About the Author:
#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers
Warning: This interview will mild have spoilers.
1. If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
You are so much more than you think you are.
2. What is your favorite restaurant?
Tough call! I tend to like obscure places that are locally owned. My favorite Italian place in my hometown is called Papa Mazzotti’s. There’s a wonderful little place in downtown Denver called Café Brazil. Real Brazilian food, not guys coming to your table with different meats 🙂
3. What is your favorite TV show?
Right now I’m hooked on Game of Thrones. We waited so long for this season!
4. How many siblings so you have?
5. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer! Seriously.
6. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?
Another tough call. I’d have to say either Laura Ingalls Wilder or Princess Diana.
This or That:
7. Cat or Dog?
8. Toilet paper: Over or Under?
9. Beer or Wine?
10. Tattoos or no tattoos?
I love them if they’re tastefully done. I have a dragon on my lower back. I was born in the year of the dragon.
11. Heels or Flats?
Kitten heels. I become an Amazon in really high heels, and I don’t look good in flats.
12. Fireman or Policeman?
Both! I’m a huge fan of local law enforcement. Anyone who puts his life on the line for me and my fellow citizens has my utmost respect.
Specific Book Questions:
I absolutely love The Steel Brothers Saga. They are the only books I have read from you but The Temptation Saga on my TBR and plan to start it soon. I’m going to ask questions about all your series or sagas. I’m going to end it with The Steel Brothers, since Shattered comes out at the end of the month and I have read all of those books.
13. In you Misadventures Series, you wrote Misadventures of a Good Wife with Meredith Wild. What was it like writing a book with another author?
I enjoyed it, and Meredith and I worked well together. Our styles are similar, though I’m more of a pantser than she is and I kept giving her cliff hangers!
14. The books in your Daughters of the Prairie Series are novellas. Is it hard to write a novella? How do you get all the information into a short novella?
I actually like the novella length. I’m an economic writer. Every word in my books is there for a reason, or I cut it. I find it fairly easy to tell a good story with less words.
15. Your Sex and the Season Series is written in the 1800’s. Was it hard to write that time period? Did you have to do a lot of research?
At the time I wrote the books, I had read a lot of historicals during that era, so I already knew a lot about it. That said, I did have to do some research, but with the internet at my fingertips, it wasn’t near as time consuming as it would have been thirty years ago.
16. The Temptation Saga is one of your big series. When you started writing this series, did you plan to make this a 7 book series or did it just happen?
I started the series in 2007. In fact, Tempting Dusty was my National Novel Writing Month project that year. At the time, I had the idea only for that book, but I fell in love with all the ancillary characters and had to tell their stories.
17. In your Steel Brothers Saga, all the books are connected. Is it the same way in your Temptation Saga? Do the books interconnect or can they be read as stand-alones?
The Temptation Saga can be read as stand alones because they each tell one story about one couple. However, they are best enjoyed in order, so you get to know the characters and their back stories.
Now to the AMAZING Steel Brothers!!! You are a mad genius. This saga has taken me on such a wild ride and it’s not even close to being over.
18. In the Steel Brothers Saga, you have three brothers and one sister. Each brother so far has three books in the saga, Ryan’s books are coming out over the next 6 months. Will their sister Marjorie have a trio of books also?
I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series! Right now, there are no plans for a book for Marjorie, but you never know!
19. The first three books (Craving, Obsession, and Possession) are about Talon, the brother who is abducted when he was young and escaped after two months. These books are quite dark. Did you ever wonder if they were going to be too dark for your readers?
I’ve never shied away from exploring the dark side of human nature. There is some degree of darkness in the Temptation Saga and in Sex in the Season. Sometimes the best books are the ones that aren’t easy to read. That said, I did include a trigger warning in the Steel books. I would never want my books to take someone to a bad place.
20. Talon hides his secret from Jade, his love interest, because he doesn’t want to taint her with his past. We see flashbacks of that past thought-out the book. Was it hard to write those scenes where he was abused?
Yes, but as I said, I don’t shy away from the darkness. Dark scenes pose a challenge to a writer, and I’ve come to enjoy writing about all aspects of what it truly means to be human. I did make myself cry more than once, especially while writing the scenes in Obsession, which get pretty graphic.
21. The next three books (Melt, Burn, and Surrender) are about Jonah, Talon’s big brother. Jonah has a lot of guilt over what happened to Talon because he felt he should have been there to protect his brother. How do you switch your frame of mind from character to character?
By the time I began to write Melt, I knew Jonah pretty well from writing about him in Talon’s books. Still, it’s always a challenge to begin a new point of view. Because I’m a pantser, I get to know my characters as I write them, so by the time I do my first revision, I can go back and add in the little nuances that came to light during the first draft.
22. Melanie has her own issues in these books (Jonah’s books) and they end up connecting to Talon’s past. As a therapist, Melanie is used to listening to everyone else’s problems but she is hiding her own problems from the world. What was your biggest challenge in writing Melanie’s character?
Melanie represents so many women of today, and to an extent, me. I, like a lot of women of my generation, was very insecure when I was younger in spite of my successes, and that’s how Melanie feels. The breakthrough in Burn, when she frees herself and begins to see not just her patient’s death but her own self in a new light, was very empowering to write.
23. Shattered comes out at the end of August (I luckily have already read it and loved it) and it is the first book in Ryan’s trio (Shattered, Twisted, and Unraveled). What would you want to tell your readers about Ryan’s story?
If you think you know everything about Ryan and his family after reading the first six books, think again!
24. This saga as so many twists and turns and connections that you never see coming. Are these plot twists planned out or do they just happen?
Some are planned, and some just happen.
25. How do you keep all of your characters straight and remember the little details about each one?
I wish I could tell you that I keep charts (and I should) but I don’t. I have a photographic memory, but sometimes I have to refer to earlier books to make sure I got a detail right.
26. Is it hard to switch from series to series when writing? Such as switching from writing on The Steel Brothers Saga to The Temptation Saga.
No, not really. It’s actually a nice break to work on something else.
Random Ending Questions:
27. What is the most difficult part of writing a sex scene?
Finding new ways to say the same thing!
28. Do you feel authors should put trigger warnings in their books?
There are different opinions on this right now. I personally like the trigger warnings because I would never want my book to cause anyone pain.
29. What is the average time it takes to write a book?
For me, about two months.
30. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Sitting down and doing it. I’m the queen of procrastination! Having deadlines from my publisher helps.
31. If you had to write yourself as a villain I one of your books, what type of villain would you be?
I don’t think I could ever write myself as a villain! But, if I were forced to, I’d have to be a vampire or werewolf whose villainous acts were part of her nature.
Last but not least…..anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for reading! An author is nothing without her fans 🙂
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview!!!!
The Steel Brothers Saga
Sex and Season Series
The Cougar Chronicles