Thursday, 15 September 2011

Interview with H C Elliston

Mid-September already, can you believe it? It seems time is flying fast. With so much to do, and deadlines to do them by, I have to apologize if the blog seems a little slow. Theoretically I'd like to post at least three interviews a week, but you'll have to excuse me if I can only manage one. If anyone can understand me, writers can. Right?

So let's welcome our next interviewee. This time we're talking with a lovely lady who's written an exciting book. Say hello to H.C. Elliston.

Hi, Helen! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in West Yorkshire with my fiancĂ© and dogs, near to my fiancĂ©'s children. I am a pet portrait artist, a vegetarian, and a trustee for a local animal rescue charity. People would probably describe my desk as organised chaos – and they’d be right! Hmmm... what else? I leave scraps of paper in every room so that I always have something at hand to write ideas on. I love hot chilli sauce, chocolate and icecream. Oh, and I adore my two dogs!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing about 4 years ago and have been hooked ever since!

Tell us about TICK TOCK RUN. What’s the story about?

105,000 words, 388 pages, of suspense, mystery and romance with a little humour thrown in.

The main character Chelsea receives a threatening e-mail which contains a ticking countdown timer. Likely it is spam or a virus, but when she crosses paths with a man at a bar whose brother had died after receiving a similar message, she realises her life is in danger. Someone has dragged her into a frightening game of revenge. Chelsea decides to find her assailant before he or she finds her. Soon, she starts to mistrust her instincts as she is thwarted by the people closest to her who have their own hidden agendas.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

The death clock in an email idea came to me while sitting with my dogs in my garden. One of those moments when you’re not even trying to think of ideas, and hey, presto!

Plot aside, I wanted to write what I enjoy in books and movies, and take the reader through a range of emotions. People often have to get creative to solve their own daily problems. I have simply done this on a larger scale. I enjoy throwing my characters into awful situations and watching them try to battle their way out.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a fantastic group of critique partners. It is so important to get other eyes on your work. Sometimes I can be so inside my own story that my brain fills in the errors, be it grammatical issues, plot holes, POV issues. Critique partners help ensure that I have covered all my bases, and help whip my stories into shape!

I agree, critique partners are very valuable. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I would have to say it is writing the first quarter of the book when I take my opening problem/scenario to a higher level, and I am still getting to know my characters.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee, coke, silence, and then a glass of wine later on. I tend to drop out of reality while writing. I need peace and quiet to be able to really put myself inside the scene in order to paint the picture and portray emotion.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to snap your fingers and end up in a different location!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: sheep, satellite, and birthday party.

When the satellite dish thudded to the ground, the sheep dog bolted across the lawn knocking a party guest who fell onto the birthday cake.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

A huge thanks to my critique partners for their help and encouragement, my friends and family for their support, and to readers for taking a chance on a new author!

My second novel is due for release in September, for a sneak preview please visit my website.

Speaking of websites, where can people find you and your book online?

The download version is available on Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks & Barnes & Noble.
The paperback version is available from

My author website is, and includes links to Twitter and Facebook.

My pet portrait website

Thanks so much for chatting with us, and good luck with your books!

Thanks for the interview, Dorothy!


jo from devon said...

Wow Helen, Great interview and good that Dorothy gave you the opportunity to do this. Hopefully people understand what's your inspiration and your balance of author and pet portrait artist - Jo from devon xx

Gina said...

Sounds like she was bitten by the writing bug for certain! Writing what you like to read/watch is a great way to keep the ideas and story clear making it easier to connect to your audience. Great job on the writing test! Best of luck on your future endeavors...and thanks for the great interview ladies!