Hi, Helen! Welcome. It's great to have you here. Can't wait to get down to the nitty gritty with you.
Thank you for having me, Dayana! It's always fun to visit you. Don't worry, I'll keep it PG ;). Though I would like to give away a pdf of my most recent erotic release, Montego Lay, to one of your commenters today.
Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?
What makes me happy is easy – my husband and my two handsome teenage sons. They mean the world to me. What makes me sad? When my boys are sick, when people I care about are suffering. Angry? People who think the rules don’t apply to them. That drives me crazy! Snoopy dance? A new contract, a great review, watching my younger son win a football game, watching my older son win a music competition.
What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Honestly, a deadline. Better yet, a deadline that others know about. I’ve had great success with National Novel Writing Month, where you have 30 days to write a 50K novel. I don’t want to be the dweeb who can’t make the deadline, LOL. Back in December, I had three weeks to write a 25K novella for The Wild Rose Press’s Lawmen and Outlaws anthology. The Outlaw’s Angel turned out to be one of my best stories, according to my CPs.
hmm...looks like I'm the dweeb. I honestly cannot write under pressure. It just doesn't work for me. I seize up and can't think of anything. LOL Ah well... I truly admire people who can just sit down and write like that. I write when the muse strikes me. Seems you work best under pressure *grin* Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I hope to make some decent money at some point. I think all writers want that. But if we were doing this solely for the money, most of us would have given up by now.
LOL can I relate to that! Definitely not something to take on if you expect to pay the mortgage, at least as a newbie in the world of publication. When was the first moment you felt comfortable saying, “I am a writer?”
June 2008, when I got my first contract from the lovely Diana Carlile, Senior Editor for the Scarlet Rose line at The Wild Rose Press. She gave me some of the nicest praise I’ve ever received for my writing. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart for making me feel like a real writer:)
Oh, I have to agree with you here about Diana. She is a wonderful editor. She helped me to make Eternal Obsession a much better story. Where do you hide yourself away to write?
I am lucky that I have a home office. From time to time I’ve been known to work in other places with my laptop, but most of my writing is done in my office.
Most authors are avid readers as well. When do you have time to read? Where?
I read in the evenings, usually while lying in bed. I also always have a book in the car with me in case I’m stuck waiting around somewhere. That way, I always have something to do. If I ever have a spare moment, I’m reading:)
Okay, so we writers do love to sit down and read for enjoyment and relaxation but as an author what would you say is your least favorite thing to do? Allow me to clarify: query, write a synopsis, write a blurb, market, you get the picture:)
Good question. My least favorite thing about writing is submitting. People who don’t write have no idea how difficult it is to put yourself out there, and I’m the thinnest skinned wuss you’ll ever meet, LOL.
Oh, I will beg to differ with you there, *grin* I am really a nervous Nellie when I submit a work. I have truly not gained in the confidence arena even with several published projects "out there." Quite frankly, I am more nervous and worrisome each time I submit. How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?
I started writing seriously in October of 2006, when I had a problematic mammogram. After additional testing, the mammogram turned out fine, but it was a wake-up call for me. You never know what tomorrow will bring. If I wanted to write, I’d better start. So I did. My first book was published in August 2008, so that’s a little under two years.
Wow! That's pretty impressive. My first novel was pubbed I believe four years after completion, but I have to admit some of that was me being discouraged and shelving it a couple of times then beginning the entire process of submitting again. How long did it take you to get your first project sold?
I started submitting in June 2007, and sold my first story in June 2008, so exactly one year.
How many manuscripts had you written by the time you had your first publication?
Quite a few. Six novels, three shorts, one novella, I think.
Why do you write?
That's the million dollar question, isn't it? Because I don't feel complete if I don't. This drive to write has been a part of my psyche for so long that I'm not sure I can explain it any better than that. Many times I've told myself, "gee, wouldn't life be easier if I didn't have this need to write?" Yes, it definitely would be. Writing is not easy. Not only that, it's fraught with rejection and subjectivity. So why do we do this again? LOL
Wow! did you hit the nail on the head with that one, Helen. I know I could have wallpapered my office with rejection letters with my first novel. Then after you finally do break through and get sold, you get trashed by reviews. LOL A writer really does drop their heart out for all to trample, but boy isn't it wonderful when you get those stellar reviews or letters from readers that 'just love your books.' Do you have an upcoming release?
Montego Lay, an erotic short, released last Friday (September 11) at The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses.
Here's the blurb:
Vacationing at a Montego Bay nude resort, Lisa Brooks finds herself volunteering in a bondage demonstration on the beach. She’d like to continue the instructions with the Jamaican native, but the gorgeous resort employee has other duties to perform. Though disappointed, Lisa accompanies a friend to an erotic casino night where the chips are free and redeemable for sex. A night for a mysterious encounter? If only she could buy the island hottie she really wants.
I have two upcoming releases. The first is in your favorite genre, Dayana, dark paranormal. Blood Wolf was one of the winners of The Wild Rose Press’s Got Wolf? Contest and will release on October 9 in a two author anthology. This is one of my favorite stories and favorites heroes, so I’m very excited! My next release is a very hot western ménage called Slow and Wet, and is my first release with Ellora’s Cave. It’s coming on November 24.
Here’s the blurb for Blood Wolf:
When mysterious Damian MacGowan saves Suzanne Wood from a gang of thugs in a small Scotland town, she's beyond grateful. But his possessive need to be near her troubles her. Damian doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Suzanne. He knows only that he must have her, or he will die. As the two get to know each other, love blossoms. But Damian has a secret, and an enemy, that may keep him from Suzanne forever.
Definitely sounds like a must have. Tell us about your Hero. Do you have a favorite, if you’ve written multiple books?
My heroes are all very different, and I love them all:) If I had to choose favorites, I’d go with Bobby Morgan in The Outlaw’s Angel and Damian MacGowan in the upcoming Blood Wolf. Both are fiercely passionate and capable of great love, yet they’re a little tormented. Very sexy!
Thank you again for having me today, Dayana! Readers, remember to leave a comment and you may win a pdf of Montego Lay.
Helen Hardt is an attorney and stay-at-home mom turned award-winning romance author. 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. She is currently contracted with The Wild Rose Press and Ellora’s Cave. 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 http://www.helenhardt.com/ and http://www.helensheroes.blogspot.com/.