Monthly Archives: March 2010

I acquire a chapter buddy, and said buddy’s new blog

I recently was lucky enough to find a chapter buddy, someone with whom I have started exchanging chapters of my new work in progress. I’m now convinced that I will eventually finish this opus — I’m working my way through a revision, and by the end, it should actually be coherent and readable.

Of course, this now has me obsessing over what I’m going to write next. {shakes head}. Some authors are never satisfied.

Now if y’all are writers and would like to get a buddy, check out
group Weekly Chapter Challenge

And do check out my buddy E.J. Wesley’s new blog, The Open Vein

Meet Author Helena Harper

Helena Harper grew up in England, the daughter of a British father and a German mother. From an early age she loved to read and write, particularly fantasy stories, and later she enjoyed studying foreign languages.

Helena is a private tutor and translator. She continues write children’s stories, and illustrations for her first children’s picture book are now being done.

For new readers, what can they expect when they read your books?
I hope they will find something to make them smile or cry or think. I hope they will be able to take something positive from what they’ve read.

What would you like your readers to know about you and your writing?
My poetry books have been drawn from my professional and personal life, but my children’s stories are pure fantasy. The latter give me a wonderful chance to escape so-called ‘reality’.

What writer most inspires you – why? As far as fiction is concerned, I very much admire Jane Austen’s style of writing, it’s so clever, subtle and amusing, and she’s a wonderful storyteller. But there are non-fiction authors whom I also find inspirational, such as Neale Donald Walsch and Michael Talbot.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What was the first story or article you remember writing? I’ve always loved writing. Even before I went to school and could write, I sat at a desk and wrote line after squiggly line on blank sheets of paper. The first story I remember writing was a story about pots and pans and other kitchen appliances who were having a competition to see who could be the cleanest. I really enjoyed writing that story.

You have a degree in modern languages and are a qualified teacher. Has this helped your writing? And if so, in what way?
Yes, definitely. My language studies have helped me appreciate the sound, rhythm and meaning of words and my teaching has taught me a great deal about what makes people tick.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day?
I fit my writing round my other commitments and write whenever I have the opportunity to write, which could be any time of the day or night.

What is your most precious memory?
My most precious memory? That’s really difficult – I have so many. Any of the memories I have of my father, perhaps, who is no longer alive. He was a truly remarkable person.

What is your most embarrassing memory?
When I was at primary school, holding onto a door handle to prevent my friends from coming into the classroom (this was a game we were playing during the lunch break), only to find out that it wasn’t any of my friends who were wanting to come into the classroom, but a teacher!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Well, I still teach languages and give private tuition. If I weren’t doing that? Hard to say – something where I could be creative and that would be stimulating and challenging.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Yes – if you want to write, just give it a go! You have to be willing to step into the unknown, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know and you may end up regretting that. All you need is an idea. It doesn’t have to be fully developed, just sit down and start writing something and it will develop as you go along. You never know, it may be the best thing you ever do!

Contact details/more info.


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Helena’s Books

‘It’s a Teacher’s Life…! A Collection of Poems Set in a Girls’ Private School’

No doubt you remember your life at school as a pupil – the long lessons, stringent rules and chaotic classrooms – but what was it like from the teacher’s perspective? Did they savour the experience of setting and marking our homework? Did they get a kick out of writing our reports? And, most intriguingly, what did they get up to in the staffroom?
If you’ve never been there yourself, you need to follow Helena Harper into this alternative world of coffee addiction, frantic marking, lesson-planning and inspections. She answers all of your questions and more, and her insightful, evocative and often sardonic descriptions leave you more appreciative of the trials and tribulations (and the occasional pleasures) of being the dragon in front of the whiteboard.

Available in paperback from all major online retailers. Can be ordered through any bookstore. Stocked by Haslemere Bookshop and Weybridge Books in the UK.

Family and More is a poignant poetic memoir, in which the author examines the lives of family members and other people, who have touched her own life and taught her some valuable lessons. As the daughter of a German mother and English father, who were on opposite sides during the Second World War, Helena Harper’s poetic themes are informed by notions of national and emotional boundaries, the horrors of war, self-discovery, love, and the infinite power of the human spirit.

Available at present as an ebook from:

Due to be published as a paperback by Pen Press Publishers in the first half of 2010.