Author Interview with the fabulous @Hkist

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Not at all. I hated writing when i was young. Wasn’t much of a reader either, but i attribute that to being made to read Mme Bovary everytime at my French school, which bored me to tears. I’d always been good at writing for business and thought it would be nice to have my name on a cover, but i’d always assumed it would be some kind of non-fiction book. The fiction writing aspiration came as a mid-life at age 47.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

‘In Servitude’ really evokes the theme of the book: how we are beholden to others in so many different ways. It was always the title from the start. In hindsight, it isnt the most accessible title or clear that its a suspense novel (rather than a BDSM romance!) Once you’ve read the book, it all makes sense, but i hadnt thought of it as a marketing tool.

‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ was originally called ‘Smile on Demand’. Then one day on Twitter i saw saomeone dismiss someone else with Stay Mad, Sweetheart and i thought ‘thats it’. So thanks, whoever that was… it still brings a smile to my face.

The unpublished one also had a name change that captured the book in 3 ways, but having learnt my lesson with In Servitude i have changed it to something more punchy. You’ll have to wait and see…

The manuscript i have just finished is a pun. The book has a lot of humour so i thought it would be appropriate.

Describe a typical writing day.

My day job is a strategy consultant so i work on projects that last 4-6 months. The writing i do between projects i consider it my job then. I’ve worked out i’m most effective between 10-12 in the morning and 3-5:30 in the afternoon. So thats what i do and get between 1200 and 2400 words out.

Which is your favouorite book you have wrote and who is your favourite character?

I honestly have no favourite book becuase they are so different. It’s a bit like your children: you love them all but for different aspects. And you can’t pick. I can however, unashemedly pick my favourite character. Its Suki from Stay Mad, Sweetheart. She’s extremely smart, fearless and has a wicked sense of humour. I missed her so i have brought her back in my just completed manuscript (this is a worldwide scoop!)

Where do you find your inspiration for your books?

Some of it is just walking around wondering ‘what if’ when you see something. Some of it is by design: I’d like to write a book like this but that will be different to whats out there becuase. The two that are out currently don’t conform to a genre specifically so i have really let the plot and characters determine where it went rather tahn to keep to genre tropes.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I have alsways liked the pace and short chapters of James Patterson, which is why i keep mine short too. John Grisham’s books are like that too, with the type of corporate shenanigans i put into Stay mad. So take those and mix them up with SE Lynes for close 1st person and gut wrenching emotion and that’s my cocktail.

What do you do when your not writing?

To be honest that is most of the time. I’m an independent strategy consultant and i sit on the board of a tech company and also on the investment comittee of a fund that gives loans to small and medium sized companies. Stay Mad is infused with quite a bit of my world. Similarly In Servitude basically takes place in my house and my neighbourhood: a leafy Southern part of Glasgow. I have two teenage kids and a scottish husband.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

I am an uber-plotter which means i know what needs to happen in every scene. The hardest part is how to connect the 4 bullet points (say) with a logical and natural sounding flow. I’m quite a clean writer, and with the detailed outlines, i end up not having to do all that much editing.

What is the most suprising thing you have discovered while writing your books?

That i can do it! Honestly, as i’d only ever written for work before, the fact i was able to create stories and words that people liked was incredible. It’s so humbling to hear the lovely reactions to the pieces i’ve created. My worry is that i will not have enough ideas.

Can you describe your writing space?

Prior to the pandemic i would do most of my writing in a garden office we have, which stands opposite the kitchen. I can wave at the kids as they come home from school. It’s got a standing desk, which is good for posture and has a wall of shelves made from upcycled furniture that i love. This being Glasgow, it’s heated. When lockdowns came and all four of us were home, it didnt feel right to heat our house and the office, so i came inside. We created a desk space in a guest room for the kids to do school but now they’re back, i use it. It has a fantastic green view.

Thank you so much to the FABULOUS Heleen for this insightful interview. I have read all of Heleen’s work and each book is FANTASTIC in their own way. Published and awaiting publication. They are unique and thrilling and will keep you hooked until the last page.

If you would like to puchase either of Heleens book’s please use the links below:

In Servitude – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Servitude-psychological-suspense-novel-twists/dp/1916448615

Stay Mad, Sweetheart – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/stay-mad-sweetheart-1

And be sure to follow Heleen on Twitter – @Hkist to keep upto date with her novels awaiting publication – you do not want to miss out!!

Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge. Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of harassment and workplace discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women. It was a finalist at the Next Generation Book Awards and  voted third in the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year award 2020.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

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