This week I’m over the moon to have the fabulous Helen Phifer on my blog, taking part in my regular Book Talk feature. Helen is my definition of Superwoman, she really is. She works so hard and manages to do so much that she’s halfway through her daily jobs before I’ve even got out of bed! She’s also a a truly lovely friend, and is one of our Write Romantics group. I’m delighted she somehow managed to squeeze in this interview for me. Welcome, Helen. Can you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?
Hello, thank you for having me on your blog, Sharon. I’m excited to be here. I’ve published over twenty books. I’ve given up counting as I always get confused. I’m 53 and have been published for ten years this year; I have no idea where the time has gone. I have five grown up children, seven grandchildren and I adore reading and writing stories.
I’m not surprised you’ve given up counting! I’m always in awe of how much you pack into your life, and find it amazing you find time to write, never mind read, too! I know you do love your reading, though, so what’s the first book you remember reading or owning?
I think it was Naughty Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton, I still remember how much I loved it and must only have been around five or six.
Oh, I loved Naughty Amelia Jane! Was that also your favourite childhood book or was there something else?
I would have to say The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.
It’s amazing how many authors on this feature have listed Enid Blyton books as their favourites. She was definitely a huge influence on so many writers of a certain generation. Do you have a favourite among the books you’ve written yourself?
I think my debut The Ghost House will always have a place in my heart, closely followed by The Good Sisters.
The Ghost House was your first published book, so it’s bound to be special to you. The Good Sisters was sooo creepy! You write gripping crime thrillers and also some scary supernatural crime books, too. Do you read any genres apart from the ones you write in?
I try to. I host a monthly book club and because of that I’ve read some amazing stories that I wouldn’t normally pick up. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Trespass by Louise Kennedy are all books I enjoyed thanks to book club.
I think I already know the answer to this one, but which author/s had the biggest influence on you?
It has to be the great Stephen King. He started my desire to be able to write stories.
Haha, I knew it! Do you reread his books? In fact, do you read any books more than once?
Not usually because there are so many books and so little time, but I have read It by Stephen King and listened to the audio about four times. I would definitely listen to The House in the Cerulean Sea again and NOS 4R2 by Joe Hill because that book was fantastic.
So which book (if any) is your go-to comfort read?
I think The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman is perfection in a book and I absolutely loved the whole series.
I’ve seen you recommending Alice Hoffman’s books many times on social media, but I still haven’t got round to reading one! Do you prefer hardback, paperback, e-book, audio, or no preference?
All of them, although at the moment audio is my favourite.
And do you read series, or do you prefer standalones?
I actually love standalones because I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like.
Given how busy you are, are you reading anything currently?
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. It’s this months book club pick and my first from this author.
Have you ever preferred a film or tv version to the original book?
Absolutely, the only film version of a book I’ve ever loved more than the book is Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. The film really brings that book to life and does it so much justice.
Oh, that’s interesting! I’ve seen the film of Practical Magic, even though I haven’t read the book. Is there any particular book that inspired you to write?
Yes, I can’t remember the name of it now but it was so bad and the ending was appalling. It made me think, blimey, I could do far better than that, and here I am.
Haha, I love that! I’m so glad you read that book, and I’ll bet your loyal readers are, too! What’s your latest book about?
It’s book nine in my hugely popular detective series about Morgan Brookes, who is called to a lake one night and finds a young woman carefully positioned in front of the water. Morgan finds herself in yet another race against time to save further innocent lives.
That sounds gripping, Helen! What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing the next Morgan Brookes book, but I’ve recently signed with Storm Publishing to write a series set in New York about a tough homicide detective who gets put on a case involving the supernatural.
I’m so happy to have you as a fellow Storm author! And I do love your supernatural crime books. Thanks so much for joining me today, Helen. Happy writing!
Hold Your Breath
The biting wind whips around the crystal-clear waters of the lake. The girl sits with her eyes open, as if transfixed by the waves on the shoreline, but she has taken her last breath…
When Detective Morgan Brookes is called to Lake Thirlmere one frosty night, she’s devastated to find the body of a young woman positioned in front of the glistening reservoir. She has ligature marks on her limbs, glue residue on her eyes, and her beautiful face is as cold as ice. Knowing only a dangerous serial killer would arrange a scene so carefully, Morgan is in a race against time to stop them before more innocent lives are lost.
The victim is twenty-year-old Jasmine Armer and her mother is distraught to hear that her beautiful daughter is gone. And Morgan is shocked when she learns that Jasmine’s father recently committed suicide at the same picturesque spot. The killer must have known the family. Then Morgan receives a terrifying package at the station of an intricate death mask. She immediately recognises Jasmine’s long lashes and perfectly-plump lips.
With the killer taunting her, Morgan knows time is running out. And then Morgan gets the heart-shattering call that her friend, Emily, has been killed. Ligature marks on Emily’s arms are identical to Jasmine’s.
Heartbroken Morgan knows this isn’t the end of the killer’s twisted game, but can she track them down before they take another life?
About Helen Phifer
Helen Phifer is the bestselling writer of the hugely popular Annie Graham, Lucy Harwin, Beth Adams and her current series featuring Detective Constable Morgan Brooks published by the fabulous Bookouture.
She lives in the busy town of Barrow-in-Furness surrounded by miles of coastline and a short drive from the glorious English Lake District.
Helen loves reading books that scare the heck out of her and is eternally grateful to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbet and Graham Masterton for scaring her senseless in her teenage years. Unable to find enough scary stories she decided to write her own and her debut novel The Ghost House released in October 2013 became #1 Global Bestseller.
You can find out more about Helen and her books by visiting her website.
You can also follow her on Twitter as @helenphifer1