not appeared in the other books, it is still closely linked to the series."
So far, Helen's been able to keep all her own titles, which isn't always the case when it comes to publishing houses. And, she loves coming up with the titles.
"Usually the title comes to me before I start writing the book," she explained, "and is often part of the ideas process. The title is usually spawned by something I hear or read during research."
Helen has recently been reading a lot of YA books and listed to the audio version of The Hunger Games.
"I thought it lived up to all the good things I have heard about it," she said, "although it was rather dark and depressing. I have just ordered the next two books in the trilogy."
I asked Helen what inspired her to write her first book.
"I had a dream in which an angel told me to write…I'm not kidding!"
So, in 2003, she started writing her first book and seriously decided to aim for publication.
Before she starts a new work, she always clears her desk, but told me that within a few days, it's cluttered again.
"I am incapable of keeping it tidy," she admitted. "It doesn’t help that I use the same desk from which to run my business." (She and her husband provide a pest control service to other businesses in the South West of England.)
She tends to take care of the business in the morning, not starting work until late afternoon or early evening.
"I usually work to at least midnight," she said. "I find the evening is my most creative time. I'm useless in the morning."
The hardest part about writing, for Helen, is always getting underway.
"Getting the first three chapters right often takes a few rewrites, but once they are correct, the rest usually flows easily."
When she's not writing, she likes to read, walk, spend time with her family, and she loves visiting places that give her inspiration in her writing—places like historic houses and foreign countries.
Helen has a contact form on her website and loves hearing from people who have enjoyed her stories.
"Knowing I have written something that gives readers pleasure is wonderful," she said. "I am often asked if I am going to write stories for other characters in the Magic Knot series."
On a personal note, I asked Helen if she'd ever eaten a crayon.
"Almost certainly, but not for decades. I apparently ate a marble once and my mother rushed me to see the doctor. He told her not to worry. He had just seen a boy who had eaten a toy train."
She hates crying in public, so even though she's cried a few times during a movie, she tries really hard not to.
"Do you like thunderstorms?" I asked.
"Yes. I had a fantastic experience a few years ago when I was staying with my friend and critique partner at her cottage on Georgian Bay in Canada. We sat and watched the lightning criss-cross the sky for hours. I shall never forget it."
She admitted that she used to be able to multitask, but "since the menopause I have trouble concentrating on doing one thing at a time."
And, if she could ask for anything, she would wish for her mother to recover fully from her recent illness and get back to her old self.
You can keep up with Helen on her website, http://www.HelenScottTaylors.com