I’m delighted to welcome author Victoria Hawthorne to my Friday Reads blog today. Victoria’s debut suspense novel, The House at Helygen was out on April 14th. She also writes bestselling pyschological thrillers under her own name of Vikki Patis.
An atmospheric historical suspense novel rich with familial secrets. The House at Helygen is a twisted tale of dark pasts, murderous presents and uncertain futures.
When Henry Fox is found dead in his ancestral home in Cornwall, the police rule it a suicide, but his pregnant wife, Josie, believes it was murder. Desperate to make sense of Henry’s death she embarks on a quest to learn the truth, all under the watchful eyes of Henry’s overbearing mother. Josie soon finds herself wrestling against the dark history of Helygen House and ghosts from the past that refuse to stay buried.
New bride Eliza arrives at Helygen House with high hopes for her marriage. Yet when she meets her new mother-in-law, an icy and forbidding woman, her dreams of a new life are dashed. And when Eliza starts to hear voices in the walls of the house, she begins to fear for her sanity and her life.
Can Josie piece together the past to make sense of her present, or will the secrets of Helygen House and its inhabitants forever remain a mystery?
Welcome Victoria. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes! I used to fill up notebooks with stories when I was at school, but I never really thought I could write novels, so it dropped off as I got a bit older. The House at Helygen is my debut historical fiction novel, but I’m also published under my own name, Vikki Patis.
Has any author inspired you?
One author who springs to mind is Samantha Shannon. I discovered her debut, The Bone Season, when I was at university, and when I realised she was about the same age as me, it really inspired me to give writing a go.
What do you like writing most?
I love flitting between historical fiction and psychological suspense. There are a lot of similarities and I enjoy writing both, so I don’t think I could choose which one I enjoy the most!
Do you have a special place for writing?
I have a lovely little office, but I do often find myself on the sofa with the dogs!
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I started off as a pantster, but I started learning how to plot when I was writing my third novel, and now I don’t think I could do without it. I write a brief synopsis then a chapter breakdown, so I know roughly the structure of the story, but it’s all subject to change once I start writing.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
Yes. My debut novel in particular was very personal to me. It explored the sexual assault I experienced as a teenager and helped me to process what happened. Most of my novels contain parts of me, however vague.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’ve just finished my second historical fiction novel, out next year, and now I’ve switched gears to write the next psychological thriller.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love reading historical fiction, so I knew I wanted to give it a go at some point. The idea came to me almost fully formed, the characters so vivid in my mind that I knew I had to write about them.
What time of the day do you write best?
Probably the morning. I have a good routine that helps get me in the zone, but I start to lose energy after lunch. I sometimes snatch periods of writing time after work though.
What are your hobbies?
We recently relocated to Scotland, so I love going on long dog walks or paddling in the river at the bottom of the garden. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 6 years ago, so being able to get outside and enjoy nature is still a real bonus to me. I’m also a big fan of binge-watching an entire series in a weekend!
What advice would you give to other writers?
Read widely, try to find time to write as often as possible, and find your own voice. Keep the faith – it’s a long journey for most, and we all experience disappointment, but keep going.
Thank you for telling us about your book and sharing this fascinating insight into your writing life, Victoria.
Victoria Hawthorne lives in Scotland with her partner, two wild golden retrievers, and an even wilder cat. She is represented by Emily Glenister at DHH Literary Agency. As Vikki Patis, she is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers. The House at Helygen is her debut historical suspense novel.