Hi Everyone! Please welcome Helena Fairfax, author of The Antique Love!
Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country. She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every day—one of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants. When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories. Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life.
A Dream of Love and Antiques
“Where do you get your ideas from?”
It’s a question writers are often asked, and one I usually find really difficult to answer. Ideas can descend at the unlikeliest times. Whilst waiting in a traffic jam, or pegging out washing.
I do remember how I got the idea for The Antique Love. I was feeling quite ill with a flu-like virus. So ill, I was too tired to read (now that’s really ill, for me!) And so I was lying on my settee, flicking through the TV channels with a temperature, when I came across a programme all about antiques. Two dealers were in an old vintage car, travelling round English country villages, rummaging in antique shops for treasures.
The antique shops and their owners were fabulous, like something out of a story book. My heat-filled brain began to think how brilliant it would be to own one of these shops: a cornucopia of marvellous treasures, from porcelain dolls, to painted fans, to delicate china ornaments. The shops began to take on a totally romantic lustre in my mind, and gradually I dreamed up my heroine, Penny Rosas. I created an antique shop for her which she owned, in a street in London. My flu-like delirium induced a dreamlike state, and I envisaged Penny as also a dreamer – an imaginative heroine, who sees the beauty and life in these antiques, and who believes in romance.
So my heroine came first in my mind – but what about a hero? Every heroine needs her counterpart – someone who balances her in temperament. Spirited Lizzie Bennett has her dour Mr Darcy; gentle Jane Eyre has her brusque Mr Rochester. Who would be the foil to Penny, my romantic dreamer? Gradually another figure emerged in my mind. He was tall, broad-shouldered, good-looking, and at first sight everything a romantic hero should be.
But appearances are deceptive, as Penny finds out. In character, my hero is anything but a romantic. Kurt Bold works in the logical world of finance, where everything is ordered and controlled. In Kurt’s words, romance is for dreamers.
How will two such opposing characters ever come together? Well, I gave them a glimmer of hope in the romance of Kurt Bold’s setting. Although he works in London, in the City, he is originally from Wyoming. The crowded streets of London are a far cry from the wide open spaces Kurt is used to, and so I gave him a house on the edge of Richmond Park. Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London, and is virtually unchanged in hundreds of years. It was established as a Royal Park by Charles I in 1625. Charles came to Richmond to escape the plague in the city, and loved the hunting there so much, he decided to turn the place into his own park, and walled it in with eight foot stone walls.
And that’s how I worked through my ideas for The Antique Love. Of course, my ideas didn’t all fall together quite as easily as I’ve described here (I wish!) Someone once said writing involves 10% inspiration (my Eureka moment with the antique shop) and 90% perspiration – constantly writing down and revising ideas until I had the whole story straight in my mind.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday I was lying down with a fever, and I can’t believe my book is finally published. It’s like a sort of magic!
If you’d like to find out a little more about The Antique Love, here is the blurb:
One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my short introduction. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.helenafairfax.com
on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082986.Helena_Fairfax
on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax, or on Twitter @helenafairfax
Please do get in touch – I love to meet new people!
Thanks so much for having me today, Kim. I’ve really enjoyed talking about Penny and Kurt. Thank you for welcoming me to your blog!