7 Questions With Author Helen Buckley

Helen Buckley is the author of Star in the Shadows, a contemporary women’s fiction novel published in October 2019 by Austin Macauley. Star in the Shadows is about a teen runaway turned pop star and the family she loved and left behind and is available on Amazon, Waterstones, and the Austin Macauley website.


Helen lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and son. She started writing her first novel in 2018 when she was struggling with infertility. After completing Star in the Shadows she became pregnant with her son Donovan via IVF.


For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For writing and marketing tips consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.



Are you a plotter or a pantser?



A bit of both! I start out with this beautiful idea of creating a spreadsheet to map out all the scenes. Then I start typing and inevitably my characters find their own paths, new opportunities to add drama arise, and before I know it, the finished story looks very different from the original plan. And thank goodness for that!




How does a day in your author life look?



I have a 10 month old, so my day begins at 5am when I get a few precious moments to myself to write. I spend about 45-60 minutes working, at the moment on my third novel. Although my brain is tired, the world is still asleep and peaceful, and I value those quiet moments before dawn more than anything.


When the baby naps at lunchtime I try to focus on any marketing opportunities for my first novel, Star in the Shadows. I contact bloggers, look for opportunities to promote on social media, or contact local press or businesses. In the evenings, if I have time, I might try to write some more. I find the lack of free time to write deeply frustrating, but I make the most of the time I have.




What were some major setbacks of this profession?



Oh boy, there are quite a few aren’t there? You can work for months or years on a novel, and then earn a pittance in return for all those hours of writing, and editing, and marketing. There’s a lot of misconceptions that authors earn a good living, but most of them don’t.


It’s a tough and competitive industry and you have to have a thick skin to cope with rejections from agents and publishers, and bad reviews too! It’s very hard to put your work out there and know it’ll be critiqued. It’s by no means an easy profession to choose. Indeed, only the brave write!




What’s your definition of the first draft?



My first drafts are rough. As in, bare bones, barely comprehensible, riddled with errors and placeholders, unresearched, and mostly absolute gibberish. But that’s ok! I like to bash out the draft as soon as I can, to get the basic story arc and scenes in place. Then I go back and start fleshing it all out and try to breathe life into it.




Authors vs. Social Media. How do you approach the tools you have at your disposal?



I’m still getting to grips with Instagram, but I have found Twitter to be a brilliant place to find other writers and book bloggers. I often see useful threads of advice about publishing, writing, and marketing, as well as great book recommendations from reviewers!


Honestly, I have learned so much just from Twitter and I’m grateful I invested the time and energy to build up a following and engage with people on there. In 2020 I am hoping to build up my Instagram following – @helencatherinebuckley – and my Facebook author page – @helenbuckleyauthor.




What should readers expect from your next novel?



In from the Cold is about a former Olympic ice skating champion with a busted ankle and a bad attitude. Katie refuses to forgive Alex, her ex skating and romantic partner, for the accident which shattered her ankle and their Olympic dreams.


She takes part in a reality TV show to get some cash and restore her reputation but gets more than she bargained for! It’s a fun, dramatic and romantic read and I’m currently considering whether to self-publish or traditional publish.




Do you have any tips for authors who are looking into getting more reviews for their novels?



I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I found organising a blog tour really effective for when my book Star in the Shadows published. I organised through Rachel’s Random Resources and it helped me get some initial reviews. Not only that, it also created a nice buzz around the publication day, and the reviews from bloggers really boosted my confidence.


It was a great experience and I would highly recommend getting in touch with a blog tour organiser, like Rachel, to see what they can suggest for you.


Find Helen Buckley here:


Website     Amazon     Goodreads

Twitter: @HelenCBuckley

Instagram: @helencatherinebuckley

Facebook: @helenbuckleyauthor


Are you in the Writing Industry?

Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you!



And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.



She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills. 


Read the full blurb here.