Today I have the pleasure to have Helen Reid with me, author of Darkest Desires of an Insecure Mind.
Hi Helen, and thank you for being here with me. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I reign from a small industrial town in Wales, close to Swansea called Port Talbot. I am 42 years old and I am married with two children.
I have always had a passion for the written word and studied English literature at university, however as with all good love stories I fell in love during my second year and let my studies fall by the wayside. I had my first child the same month I should have been sitting my finals and got married the same year. So instead of a degree I now have a strapping 21 year old son. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Last year I found myself with a little spare time on my hands, with both children older and started to write a blog, Darkest Desires of an Insecure Mind – Samantha’s story. What started off as a couple of entries of roughly 100 words quickly picked up pace and soon it became a weekly event with people waiting for the next chapter in my story. The blog had a different ending to the book and was great fun to write, perfect for wetting my appetite and giving me the confidence to pursue my dream of publishing a book.
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
Darkest Desires is about relationships and the effect they have on people, both physically and, more importantly, mentally. What goes on inside a person’s head is a very private matter and no matter how hard you try, I don’t think we can really understand why people behave, how they do and react to situations in the way that they do. I wanted people to take into consideration that while someone may be acting a certain way, there may be a reason for it that you don’t and never will understand. On paper, my main character Samantha Hunt should be the bad guy, the one who has the affair, but the reality of her situation shows us she is anything but. I suppose that people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. (Excuse the pun.)
The second thing I wanted to put across was that having money and power does not always make you the hero, there are far more important traits in a partner and Samantha comes to realize this when she meets James Sterling, her rough and ready neighbour. Did you always
Did you always have the reins of the story or the people in it tried to take over?
This is a brilliant question and one that I have tried to answer on many occasions. To be honest I am not really sure. If I look back at my notes for my original character plans for Darkest Desires of an Insecure Mind they do not really resemble the characters that ended up making the book. Samantha Hunt was, in the beginning, meant to be quite headstrong and just a neglected housewife both sexually and mentally. Her husband Andrew Hunt was just a bit of an ignorant, self-obsessed pig of a man. But by the time I had got to the final edit both characters had become a lot deeper and in Andrew’s case much darker. This is perfect in fitting in with the title. At no point do I remember making the decision to change the personalities, so you could say at this point they had definitely taken control.
Which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
At first I found sex scenes quite difficult to write, I mean I didn’t want people to think I was writing from personal experience. After putting the blog out with a number of these scenes and seeing how well they were received, I finally managed to get over my prudish side. In fact, she has been well and truly banished. The hardest scene I have ever written comes at the end of Darkest Desires of an Insecure Mind and while it involves sex, it was the violent nature of the act that troubled me. That scene took a lot of writing and rewriting to get the feel just right. I hope that I have done it justice.What are you working on now?
What are you working on now?
At the moment I am in the editing process of my next novel, Deliciously Kept.
Amber Heart is a high-end escort who thinks she has the world at her feet. She is stunning, sassy and in control. High paying customers give her a life some people could only dream of. All she needs to do is stick to her golden rule. No emotional connections with clients. This has never been a problem until garage mechanic, Luke Parker asks for a date, paid of course. Luke doesn’t want sex; he just wants Ambers company and is willing to part with hard earned cash to get it. Will she be able to resist his charms? While this romantic dalliance is unfolding another part of Ambers life is falling apart, a long-term client and member of the police force has decided that Amber could be a meal ticket that he should be taking advantage of. Setting himself up as her unwelcome pimp Amber has the fight of her life on her hands.
I can’t wait for people to be able to read the full story and hopefully it will be out this Christmas. It is tough and gritty, hot and steamy, oh and a little romance thrown in for good measure.
If you would like to read shortened chapters of the beginning of Deliciously Kept they are available on my blog www.deliciouslykept.wordpress.com
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
I think my answer would probably change week to week and year to year. I do have a very soft spot for the classic love stories that I studied during my student years. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte is probably my all time favourite. In fact I have just dug out my school copy to have a little nose again. Every time I read this story I take something new.
My second choice would be Tess of the D’urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy. Can you see a theme going on here? The wronged heroine and the tragic love story. I have read this many times and I have to say I think Alec D’urberville may be my most hated male character of all time.
And in third place is surprisingly a children’s book, (well three of them really), I absolutely love The Enchanted Wood and the two books that followed. The Magic Faraway Tree and The folk of the Faraway tree, by Enid Blyton. As a child I used to go on walks in the hope that I would find my own magic tree littered with magical creatures, but it was not to happen. I loved reading them to my children and being whisked off to a land where real day to day struggles don’t exist.
Favorite actor and actress.
My favourite actress Vera Farmiga, in my opinion she is someone who I think is sorely overlook as a pure genius. Her role in the Boy in Striped Pajamas was so perfect. Also loved her as Norma Bates in Bates Motel, she brings a lot of humour yet vulnerability to the role. And as a massive horror fan she was awesome in the Conjuring movies.
My favourite actor, mmm you know what I don’t think I actually have one, how strange. I mean I could say Hugh Jackman, but I would have to admit it is not solely down to his acting skills. Who doesn’t fancy Wolverine?
What bill do you hate paying the most?
The TV Licence, daylight robbery when most of the stuff I watch isn’t even on BBC.
The biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer
I was absolutely bowled over by how supportive the writing community is. Everyone is willing for you to succeed and often offering help to get your name out there. (As with this interview) It was a pleasant surprise indeed.
Do you miss being a child?
I miss not having any worries and responsibilities, but I don’t think I would want to go back. I had a happy childhood but I quite enjoy the fact I can drink wine now and eat cake whenever I feel like it.
Is marriage outdated?
I know that lots of people just see marriage as a formality these days and I think that it is becoming less common to marry. I have no issues with how anybody decides to live their life and as long as they are happy and it works for them then it really isn’t of any concern. However I do feel for me marriage is important, it makes me feel secure and seeing my husband’s band glinting on his wedding finger is probably one of the most romantic things for me. It kind of makes my insides flutter a little. I wanted to take his name so I guess I am old school. Twenty years this July we walked down the aisle, so we must be doing something right.
Thank you so much for letting me share my thought with you.
It was truly a pleasure, Helen!
Here’s the blurb for Helen’s story:
Nervous, second guessing, timid and insecure. Samantha Hunt is an emotional wreck. This is largely down to her unloving, narcissist husband Andrew Hunt. After fifteen uncertain and mentally abusive years of marriage, Andrew has finally agreed to purchase a new house, fulfilling Samantha’s dream of moving to the country, A new start and a chance to try to convince Andrew that starting a family wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
However will it be the new start Samantha was expecting? After meeting James Sterling the young, sexy and hot as hell new neighbour, Samantha’s life will never be the same again. James shows her what it is like to be truely loved and desired, a concept that is alien to her until now. Given a choice, Samantha needs to build the confidence to decide where her future lies. With Andrew, her financially stable, but cold-hearted husband? Or with James, the rough around the edges, sexy and kind hearted man next door?
It’s an internal struggle but one that only Samantha can solve. Is it a case of better the devil you know? Or is the grass definitely greener on the other side?
And here’s an extract of it:
Well there are definitely only two people heavy breathing in this room now. He pushes himself further onto my back and reaches for my left nipple, pinching each in turn. Very gently he starts to run his fingers up and down my body, I feel how hard he is as he continues his exploration of my skin. He reaches down and releases himself from his boxers. Stopping he pulls me to face him.
‘These need to go.’ I feel him tugging at my underwear. He kneels up in front of me and I take them off. Relaxing back into the pillow I wait for him to respond. Leaning over me he kisses me and gently pushes himself between my legs. He runs his hands up my thighs. I touch him in return, skimming my hands over his smooth chest, down his back and settling them on his behind.
‘Not yet, there’s no rush, play with me a little more.’ I say softly. I don’t want this to be over soon. I can really feel how hard he is. I know he is not listening and only has one thing on his mind. We have been here before. Taking his whole weight upon me I relax my legs and let him slide inside me. I feel my husband, pushing, pounding and owning me. It is in this moment all my memories of what we used to have come flooding back, why can’t he be like this always? He eases off the pace for a brief time, just long enough for him to move his mouth down to my nipples, taking each one into his mouth in turn and biting them gently at first, then applying more pressure with every thrust he makes into my body.
I feel my insides start to quake and try to hold onto my senses, this could be the only time this month that my husband feels in the mood for sex. He replaces his lips with his hands and continues to squeeze each breast and soon I am on fire, my orgasm close to taking over every inch of my body. Before I can follow through Andrew stops, I wrap my legs around him tightly but it is too late. He has finished. We lie on the bed for a brief moment; I try to hold onto him for as long as possible, not wanting to let my husband go. I want him to realise that I am not satisfied and at the very least this is when I want him to hold me, kiss me and make me feel like I am the most important person in his world. I just want us to be intimate a little longer. Andrew however has other ideas, No sooner has he pulled out of me, he is up and gone without as much as a glance back towards me. Lying cold and naked on the bed, I feel completely abandoned.
I don’t want to stay here any longer so I quickly clean up and pulling on my joggers and an old sweatshirt I make my way downstairs. I need coffee. Arriving in the kitchen I realise that although the kettle is there on the work surface, I have no idea where the coffee is, after rooting around a couple of unpacked boxes I locate it. In the fridge are some eggs and bacon and even though he doesn’t deserve it I decide to make Andrew a cooked breakfast. After finding the pans I set about my task. Mulling over the morning it occurs to me that maybe I am over-reacting, at least he wanted me this morning, and at the very least, I can hope that he will be in good spirits for the day ahead. The kettle is whistling, the sun is shining and we have just christened our new house, forgetting Andrew’s after sex manners, I can still make this work.
‘Ah that’s better, breakfast Mrs Hunt?’ Andrew is standing in the kitchen doorway, still damp after his shower and I am pretty sure it is the wash that he is referring too, when declaring his relief. I am not going to show him that I am upset and he is obviously unaware.
‘Yes of course Mr Hunt would you like me to do it or are you going to do the honours?’ I am glad I hid my disappointment as I love Andrew when he is like this, calling me Mrs Hunt and pretending to be all formal, it’s kind of a joke, just between the two of us. I can’t stay angry with him for long. He grabs the pans and it is clear Andrew is making breakfast. I get on with finding the milk and make coffee. Andrew likes his coffee black with no sugar, I like mine with lots of milk and two sugars. Just one thing we differ on. Reaching past him to replace the milk in the refrigerator I put my arm around his waist and I place a kiss on his left shoulder.
‘Fucking hell Sam, what the bloody hell are you doing?’ I was expecting a reaction, but not this one. ‘You nearly made me tip the pan over.’ As he is speaking, or should I say shouting at me, he rubs the shoulder where I had just previously planted the kiss. Shit, he is wiping it away, as though something nasty had landed there. This man who only an hour ago had been on top of me and inside me, touching caressing every part of my body, is now repulsed by the touch of my lips on his shoulder. ‘Jesus Andrew, talk about an over reaction.’ As soon as I say the words I am wishing I could retract them, his face becomes dark and I know his mood is about to match it.
If you want to read Hele’s story, Darkest Desires is available on Amazon.
If yu want to keep in touch Helen, you can find her:
no her website, www.helenreidauthour.wordpress.com
her FB page www.facebook.com/helenreidalways
and on Twitter
Thank you for coming by, and I hope you had fun!