Today I have the huge pleasure of chatting with Helen J Rolfe; Author of Women’s Contemporary Romantic Fiction including, Christmas at Little Knitting Box, plus exclusive Guest Post, Spotlight, Excerpt and Giveaway.
About the Author
Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.
Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.
Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.
After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.
Favourite Christmas Memories by Helen J Rolfe
I think my first favourite memory would have to be when I was little and it snowed. It was years ago but I still believed in Santa and that year he gave me a bike. I insisted I went out on it – my parents must’ve enjoyed the experience! – and I didn’t let the weather stop me at all. That year we built an igloo with our nextdoor neighbour and a snowman too, and it was completely magical.
I also remember at school, that we had a homemade postbox into which you put Christmas cards. Then every day the cards would be left on your table in class for you to open. Cards aren’t sent as much nowadays and it’s a real shame.
My next favourite Christmas memory has to be my first Christmas in Australia. I had a friend staying with me and we were in a 15th floor apartment with no air conditioning and it was so hot! But we were determined to have the full roast dinner. We went out shopping the day before but on Christmas day found we had no potatoes, so went out in search for them. We never envisaged getting stuck in a traffic jam! In the UK roads tend to be quite deserted, so this was a first. Anyway, we had a good laugh about it, but every year when I roast the potatoes it reminds me of that time.
Over the years I’ve always loved Christmas but even more so once I had my own children and they believed in Santa too. Shopping in secret was always interesting, returning to the house and hiding everything away. The problem was, I’d then forget where I’d hidden it so it would take me forever to find everything. I remember it was always a case of late nights wrapping, my husband keeping watch in case either of the children came out of their rooms and caught me, and one year we were up until well after midnight assembling a cubby house in the back garden and a toy kitchen. It’s actually far easier now they’re older, but there’s something about kids at Christmas that makes it so special.
Every year I think my favourite memory is the Christmas dinner and cooking it. It takes forever, but it’s the only time we have all the trimmings, with the pigs in blankets, the mince pies afterwards, if we have any room, and all sitting around sipping champagne.
Roll on Christmas!
Frankie Hi Helen, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Firstly, what five word’s would you use to describe yourself?
Helen Organised, curious, friendly, reliable, independent
Frankie If you could live in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?
Helen I think I’d love to go back to the 2000’s in Australia. It’s when I first went over there and I fell in love with the country. I was in my twenties too, with a good job and free weekends, so I’d like to do a lot more exploring!
Frankie Who was your childhood hero?
Helen Wonder Woman! I think growing up with two brothers meant I watched a lot of programs with male characters – batman, spiderman, superman. Wonder Woman was something else entirely and she was also beautiful.
Frankie What is your favourite time of the year?
Helen I would say I’m much more of a summer person than a lover of winter. When the sun shines it makes me feel so much more energetic and I love the long days and evenings too. It means we can get outside as a family which is one of my favourite things to do. I think I’m very much in love with the idea of winter rather than actual winter itself. I love photos of snow covered landscapes, log cabins, cosy fires and a small amount of that is wonderful, but not too long or I get fed up. Christmas is a fantastic time but once it’s over, I’m really, ready for the sun to come out again!
Frankie Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?
Helen I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Evan in Handle Me with Care. He has such a battle on his hands but he’s a gorgeous man inside and out. He’s also from Melbourne, my favourite city in the world!
Frankie Where doe’s your inspiration for your books come from?
Helen Everywhere! People I meet, places I visit, things I read. When I’m out and about I’m forever putting notes into my phone and then sending them to myself in an email. I have lots of ideas stored away in an email file so when it’s time to plan a new book I have lots of information.
Frankie What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Helen 1. Read lots. I think we learn a lot by osmosis. We widen our vocabulary, learn about character and plot development and can see how other authors put together a story.
2. Start! Sit down and get writing, and give yourself permission to write rubbish. The first draft is always messy but you can always edit a messy draft. You can’t edit a blank page!
3. Surround yourself with other authors. Writing is a lonely occupation but by talking with other writers online or in person, it can really help. It’s good to know the struggles you have are often the same as others are experiencing, and it encourages you to keep going.
Frankie If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)
Helen Judy Blume because I love, love, love her books. I found them to be refreshingly honest.
Nicholas Sparks, because he is a brilliant storyteller, and I would love to ask him about his writing process and where his ideas come from.
Lianne Moriarty because this woman can weave a brilliant plot! I would love to know how she does it, how she plans and finally makes a start.
Frankie Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?
Helen Chocolate! Especially dark…
Thank you for chatting with me Helen, it was lovely having you visit.
New York Ever After Series
Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …
The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.
Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.
When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?
Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but is it the time to fall in love?
As the flames on the log fire flicker and the snowflakes swirl above the New York streets, maybe this Christmas could be the one that changes everything…
When Darcy returns to Manhattan, she’s put in charge of the Inglenook Inn, a cosy boutique hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Inn needs a boost in bookings if it’s to survive the competition, so Darcy is convinced that hosting Christmas this year is the answer. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a face from the past, which can only spell trouble.
Myles left England behind and took a job in New York. It’s a step forwards in his career, and has the added bonus of being nowhere near his family. He’s also hoping to avoid Christmas, the worst time of the year. But when his company puts him up at the Inglenook Inn and he recognises Darcy, it isn’t long before they clash.
When disaster strikes, can Myles and Darcy put their differences aside to make Christmas at the Inglenook Inn a success?
Purchase from Amazon