Helen Holmes is author of The Biter Bit.
After a career in Education, Helen revved up her idling brain by taking an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. One of her short stories won a New Writing North competition; others have been shortlisted for Cinnamon Press, Mslexia, The Fine Line and Lightship competitions. Her work has been published in six anthologies. She was one of the first cohort to take part in Cinnamon Press’s mentoring scheme, which resulted in the completion of a collection of short stories. Helen lives with her husband in north Northumberland.
Author Q & A
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this story?
I was interested in exploring the idea of the ‘unreliable narrator’, and also in getting inside the head of a ‘victim’ whose glass is perpetually (and paralysingly) half-empty. The lost confidential file was in the news, and sent shudders down my spine!
When did you start writing?
After retirement, I attended creative writing courses at Newcastle University, and was sufficiently inspired to apply for a full-time MA course, which I completed in 2010.
Do you have a favourite genre?
As a reader, I most enjoy literary fiction, but am also fascinated by well-crafted crime fiction. As a writer, my focus is short stories.
What’s your favourite book or short story?
‘Brooklyn’, by Colm Toibin
What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
The Holy Grail of new ideas for stories!
Are you currently working on a full-length novel and looking for a publisher?
I have completed a collection of short stories, supported by Cinnamon Press’s mentoring scheme, some of which have been published in anthologies. I would love to have my own collection published. I’m currently developing ideas for a new collection.
What do you most enjoy about writing?
Losing myself entirely in the characters, some of whom are an enigma, even to me. I also enjoy the honing and polishing process of editing.
Amazon: Friend or foe?
Both. It provides easy and affordable access to books for a vast range of people, BUT more ethical and transparent business practices in terms of conditions of employment, relationship with industry partners and, of course, tax contributions should underpin its operation.