A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
First off, congratulations on the publication of AFTER EDEN! After racing through this incredibly sweet and riveting teen romance, I’m definitely bursting with questions for you. I absolutely loved all the references to star systems and astronomy – what first piqued your interest in the wonders of the universe?
Thank you! I’ve always had a fascination with the stars. When I was about 8, my next door neighbor and I met outside our houses in the middle of the night to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. But the inspiration for After Eden came along with a telescope I received for my birthday about four years ago. I wanted to know more about the universe. Brian Cox’s books and TV series about the solar system and the universe were airing on TV too, which helped educate a non-scientist like myself. That latent interest was suddenly ignited and I knew I wanted to write something that had the universe at its heart.
Wow, love Brian Cox! What a great source of inspiration.
Eden is a great character – feisty, loyal, smart – how did you first ‘meet’ her, so to speak? When did she first come to life on the page?
I knew that I wanted Eden to be a girl with a quiet, inner strength and no obvious ‘badass’ qualities. I didn’t really feel her until the scene where she goes to the arcade to meet Ryan and sees him talking to another, prettier, girl. At that point I felt I knew her insecurities and strengths. Her behavior and motives were much easier to write from then on.
On the back of the proof, this book is called THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE for a new generation – a very apt description. What intrigues you most about time travel, and how did you prepare for the inevitable paradoxes that occur when dealing with time?
I actually haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife (I know – shocking!) so I have no idea if that is an apt comparison.Time travel fascinates me because, when you stop thinking of time as fixed and linear, all sorts of possibilities open up. My degree was in History and I’ve always been fascinated by other times. I did lots of reading on time travel paradoxes before I wrote After Eden. But After Eden is a book with time travel in it rather than a book about time travel, so I didn’t want to get too bogged down with temporal paradoxes and explanations. I did, however, make a conscious decision to avoid a predestination paradox because After Eden is about Fate, and I very much wanted my characters to have free will.
I love that the book is set in Cornwall – what a beautiful (and inspiring) part of the UK. Did you visit any of the settings in the book as part of your creative process?
I was born and brought up in Cornwall and, after fifteen years away, I’m living in Cornwall again. Although the places in the book are fictional, they are all based on places I know well, like St. Ives and Prussia Cove. I frequently took walks in those locations when I needed inspiration for a particular scene.
What has been the best part of seeing your book through the publication process? What was the most challenging?
The best bit was the day my author copies arrived in the post and I finally got to see my story turned into a real book! The hardest part has been the slow pace of publishing.
And finally, do you have a particular constellation that means a lot to you?
I love the constellation Lyra. It was the first one I looked at through my telescope. (I named one of my cats Lyra after the constellation). I also love Orion. Its stars are so clear and bright, it’s impossible not to feel awed by their beauty.
Thank you so much, Helen!
AFTER EDEN (available now from Bloomsbury)
THE OATHBREAKER’S SHADOW (available now from RHCP)