Friday, February 6, 2009

Interview with Helen Scott Taylor

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Helen Scott Taylor. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.  

I understand you have a new release out called The Magic Knot. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Magic Knot is a paranormal romance about Cornish piskies and Irish Tuatha dè Danaan. The heroine visits Cornwall looking for her father. She discovers she is the Cornish piskie queen and her father is a dark druid who has imprisoned her people in portraits. The race is then on to discover the fairy lore needed to release her people before her father destroys them forever.

The Magic Knot is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

In my story The Magic Knot is a magical pendant similar to a Celtic Knot possessed by every person of fairy blood. The three linked rings symbolise mind, body, and spirit. In my story, lovers give their Magic Knot into the safekeeping of their soul mate—the ultimate demonstration of trust and commitment that binds them together in mind, body, and spirit for life. I felt the title embodied the romantic and mystical essence of the story.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Romance and fantasy were my favorite genres, so I naturally turned to one of those when I started writing. I always enjoyed short contemporary romances and as I was very familiar with that type of story, I initially wrote one of those. My characters were too unconventional for short contemporary romance, so I tried my hand at paranormal romance and discovered a wonderful blend of my favorite genres.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I initially conceived the idea for The Magic Knot to be a contemporary story of identical twin Irish brothers running a pub in Cornwall. When I changed my focus from contemporary romance to paranormal, the brothers became fairies, and then I threw in a dark druid, a vampiric winged fairy, and a fire-wielding Irish fairy queen.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

I have a series of books called The Element Encyclopedias:
Some I’ve used are on Witchcraft, Magical Creatures, and Psychic World. The book I’ve used often while researching my fairy world is The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies by Ana Franklin. This is a wonderful treasure trove of everything fairy.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

As well as my hero Niall O’Connor who is half leprechaun and half Tuatha Dè Danaan, and my heroine who is half human and half Cornish pisky, I have two favorite secondary characters: the hero’s identical twin brother, Michael, and a vampiric winged fairy called Nightshade. I love them all and it’s impossible to choose my favorite. Michael was probably the most fun to write as he is a rascal and likes to tease his brother.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I ponder my main characters for a while, then write out character sheets for the hero and heroine and sometimes also for important secondary characters and villains. I always know their goals, motivations and conflicts. I like to layer the internal conflict and give the main characters a number of internal issues to trip them up. However well I know my characters before I start writing, they always evolve and change as the story progresses.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I know my characters, and start with some ideas gleaned from my research books. Then the world evolves organically as I write the story. I am always surprised by how complex the world becomes by the end of the first draft.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’ve read a lot of romance and fantasy over the years. The combined influence of all these wonderful books inspired me to write paranormal romance. I enjoy reading many genres of romance and women’s fiction but I purposely don’t read much paranormal romance. I like to keep my head clear of other author’s ideas so I can develop my own stories with no outside influence.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

As yet, I don’t know. I have only been promoting for a few months prior to my book’s release and I’m not sure what is working best. I’d hazard a guess that the most effective promotion so far has been taking part in the American Title contest and appearing for five consecutive months in the Romantic Times Magazine. Unfortunately, that is not something I can repeat with my next book!

What do we have to look forward next?

The Phoenix Charm is the next in the Magic Knot Fairies series. The book features Michael O’Connor as he and fairy witch Cordelia Tink try to outwit the king of the Underworld to rescue the pisky king’s son. This will be a December 09 Dorchester release.

Thanks, Helen!

To celebrate her book release, Helen Scott Taylor is offering a signed copy of The Magic Knot to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be popping in to answer questions throughout the day. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

As a child, when Helen didn’t pay attention her teachers accused her of being away with the fairies. Things haven’t changed much! Only now, the fairies are tall and sexy and they live in her stories rather than just in her head. Helen resides in South Western England near Plymouth with her husband, two teenagers, two Shih Tzus, and a cat who rules the household with a velvet paw. With the rocky cliffs of the Atlantic to the south and the windswept expanse of Dartmoor to the west, she loves to walk in the countryside while she plots her stories. She believes deep within everyone there’s a little magic.

Check out author’s website at 



Anonymous said...

Good Morning Helen,
Thanks for blogging with us today. Enjoy your chocolate. My question is: Were there any scenes either you or your editor took out during the editing process that you absolutely adored?

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Kim,

Thank you for having me as your guest author today. It's great to be here. I always love chocolate!

My editor requested very few changes to my manuscript for The Magic Knot. I had to add in a few paragraphs of backstory and explanation of my fantasy world here and there, but nothing was taken out. I did take out a scene myself during my revision process before I submitted the story. But it wasn't a scene I was attached to. I'm sure I will be asked to cut something I like one of these days, though.

Carrie Weaver said...

Helen, the evolution of your story from contemporary to paranormal is fascinating. It's always fun to see how the creative process works for someone else. I can't wait to read The Magic Knot!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Carrie,

The story idea only started as a contemporary as that is the first genre I wrote. My idea of what I wanted to write gradually changed. I have other story ideas in my head that started as contemporary and then morphed into paranormal. I've also combined ideas to come up with something different. It's a fun process. Gives me an excuse for not concentrating on mundane things.


Amber Mullett said...

The story sounds really interesting. I'd love to read it. I really like how contemporary becomes paranormal all in the same frame and context of a story. It adds so many extra dimensions. The whole idea about people being trapped in a portrait is awesome. I wouldn't have thought up a prison of sorts like that.
Thanks for having the interview.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Amber,

Thank you for reading my interview. I'm glad you like the book's concept.


Carol Webb said...

Hi, Helen. Your novel sounds really interesting. It always amazes me how an author can build a completely different world. I'm going to have to get a copy.

Oh, and your cover is to die for!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Helen, what fun to run into you here! Does your book come out in the US and UK at the same time, or do overseas people need to order online?

Laurie, glad you got to keep your title :)

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Carol,

I'm delighted you like my cover. I think the cover fairies smiled on me with this one. I have my fingers crossed the next cover will be as eyecatching.

Making up new worlds is the most enjoyable part of writing for me.


Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Laurie,

Lovely to see you here.

The Magic Knot should be available everywhere by now. It came out in the States a little earlier than elsewhere, but it is available in the UK now. I know it is also on book shelves in Austraila now. I don't expect it to be stocked in many UK book stores as paranormal romance is still not a big thing here. But all the stores have it for order on their websites.

Thanks for asking!

Terry Odell said...

Helen, I remember this manuscript from the Touch of Magic Contest way back when. So wonderful to see it come to fruition.


Donna Del Grosso said...

Nice to see that your book is out! I was in a cyber-class with you last year and have waited for your book with baited breath!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Donna D. you're the winner of Helen's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com. Thanks for checking out the interview and posting a comment!

Donna Del Grosso said...

Thanks Kim! I haven't won anything in years!!!!