|Available on Amazon|
Thank you for letting me interview you, Robin. I appreciate your time and your answers. My first question is one I am always interested in discovering from authors of Jane Austen variations, retellings, and etc. How and when did your interest in Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice take root?
I have always been an avid reader. My sister, Gayle, taught me to read when I was four years old, and I’ve had a book in my hand constantly since then. I used to hide in closets to read when I was a child, because I knew that if my mother found me, she’d have a job for me to do. There was always housework, yard work, or gardening to be done in a family of six children.
I discovered Austen when I was in high school. I read Pride and Prejudice first, but I soon read Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. Later, I read her other works, but Pride and Prejudice has always been my favorite. I’m a romantic at heart.
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite too. We readers just cannot seem to get enough and I, for one, am thankful for all you authors that love to give us more to read! What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?
For several years, I wrote a column for a local newspaper along with poetry. After I left teaching high school full-time seven years ago, I started looking for ways to fill my time and have an income. Gayle had been editing for several JAFF authors, and she introduced me to the genre. I started out as a beta for other authors, and after Gayle encouraged me to write, I discussed my plot ideas for my first book (and all following books) with her. The concept of Darcy as Elizabeth’s guardian angel captured my imagination and resulted in The Guardian Trilogy (Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy). It combined my love of science fiction and fantasy with my love of Austen.
So far, all six books I’ve written have been PnP variations, but I will likely write another angel/demon book which will be non-Austen YA in the near future. I also have another PnP variation in mind – a “what if” novella.
That is neat that you and your sister share a love of Jane Austen. Jane lived in a world that fascinates many of us. What about the Regency era is appealing to you?
I like the manners and civility. I think having rules for how one must behave would make life much easier. I also like the manner of dancing. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do. I wouldn’t care for the lack of indoor toilets, plumbing, electricity, technology, and air conditioning. Stays, corsets, and uncomfortable clothing would also cancel out any pleasure I might have in the behavioral rules. No jeans? No computers or cell phones? Bah! In short, I like to envision it and write about it, but the reality of it would keep me from enjoying living in those conditions.
We tend to forget those realities when we are living in the world of fiction. Those are some sobering thoughts. Will you tell us something about your newest book that you love most.
I love the idea of a time swap between modern Will Darcy and his Regency ancestor (who becomes his descendant). I also love the premise: Fitzwilliam never really changed. He was a different man altogether. Forever Yours is the third in the Yours by Design trilogy. The other books are Accidentally Yours and Sincerely Yours.
I am intrigued! Your premise sounds enticing as well. What have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?
I’ve learned that doing what I enjoy is much more productive and fulfilling than doing what I don’t enjoy. I still teach – music two days a week at a local charter school as well as piano lessons at my church where I am Associate in Music and Music Academy Director.
You are a busy lady. It is amazing that you still find time to write! Is there anything special about yourself or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?
My greatest accomplishment is rearing two lovely, strong, intelligent daughters who aren’t afraid to follow their hearts wherever they lead. My elder daughter served as a Navy nurse for five years before marrying her Captain Wentworth (a Marine fighter pilot) and having a child (soon to be two) with him overseas. She published her own book, The Gifted, several years ago and is now working on a book featuring Anne de Bourgh’s daughter. My younger daughter just married her Mr. Darcy in June and will move across the U.S. with him at the end of August while he pursues his dream career. She is also writing a book – a fantasy. Hmmm . . . Maybe they’re just trying to get away from me. Nope. My husband wrote a book, and he’s still here.
Sounds to me that they just be following in the footsteps of there parents! What a compliment to you both. Do you have a modern day author that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about their writing that was an inspiration?
In my teens and twenties, I read all of Victoria Holt’s (Eleanor Hibbert’s) gothic romance novels, fascinated by a glimpse into that world. I discovered that she had eight pen names, each one specific to a certain genre, so I also read her historical fiction, published under Jean Plaidy, and her modern Philippa Carr books. She showed me that a writer can have different personas and write in different genres.
My attraction to Austen variations began primarily through the books of Pamela Aiden who wrote the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series.
I also read Victoria Holt and loved her novels. You taught me something today as I did not know that she wrote under different pen names. How interesting is that? I read and enjoyed Pamela Aiden's work too, and can see how those books would attract you to Austen variations. Since her books focused on Darcy, I now have a very important question for you. We all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?
Quite simply, I love him because I think he would have loved me. I was (and am) an obstinate, headstrong girl very much like Elizabeth.
Robin Helm taught mainly high school English, Bible, and music for twenty-five years in Florida and South Carolina before she started to write her own books. She began by editing for other authors and publishing her own stories online on four different forums.
She is presently employed as the Associate of Music and Music Academy Director for her church, and she teaches private piano lessons and elementary school music classes.
Mrs. Helm is the author of a modern Austen variation fantasy fiction series, The Guardian Trilogy, which includes Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy. She has also published the Yours by Design series, an Austen variation Regency/Modern Romance with a paranormal element. All three books of the series, Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours, are now available
She shares a blog, Jane Started It, with the other writers of the Crown Hill Writers' Guild, and is one of the founders and administrators of BeyondAusten.com, a website for readers with common interests.
She has one husband, one granddaughter, two daughters, two sons-in-law, four family dogs, four part time jobs, and six published books
Connect with Robin Helm:
Blog, Jane Started It
Administrator of Beyond Austen (forum)
Amazon Author Page
|Available on Amazon|
|Available on Amazon|
|Available on Amazon|
Now dear readers, there is a giveaway! YAY! Robin Helm's giveaway is very generous. One eBook will be given away internationally and either an eBook or paperback, winner's choice will be given away domestically. Also, the winner can choose any one of the books in the series! Isn't that great! Please let me know if you are international or US in your comments along with your contact information. If you are the randomly selected winner, you can then let us know which of the three you would like. Be sure and check out Amazon as I have it on good authority that the price of the first two books in the series has been temporarily lowered! :) If you haven't already started these books, now would be an excellent time to begin. Now back to the giveaway...it will end at 11:59 PM on 22 July, 2015. Good luck to all and thank you again Robin Helm!