Joining me today to tell you #TenThings about herself is author Helen Buckley. Her most recent novel is Celebrity SOS. I really enjoyed her last novel Strictly on Ice (review here) and her short story in Sunny Summer Treats which she mentions below. Helen also took part in my Author Spotlight earlier this year – you can read that here. You’ll find buying options for Celebrity SOS on the Choc Lit website here.
- I only started writing when I was 34 years old, in March 2018. I remember it so well because I was really depressed from struggling with infertility. I was about to start IVF treatment and was desperate for something to take my mind off it all. So I started writing, and my first novel Star in the Shadows was born!
- In case you were wondering about the outcome of our fertility treatment, it was successful! I have two sons – Donovan and Richard – from two IVF cycles in 2018 and 2020. I’m so very lucky.
- Although I love romance, I’m also a huge action movie fan, especially old school ones like Commando, Rocky, Speed, Die Hard etc. Some women like flowers and chocolates but my husband once bought me Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography and it was the best gift ever.
- I lived in Honduras for almost four years in my twenties. I was supposed to be there for six months as a volunteer, but I ended up staying and working with children and families in a small local project called Nueva Esperanza (New Hope). I used the experience to write a story for the summer anthology Sunny Summer Treats, published by Choc Lit in July 2021.
- I get a lot of inspiration from the TV, especially as my Spotlight series is all about fame and love. Strictly on Ice was inspired by Dancing on Ice, and Celebrity SOS is inspired by a variety of survival shows including I’m a celebrity, Bear Grylls The Island, and SAS: Who dares wins. I’m currently writing a Bake-Off inspired story!
- My biggest fear in life is looking back and regretting that I didn’t try something I wanted to. I recently took up the flute and passed my Grade Five Jazz exam! You are never ever too old to try something new.
- And speaking of music, I’m terrible at keeping up with the latest tunes. I tend to listen to old favourites again and again, especially power ballads by Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Leona Lewis. I find them pretty inspiring for writing romance!
- I don’t sleep much, thanks to having two small children. I’m usually up around 5am and I try to squeeze in half an hour to write with an uninterrupted cup of tea. Although I’m tired, I relish being awake and creating new love stories while the world slumbers on.
- I grew up in West London, in Hounslow, under the flight path of Heathrow. My dad was a bus driver and my mum most recently worked as a welfare assistant in an infant school. My parents both left school at 15, but they have always loved reading, and I think I inherited my passion for books from them. I used to steal my mum’s Catherine Cookson novels!
- I have spent my entire career working for charities. I started volunteering in my final year of Uni and went started working for charities when I graduated. My most recent role was for Age UK, and I hope to go back to working for charities when my children are a little older.
From the back of the book
I’m a celebrity … trying to escape the past!
When Katerina Murphy agrees to take part in Celebrity SOS, a reality TV show where celebrities have to fend for themselves in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s up for the challenge. But then she locks eyes with fellow contestant Finn Drayson of 1Dream boy band fame and realises that the show is going to push her further from her comfort zone than she ever imagined.
After all, Finn wasn’t just Katerina’s co-star in the school play adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s where she discovered her acting confidence, he was also her first love – and the first boy to break her heart. Even years later, the secret kisses and shared packets of crisps on park benches are never far from her mind.
Will award-winning actress Katerina Murphy’s talents stretch to staying composed in the face of Arctic winds and blasts from the past?
About the Author
Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019. She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan and chocolate addict.