1. Let’s start with a little something about you. What do you want the readers to know?
Well, I like to think of myself as a bit of diva, a trophy wife and the author of my own destiny. But in reality, I’m a chubby wife and mother of two who is addicted to BBC Television.
2. Now? Tell us about your book(s).
My debut novel Awake In Hell falls under fantasy fiction...kind of. Here’s the blurb from the back: Meet Louise Patterson. She's dead. She's also in Hell: A place where everyone must face the challenges of being damned. This includes below code living arrangements, a supernatural closet that makes getting dressed every day punitive, and absolutely horrible coffee. When Louise was alive, she was one of those “Go Big or Go Home” kinda people. As an underworld dweller, she’s getting used to the fact that living “larger than life” may have had some not-so-great consequences in the afterlife. That is until she loses her job in Hell. In her search for gainful employment in Central City, Hades, she finds a post-it note that gives her something to look forward to for the first time since arriving down below. Louise discovers the “Second Chance Temp Agency” along with its enigmatic CEO Mr. Deedy, who gives her so much more than a job. Foul-mouthed and seemingly unlucky, Louise gets pulled into a truly Hellacious adventure--filled with demons, ghosts, angels, magic, temp jobs, wardrobe malfunctions, and quite possibly…redemption.
3. List of favorites…
"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." - Oscar Wilde
B. Color? – Orange. It’s the mystical color of inner power, enthusiasm and creativity. It’s also the color of sunsets, day lilies, and my very favorite popsicle flavor.
C. Food? – I’ve always lived near the ocean and the bay...so anything with a shell or fins is a winner!
D. Lucky number? - 13
E. Movie? Actor? Actress? – My favorite movie of all time is Harold and Maude, with the Princess Bride a close second. My favorite actress (right now) is Maggie Smith and my favorite actor is David Tennant. My favorite actress of all time is Ruth Gordon. Love her!
F. Song? – So many! I have a fantasy song...which would be Mandy Patinkin singing Imagination from Willy Wonka. I can hear it in my head and it’s FUCKING BRILLIANT! Can you hear it?
G. Memory? – Hmmmm... I guess my favorite memories are the ones I haven’t made yet. I am looking forward to a lifetime of fabulous memories!
H. Way to spend your down time? – I love just hanging out with my husband...whether it’s watching tv or going out...doesn’t matter as long as we are together.
I. Word? – Gotta say that my favorite word is Fuck. It’s very versatile, and very effective when used properly. J
J. Author? – Again, so many....but my top 3 would be Christopher Moore, Tom Robbins, and Dr. Suess.
K. Secret indulgence? – I love a long, hot bubble bath! I think a bubble bath will solve every problem known to man. In fact, I think if we started having congress and Obama meet in a giant bubble bath the country would be back on track in a flash! J
L. Perfume/cologne? – Anything spicy over floral. I like bass notes like sandalwood or cedar over lemonbalm or lavender or even rose. And I love essential oils!
M. Place you’ve visited? – Wales is my very favorite place in the world after my own home.
N. Guilty pleasure? – Binge watching tv while binge eating something horrible for me.
O. Cartoon? – Family Guy and Archer are both hilarious. Family Guy for the 80s references and Archer for lines like “Ironic? It’s as if Alanis Morrisette and O. Henry had a baby and named it THIS EXACT SITUATION!” LOL. Way too intelligent to be classified as a cartoon.
4. Do you have any rituals when you write? – I write in longhand first then type it out. I like to be alone but I have to have the illusion of people around me, so I put on a favorite program that I’ve seen 1000 times when I write. I’m not really paying attention to it, but it feels like I’m surrounded by friends.
5. What/who encouraged you to be a writer and what/who inspires you to keep writing? – My mother writes brilliant children’s stories, so she would be an inspiration. Also, when I was young I had a bone disease that didn’t allow me to run or play sports or anything and we were always moving due to my father’s profession. So, all of my dearest childhood friends are from books. Me and Laura Ingalls Wilder were like THIS...
6. Writing plans for the future? – Keep on doing it? J Yes, I’m planning for three hell books and then maybe even some books that have characters who are still alive.
7. What is your opinion on S’mores? Burnt marshmallow or not? – Not a big S’mores fan, but burnt marshmallows are a food group. Absolutely non-negotiable!
8. Tell us a story about something you’ve witnessed that made you laugh. – I laugh out loud every day of my life! However, my husband can make me laugh with his very sick and twisted sense of humor. My kids make me laugh, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. When my daughter was teeny weeny she used to have toddler anger issues, and every time she would get really mad I would just push her over the edge due to the fact that I was rolling on the floor laughing at her. Her cute little fists all balled up and her face twisted with rage...laughing right now thinking about it!
9. Most embarrassing moment ever? – OK, but remember – you asked! When I was 14 years old I was harboring a crush over a local pastor. My father (who is also a pastor) was telling a group of colleagues a story featuring a “pontoon boat” and all the other ministers were laughing uproariously. So, in my 14 year old brain I figured that if I remembered that story and told it to the object of my affection next time we met, he would immediately become overwhelmed by my charm and mature sense of humor and would instantly fall in love with me. Yes, I was that kind of 14 year old. WHATEVER. When I found myself in the company of the said pastor that I adored from afar, I told him the story. However, I had gotten the word “pontoon” mixed up with another word I had recently heard for the first time. Therefore, I told a MINISTER a story about a POONTANG boat! He really was a lovely man and he just smiled and said nothing about it. My friend told me later on that I had gotten the word wrong and I was so mortified I thought I would never speak to a male person face to face ever again! LOL!!
10. You can teleport anywhere and any era you wish. You can only bring 3 things with you. Where do you go and what do you bring? – Here, yesterday. And I would bring the pick 3, pick 4, and powerball numbers. J
11. What are your feelings about chocolate milk? – I probably love it way more than it loves me, but that is okay, I can love it enough for both of us.
12. Pet person? Do you have them? If so, tell us about them? – I have an angel Chihuahua and a devil Chihuahua. But I love them equally. They are my yin and my yang.
13. Tell us about your first kiss. – It was with some guy a friend of mine made me hang out with so that she could hang with his brother. It was wet and sloppy and just a wee bit gross. I was 13 years old and while I had started liking boys...I still wasn’t convinced that the whole cootie thing was an urban legend. So overall it was not a good experience.
14. Have you ever walked down a toy aisle at a store and pushed all the buttons? – I push buttons. Literally, metaphorically, all buttons must be pushed!
15. It’s raining outside, you’re completely alone, what do you do? – I keep going...doing whatever I was doing. I’m not exactly weather dependent. Unless of course it’s raining zombies...then you might get a reaction out of me.
16. Words of wisdom for our readers? – how about a quote from my book? “Life is just a temp job. Ultimately it is one you’re going to get fired from, at some point. So learn what you can, and have some fun, and stop taking yourself so damned seriously! And when they hand you your termination slip, don’t forget to pack up all the love and good memories to take with you.”
Meet Louise Patterson. She's dead.
She has been dead for a while. And she is in Hell. The foul-mouthed hero has a Hellacious adventure ahead of her. Not quite sure what will lay around the next corner, her journey is filled with demons, ghosts, dreams, magic, too many temp jobs, wardrobe malfunctions worthy of hell--and quite possibly redemption.
Thanks so much for being here with us, Helen! LOVED your answers and am looking forward to reading your work!!!