Whilst I’m recuperating I’ve re-scheduled some of my early ‘Fives’ to reach a wider audience. In addition I’ve added the YouTube videos that are now a standard feature as well as updating the booklist to make it current.
Helen Pollard will be known to many of you as the author of the popular, feel good La Cour des Roses trilogy. Helen was the second guest to kindly take part in Five on Friday.
As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.
She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.
When she’s not writing, Helen enjoys reading, scrapbooking and watching old seventies and eighties TV shows.
Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Over to Helen:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Crikey! That’s a question to task the old brain cells!
My Ding-a-Ling, Chuck Berry – the first single I was ever bought (yes, I was too young to understand all the innuendo!) and so my first foray into pop music.
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Ian Dury – This epitomises my teen years. Slightly off the wall, a hint of rebellion and cheekiness … and my parents hated it.
Isn’t This a Lovely Day? Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – my husband and I listened to a lot of jazz when we first got together, including an album with this track on.
I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, Burl Ives – reminds me of the hours upon hours spent singing along to everything from Burl Ives to Rolf Harris in the car on long journeys with the kids.
Constellations, Jack Johnson – the whole family were converted to Jack Johnson fans a few years ago. I particularly like this track. It’s so mellow and wistful and makes me want to learn to chill out better!
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Photographs – I don’t look at them often, but when I do, it’s lovely to look back fondly at memories of places I’ve been and especially of when the children were young.
Music – I can’t stand things like the TV or radio on in the background, and I don’t mind the quiet, but I do like to listen to music that suits my mood or can bring me out of a bad one!
Books – I can’t imagine not being able to lose myself in another world whenever I need to.
A cat on my lap – so soothing … until she digs all her claws in and uses my thighs as a launching pad to catch that bluebottle over there …!
Coffee – I had to go decaff a year ago, but I can’t give up the taste of coffee.
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
Ha! Where would I start?!
Don’t look for validation from other people. You may have a long wait … and it may not mean anything to you by the time you get it.
Chase your dreams sooner. Don’t listen to naysayers.
Children grow up faster than you think. Appreciate each phase with them.
If friendships are toxic, quietly back away if you can.
Excessive cleaning doesn’t matter. In a few years’ time, your house will still be a tip and nobody else cares, so why waste your own time? (A wise piece of advice at any age!)
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I’m an introvert and struggle at social occasions with people I don’t know well.
I must be the world’s worst worrier.
I enjoy listening to mellow jazz, nothing too frenetic.
I hate the way courtesy is going downhill in this country. The odd ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ really wouldn’t go amiss.
I’m a mass of contradictions – a cynic and yet a romantic; pernickety about admin and yet creatively imaginative; friendly but wary of socialising … the list goes on!
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
Live by the sea.
Travel around Europe.
Get a dog.
Clear out the clutter.
Learn to stop worrying!
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Christmas at Fox Farm
Daisy is preparing to spend her first Christmas in the only place she’s ever really felt at home: beautiful Fox Farm. But when tragedy strikes, she will need all her festive cheer, and all the mulled wine, to keep Christmas from being cancelled…
Living atFox Farm, with its cosy café and charming pottery workshop, is a dream come true for thirty-one-year-old Daisy. The kindly owner, Jean, and the close-knit village feel like the family Daisy has never had. She’s been looking forward to finally having people to buy gifts for and to share cookies with in front of the fire after too much Christmas dinner.
When Jean suddenly falls ill, Daisy is the first to lend a hand in organising the holiday celebrations. She ropes in Alex – Jean’s handsome Scrooge of a nephew – to help her. From the get-go Daisy and Alex cannot agree on anything, butting heads through decorating disasters and tripping over each other at the holiday barn dance. Alex hates Christmas, and Daisy is feeling so festive she might as well be the fairy on top of the ten-foot tree. Can Daisy melt Alex’s icy exterior and prove to him just how magical Christmas can be?
But then Alex discovers Fox Farm is almost bankrupt, and suddenly its whole future is in jeopardy. They need a plan, and quickly, if Jean is to have a place to come back to this Christmas. Will Daisy be able to save the only real home she’s ever had? And might this Christmas be the beginning of something special?
The Little Shop in Cornwall
Claudia thought she knew how this summer was going to go. Turns out, she didn’t have a clue…
It’s been two years since Claudia arrived on the beautifully rugged Cornish coast with nothing but a suitcase to her name. She’d walked out on the husband who had never loved her, ditched the corporate job she’d never wanted and vowed that no gym membership card would come within ten feet of her ever again.
Swapping boardrooms and cocktails for a little shop right at the end of the beach road should have been a bit of a shock. But from the moment she first laid eyes on the empty, run-down store, Claudia knew this was where she was meant to be all along.
After all that upheaval, Claudia was looking forward to a quiet summer, full of the usual holiday makers and long walks along the clifftops. But life in her patch of paradise is about to change in more ways than one.
Enter recently widowed Jason, dragging his sullen teenage daughter Millie in tow. Millie and Claudia immediately hit it off. And while Millie loves everything about Claudia’s free-spirited way of life, practical architect Jason is less than thrilled about his daughter’s new interests. He doesn’t shy away from telling Claudia exactly what he thinks and sparks fly every time they meet.
But as circumstances throw Claudia into Jason’s path in increasingly unexpected ways, she begins to glimpse what lies beneath his fiery temper and sharp tongue. Claudia was sure her new life was perfect in every way. But was there something missing after all?
Midsummer Magic at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium (Moonshine 3)
Are you ready to meet Miss Moonshine? Life may never be the same again…
It’s summer in Haven Bridge and Miss Moonshine is getting ready for a busy season. From the window of her Wonderful Emporium, at the heart of the pretty Yorkshire town, she watches and waits, weaving plans to bring happiness to all who step through her door. For Miss Moonshine is no ordinary shopkeeper. She may not have what you want, but she will always have what you need…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this anthology of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This magical collection of contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry and wish for a Miss Moonshine in your own life.
Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium (Moonshine 2)
When the magic of Christmas is just what you’re looking for…
There’s something magical about Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium, and at Christmas she brings an added sparkle to the inhabitants of the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge. Customers who step over her threshold find an eccentric collection of gifts, but Miss Moonshine has a rare knack for providing exactly what they need: a strange Advent calendar whose doors give a glimpse of a happy ending; a vintage typewriter that types a ghostly message from Christmas past; a mirror in a silver case that reflects the person you’d like to be.
Step inside Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, and the thing you need most for Christmas will be right there, waiting for you…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting festive stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the magic of Christmas.
Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings (Moonshine 1)
Sometimes what you need is right there waiting for you…
Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium has stood in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge for as long as anyone can remember. With her ever-changing stock, Miss Moonshine has a rare gift for providing exactly what her customers need: a fire opal necklace that provides a glimpse of a different life; a novel whose phantom doodler casts a spell over the reader; a music box whose song links love affairs across the generations. One thing is for certain: after visiting Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, life is never the same again…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after.
La Cour des Roses Trilogy
The Little French Guesthouse
Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?
When thirty-one-year-old Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.
Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.
Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.
Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?
Return to The Little French Guesthouse
Blue skies, new love, and a glass of Bordeaux . . . what could possibly go wrong?
When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.
Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.
Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.
Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?
Summer at The Little French Guesthouse
Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss … Right?
Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.
The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.
But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?