Helen lives in the countryside just outside Sheffield with her comedian husband, two children and two lovely dogs, Ronnie and Billy Whizz. When she is not tapping away in her writing room, she loves walking the dogs, playing board games and reading.
Before writing her first novel Helen wrote and performed her work on the stage. She has even done some stand up comedy (which was some of the inspiration for The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh!) and before that she was a jobbing actress. If you look hard you could even spot her in old episodes of Coronation Street, Holby City and many other TV staples including adverts, film and voice over. Her very first role was playing Ruby in Jacqueline Wilson's Double Act, so maybe she was always destined to be involved with children's books!
Helen now much prefers to write the stories than be in them! She is currently writing her second book, so stay tuned to find out what she is writing about this time!
Q&A with Helen
What is the best advice you have ever received about writing?
When I was at University, I did a writing course, and I remember vividly, when I was struggling with a section of a play that I was writing, the teacher just kept repeating the same thing, ‘Don’t get it right, get it written.’ Whenever I am now stuck with anything, I just repeat that to myself and it gets me through.
Where do you write?
We used to have a shed in the garden that was full of spiders and old bicycles. When we found out that I was going to have two books published, my husband Rob, decided to turn the shed into a tiny, but beautiful, writing room for me. I love it so much. It is my favourite place and for some reason smells amazing!
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written ever since I was a kid. Whether it was a diary, letter, poem or story. I began writing theatre shows after I had kids, and I started to realize just how much I loved it and wanted it to be a bigger part of my life.
What is your first/best childhood memory?
I used to have a house that I could see from pretty much everywhere. Sheffield (where I grew up) is a really hilly city and this little white house seemed to always be there. At school, in the park or from my window, I thought that I was the only one who could see it, and that it brought me luck. Whenever I go back to that part of Sheffield I always look for it.
What’s the hardest thing about writing a book?
I think sometimes, you can get a bit lost in your own head. It's hard not having anyone who can put themselves inside all of your thoughts and help you through the tricky bits, although finding my editor Lauren really helped with that, so it's much easier now. I'm also really impatient and one thing that you have to be when you are getting a book published is patient, as it takes so long!! It has taught me a lot!