Saturday, 18 July 2015

Welcome to Yorkshire novelist Helen Pollard

A very warm welcome to Yorkshire writer Helen Pollard. I have had the pleasure to meet Helen a couple of times for lunch in the delightful Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge and I have read and very much enjoyed her two romantic novels, WARM HEARTS IN WINTER and HOLDING BACK.

Hello Helen. It's lovely to talk to you again! What can you tell us about Holding Back?

Holding Back is a summer romance set in northern Portugal and it concentrates on the developing relationship of Daniel and Laura who, as the title suggests, are both wary of each other and the prospect of falling in love. From a very rocky start, they move through a rollercoaster of mutual attraction, misunderstandings, friendship … but will they allow that to develop into something more?

I loved the Portugal setting. Even though I have never been there, I could picture perfectly well the scenery and the little towns Laura and Daniel visited.
In three words - What kind of man is Daniel, your hero?

Demanding, loyal, goodhearted.

Indeed... I found Daniel a wonderful romantic hero! In three words - What kind of woman is Laura, your heroine?

Independent, capable, stubborn. 

What did Daniel think the first time he saw Laura?

After a mix-up over luggage and hire-cars at the airport, Daniel thought Laura was stroppy and incompetent … and attractive despite her dishevelled appearance:

He was so tired he could sleep for a month. Encounters with stroppy, sexy women he could well have done without. On his drive north from the airport, he'd had quite a struggle to forget the pretty brunette with attitude.

And what did Laura think of Daniel the first time she saw him? 

Laura thought Daniel was arrogant, rude … and handsome:

"Pity his manners aren't as attractive as the rest of him," she muttered as she pushed her trolley through the throng. And, she had to face it, the rest of him was attractive, even to her usually oblivious eyes.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to write? (quiet, music, an empty house?)

I like music if I'm fiddling about with bits and pieces – marketing, social media, etc. – but when I'm actually writing or doing some serious editing, I do need quiet. As for an empty house … that's a rare occurrence so I tend not to rely on it, or I'd never get anything done!

Just like me then!
Do you find it difficult to come up with titles for your novels?

Yes, I find titles really hard. I know some authors think of a title first and write around that, but I can have the whole book written and still draw a complete blank!

With Warm Hearts in Winter, even when I’d finished the book, everything I thought of seemed to have been used before. In the end, I went for something that gives the reader a clear idea of what they’re getting (with a little alliteration for good measure!) For Holding Back, I spent weeks trying to come up with something. I wanted it to reflect the story, the fact that the hero and heroine are too stubborn and reticent to allow themselves to fall in love. In the end, good old hubby came through and suggested Holding Back, which I'm really pleased with.

As for my current work in progress, it has several working titles - none of them suitable, of course …

I am sure you will find wonderful title. Sometimes, it's better not to try too hard and it just pops into your mind!
Now for the word association fun test!

day                      coffee, work, walk                 
night                  insomnia, owl, pillow
winter                snow, robin, radiator
summer            coast, flowers, garden
nature                trees, river, wildflowers

The last thing they're looking for is love …
Laura Matheson is a natural at avoiding romance, so when she is drawn to mystery guest Daniel Stone while helping out at her friends' hotel in Portugal, she assumes all she needs is a little extra willpower.
Daniel is at the hotel on business. The demands of work and a manipulative ex-girlfriend mean he doesn't have the time or energy for romance, but Laura is a distraction he finds hard to ignore.
As they negotiate a minefield of misunderstandings and mutual attraction, will they both continue to hold back? Or will they finally allow love into their lives?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK:

About the Author:
Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor - to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love ... and we all need a little love, right?

A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers and a psychotic cat. When she's not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.

Find Helen at:

Website & Blog:     

Laura's mind raced as her footsteps slowed. What on earth was he doing here? The unlikely hope he might be passing by—perhaps he'd called in for directions to somewhere else?—was immediately scotched as he lifted his luggage from the car. Reminded of their encounters at the airport, she could have squirmed with embarrassment at how out of character she'd acted, making mistakes and being so snappy about them.

Well, he wouldn't see her like that again. If Daniel Stone was a guest here—and it seemed there was no escaping from it—then she must make him welcome. For goodness' sake, she was used to dealing with awkward situations every day at school!

He turned at the sound of her footsteps. Forcing a calmness into her voice that didn't extend to her stomach, she stepped forward and held out her hand.

"Mr. Stone? Welcome to the Quinta Maria."

Closing the car, he straightened up to his full six-foot-something and reached out to shake hands. For one brief, glorious moment, Laura thought he might not recognise her now that she was spruced up a little, but any hope of that disappeared as his eyes narrowed in sudden recognition and his hand dropped to his side as though it had been burned.

"It seems you have the advantage over me, knowing my name," he said. "Since you're determined to turn up like a bad penny wherever I go, perhaps you could enlighten me with yours?"

Incensed, Laura bit back a response. They were no longer on neutral ground, and as his host, she could hardly give him a piece of her mind.

"I'm Laura Matheson," she replied as evenly as she could. "If you'll excuse me, I'll get your key and then I'll show you around."

Disappearing into reception before he could find further fault with her, she crossed to the desk and raked her tired eyes over the reservations spreadsheet with a growing sense of disbelief. Not only was Daniel Stone booked in for a full fortnight, but he'd been allocated the room next to hers. Even Paulo and Rachel were unknowingly conspiring against her!

"You're in room eleven," she announced, sensing his presence in the doorway. "Your other party checked in earlier. Will you require a second key?"

"My other party?"

Something in his tone made her glance up. She recognised the travel weariness in his stance, but his face showed only bewilderment.

"Yes." She squinted at the computer screen again. "Miss Hartman."

His eyes froze to a dangerous dark blue. "Natalie Hartman?"

"That's right," she confirmed, double-checking the name. "Is there a problem?"

"What time did she check in?" His mouth was a hard, thin line.

She frowned. "I'm sorry, I don't know."

"You don't know?" There was incredulity in his voice, along with displeasure and a hint at incompetence on her part.

Laura didn't like it, nor was she going to take it. "I don't know because I wasn't here in reception when she checked in. As you're aware, I only arrived here a short while ago myself. I …" She stopped. There was no need for her to explain herself. Frankly, she couldn't understand why he didn't just go and talk to his companion. After all, they were sharing a double room.
Thank you so much for coming on the blog today Helen. I wish you plenty of success with HOLDING BACK and good luck with your work in progress!


  1. Lovely interview, Helen and Marie! I like your word associations, Helen - especially the ones with "night"! I can symapthise. Best of luck with Holding Back, and with all your writing projects!

    1. Thank you, Helena. They were fun questions to answer!

    2. Thank you for visiting and for your comment Helena.

  2. Thank you for having me on the blog today, Marie :)

  3. You are very welcome, Helen. It was a pleasure!