Buy Helen's book, The Mercury Travel Club: Amazon
I recently enjoyed an exclusive interview with Helen Bridgett, author of The Mercury Travel Club: Where the Chaos Comes Free (my current read-- very enjoyable!). Stay tuned for my book review- coming soon! My author interview with Helen, below- enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself...
Where to start? I live in Manchester, England with my husband and Labrador - Angus. We chose Manchester because we're both outdoor lovers and here we're within a couple of hours of three national parks. I love hiking and cycling as well as walking the dog so I spend a lot of time covered in mud!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always loved writing but I think it was about 10 years ago that I actually said to myself, "I want to be a writer". Of course just saying that isn't enough and I did nothing about it back then. Two years ago, circumstances forced my hand and I had to give up my job. I decided I might as well do something about that writing ambition and I've been doing it ever since.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
I guess mine is a story of persistence. Having decided to get on with writing, I set myself a goal to write a book by Christmas and give it to my sister as a present. I set myself word-count goals and wrote every day. On some days I deleted every thing I'd written the previous day but I kept going and then one day I had 80,000 words and a completed manuscript! I can't tell you how good that felt. No matter what else happened, I'd done it. I wanted it to be as good as it could be so I asked for professional help - I hired an editor and read up on self-editing. With some guidance and four re-writes, I was ready to send the book off to agents and publishers. Every day I wrote to at least five and most days, I got five rejections back. It was winter and it was extremely demoralizing. Then one day in spring - I got a "yes" !
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
I hadn't realised how lonely the job could be. I thought it was just me feeling this and then I read another author talking about it. The advice was to get out, join a writing group, have some laughs, take exercise, go for walks - just see people and talk! It works and I now make sure that I spend as much time in the real world as I do in my imaginary one!
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
I love it when my characters take on a life of their own and perhaps say something funny or do something I hadn't expected. I also truly love books and writing and the fact that this is now my life - I meet, talk to and liaise with other book lovers - it's a dream come true!
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
I guess the thing is to have a habit. To develop a routine that works for you. I get up and walk the dog for an hour ensuring I talk to other dog walkers. Then I make us both breakfast and sit down to my day's work. I always set a word-count target or a list of tasks that need doing such as a blog update and I work all day until early evening when Angus needs walking again. I have other hobbies - I'm a member of the Rock Choir so I get the chance to switch off and I meet up with other writers to share news and ideas. My routine won't work for others but if you find your flow, it will be much easier to keep going.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
You just have to keep going. There is a quote which I like "Genius does exist but it has to find you working" - just write - yes some of it will be deleted but you'll know why and you'll know where to go next. And ask for support - writers know how it feels and I have genuinely found so much support when I reached out and asked for it.
Finish these sentences:
I am most grateful for...
My fabulous family and their continued good health.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be...
Trust your instincts - you know what's right for you.
My favorite thing about being a writer is...
Being amongst books all the time
My least favorite thing about being a writer is...
Having to promote myself!
My goals for the future are...
To keep writing and produce work that is loved
I love living a creative life because...
I get to make things up!
The last book I read was...
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My favorite book, ever, is...
L'Assomoir by Zola - the first book ever to make me cry
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is...
Hiking - I love the mountains
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is...
Focus and do something towards them every day
A few more questions...
Do you have any New Years Resolutions for 2017?
To publish 2 novels and write a third - and to walk 1000 miles!
Tell us about your books (genre, where we can find them, etc.)
You can find my debut Novel The Mercury Travel Club on Amazon. It's a comedy about starting over again and living the life you want, with the help of your very best friends. I hope that you'll have a few laughs reading it but also see that life is all about having the courage to get out there.
Where can readers find you (i.e. website, social media, etc.)?
I'm on Helen Bridgett and www.twitter.com/helen_bridgett
Anything else you'd like to add...
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the book!
Set in present-day Manchester, this classic mid-life journey features the 1980s soundtrack from Angie's youth, and sees her travel the world whilst coping with life after the Ex.Angie's journey is the catalyst her friends need to examine their own lives; as they start to find their true callings, will Angie find hers? Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good debut novel shows it's never too late for a second chance.
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