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5/25/2009

Six Questions with Helen Hardt

Please welcome my guest today, my good friend and critique partner, bestselling, award-winning author Helen Hardt! She's here to talk a little about her latest release Thai'd Up, a bestseller at The Wild Rose Press's WilderRoses, and a few other fun subjects - heroes, highlights in the year of a debut author, and BDSM. ;) Sound good? Read on! And if you comment, you're in the running to win a PDF copy of Helen's April release, Passion in Paris! Winner will be announced this Sunday, May 31st.

Your release schedule this year is incredible, but just last year, you were a debut author. What is the most surprising thing you've learned this year? And what was the biggest highlight?

I’ve learned that I need to put my writing first. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound all that surprising. I’m a writer. Of course I should put my writing first. But it’s amazing how easy it is to get bogged down in promotion. I found my days slipping away with email, blogs, loops, and my freelance editing. Somehow my own writing got pushed to the back burner. This month, I’ve given myself a challenge to get two hours of writing in before I look at email or anything else. I don’t always get the whole two hours in, but I have been producing 1K+ new words per day pretty consistently. It feels good to be able to get to the rest of my responsibilities knowing my writing for the day is done. I’m a writer first. Without new stories to sell, the rest of what I do won’t last long!

As for the biggest highlight? Probably getting a contract from Ellora’s Cave. The editor gave me some wonderful compliments about my story and my writing. I’m really excited to be on board with EC!

Tell us what your inspiration was for Thai'd Up. Did the exotic setting of Thailand come first or the premise?

Neither, LOL. The title came to me first. Come on, with that title, I had to write the book, didn’t I? I love the Destination Pleasure series over at The Wild Rose Press, Wilder Roses. I had already written two (Seduced in Seoul and Passion in Paris) and wanted to write another. I’ve been to both Seoul and Paris, but not to Bangkok, where TU takes place. But when that title popped into my head, I knew there was a story there. I began to research Thailand, found the red light district of Patpong, and the plot blossomed from there.

Speaking of inspiration, tell us a little about your hero and why he's so irresistible to Heidi.

Ah, the Phantom… Who can resist the man behind the mask? He’s a Dominant, which means he enjoys the dominant relationship in BDSM. Like any good Dominant, he’s concerned with the pleasure and the safety of his submissive. He knows Heidi is a BDSM virgin, and he takes this into consideration and initiates her gently.

As to why Heidi finds him irresistible – besides the fact that he’s gorgeous, LOL – first, the mystery. He’s masked, and he owns a BDSM club, which is also a mystery to Heidi, one she’s wondered about for a while, though has never had the nerve to explore. A foreign city and a masked man help ease her inhibitions. Then there’s the instant connection – you know the one, when you meet the eyes of someone you’re attracted to from across the room and energy seems to sizzle between you? That happens for Heidi with Phantom.

Thai'd Up dabbles in light BDSM. Why do you think some women - and men ;) - find elements of that lifestyle intriguing?

Probably for the same reason Heidi does – the mystery. There’s also the trust factor. BDSM takes a lot of trust, not only for the submissive, but also for the Dominant. In this way, it can bring a couple closer. Then of course, there’s the spice it can add to a relationship ;). Trying something new is always exciting.

Since I already mentioned your dizzying '09 release schedule, what can we look forward to from you next?

I have a novella coming out on June 5. The Outlaw’s Angel is part of a western historical anthology called Lawmen and Outlaws in The Wild Rose Press’s Cactus line. Next up will be Blood Wolf, a dark paranormal novel that won the Got Wolf? Contest sponsored by The Wild Rose Press. It will release in October in an anthology with one of the other winners. In November, my first Ellora’s Cave story will release. Slow and Wet will be part of EC’s “Wet” theme. I have one more Destination Pleasure coming, though I don’t know when. Montego Lay is set in – you guessed it ;) – Montego Bay, Jamaica.

After that, who knows? I’m still looking for the perfect home for my cowboys – three Colorado brothers who star in my contemporary western series. I also have two more historical novellas, a cougar story, and an erotic novella in the works.

Last but not least...they say every author falls a little in love with their heroes. You've already amassed quite a stable of them. ;) Does one of your men stand head and shoulders above the rest? Why?

I fall in love with each hero I create. If I don’t, I know something’s not working. That has actually happened, believe it or not. Sometimes I can fix it, sometimes not, in which case I move on to another project. Out of all my contracted heroes, I’d have to say my favorite is Bobby Morgan in The Outlaw’s Angel, with Blaise Dartagnan from Passion in Paris a close second. And okay, I’ll add a third ;). Damian MacGowan in Blood Wolf. These men are all strong and passionate and a little haunted. Very sexy.

Is your appetite whetted for Thai'd Up? I thought so! Here's the blurb:

Visiting Bangkok to do an interview for her employer, Heidi Clarke is intrigued by the wild and raucous nightlife. When a handsome and engaging stranger, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, offers to escort her into a BDSM club, she's too curious to refuse. As the man behind the mask introduces Heidi to new and exciting pleasures of the flesh, she can't help but wonder who he is. Or if she really wants to know.

Now go forth and comment!

Helen Hardt is an attorney and stay-at-home mom turned award-winning romance author and freelance editor. She met her real-life hero in law school, and they live in Colorado with their two teenage sons. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.) Visit Helen at www.helenhardt.com and www.helensheroes.blogspot.com

236 comments:

1 – 200 of 236   Newer›   Newest»
Shelley Munro said...

Hi Cari and Helen,

I have to agree about putting writing first. All the promo in the world won't sell a book that's only an unwritten idea.

Helen - you have been a busy girl :)

Christina Phillips said...

Great questions, Cari!

Helen, I also agree about putting the writing first. I'm terrible about procrastinating on the web before I start writing and the time vanishes. I'm getting better about not doing that, though :-)

And I do love this title!!!

Catherine Bybee said...

I'm learning to get off-line once in a while. I wrote so many stories last year and only a couple this year. sigh... I'll figure it out soon.

Loved Thai'd up. It was a wonderful quicky!

Helen Hardt said...

Shelley, great to see you! Busy? Hon, your schedule this year makes me look like a slacker ;). Here's to both of us!

Helen

Helen Hardt said...

Christina, the web is an evil temptress, isn't she? I'm getting better, too, but it's still difficult. Thanks for coming by!

Helen

Helen Hardt said...

Catherine, I'm in the same boat. I wrote a ton last year, and this year I'm at less than half of the words I had by this time last year. Getting those contracts is a good thing, but they do take away writing time.

I'm glad you enjoyed TU ;).

Helen

Mary Ricksen said...

It's hard to put the writing first. But there has to be a time when we do that.
Good luck with sales Helen!

Helen Hardt said...

Thanks, Mary!

Cate Masters said...

Great post, Helen and Cari! Thai'd Up is an irresistible title, Helen.
And great idea, writing first before getting sucked into the Web void...
Congrats on your successes, and here's hoping for many more!

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Helen and Cari! Great interview! How cool is that, Helen, to have been to Paris and Seoul!

I agree with you on the net being a distractor. It's like a vortex that sucks you in! LOL I have only my blog and the author interviews I do to promote. And it's VERY easy to say I'm being productive by working on that stuff instead of my WIP!!! Plus, I want to keep up with all the authors I've met!

So, I have to get up at 5:30am (after hubby leaves) and try to get my 1000k in before my gremlins wake up. I find if I stick with that practice I get more done AND I fight less with old hubby man over me being on the computer too much! LOL

Congrats on THAI'D UP's release, Helen! TTFN Ladies! It's naptime! LOL

Helen Hardt said...

Cate, great to see you! Writing first, before internet, has worked well for me this month. So well that I think I'm going to keep doing it.

Helen

Helen Hardt said...

Sarah, you amaze me. I didn't even try to write when my boys were younger! I think it's great that you and so many other moms are doing it. I am so not a morning person. 5:30 a.m.? You go, girl!

Helen

Paty Jager said...

Great interview, Helen and Cari!

Beth Trissel said...

Fabulous post. I need to put more time into writing and less into promo too but with three novels out in a month I didn't feel like I had much choice other than promo to death.
Your new read sounds very interesting! And I admire your productivity.

Kaye Manro said...

Great interview, Cari and Helen! It sure looks like most of us agree about too much time spent on the internet! It does sap time and energy and the writing can slip into the background if we don't watch out.

Tanya Hanson said...

Helen, I so admire your goal of putting writing first. You are my inspiration. I usually fool around terribly before sitting down and getting things done. The good news: the first round of my wip is done and ready for revising.

I LOVE the idea of a man in a mask. I was totally obsessed with POTO when it was in LA a while back.
Thai'd Up is an amazingly clever title. You rock!

~Tanya

Ashley said...

Great post, Cari and Helen. :) I, too, have to struggle with computer distractions... I might have to adopt a strategy like that. To get the important stuff in before surfing/checking email. Good idea. :)

Cari Quinn said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by to support Helen! Thai'd Up is a great read! :)

Viola Estrella said...

Great interview, Cari and Helen! And I agree with Helen about putting writing first. Some days I agree a little more than others. LOL! Like the days when my muse is cooperating. Sneaky little *$%+&#!! :-)

Rachel E. Moniz said...

Hello Cari and Helen!

Great blog and I am looking forward to reading more of your releases.

And, the advice about putting thw writing first, is spot on!!!

Rachel

Helen Hardt said...

Hi everyone -- so sorry I didn't make it back here yesterday to respond personally... It's been a week and a half -- and the week's only half over, LOL. Thank you all for commenting and for your support. It means the world to me. Keep writing!

Helen

Monica Kaye said...

That was a great interview! Thanks Helen and Cari!

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