Five on Friday with Helen Bridgett @Helen_Bridgett

Today I’m delighted to feature author Helen Bridgett. Helen’s latest novel, My Sister’s Killer was published by Ruby Fiction in February. It’s the third in the crime series featuring Professor Maxie Reddick. Previously, Helen wrote feel-good fiction. Her first novel, The Mercury Travel Club featured laugh-out-loud characters who took on a life of their own resulting in the sequel, The Heat is On. Then, in 2020 a new set of characters took up the main stage in Serenity Bay – a fictional village on the glorious Northumberland coast where Helen lives.

Having failed miserably with every New Year’s resolution that involved diets, one year, Helen Bridgett set herself a completely different goal – to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. Having written one, she couldn’t stop!

Outside of writing, Helen loves being outdoors walking with the dog, enjoying a glass of wine and banter with friends.

Over to Helen :

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Oh Blimey – this is a toughie. Music choices say so much about a person and I’m not sure what my selection will say about me. I did think about researching some eclectic jazz tracks to make me sound even slightly cool but those who know me would spot that fraud instantly. So here we go – a little insight into me. I have to point out that these aren’t necessarily what I’d take to my desert island but they’ve certainly played a part in my life.

The Sound of Music

I love musicals – absolutely adore them and the grand dame is undoubtedly Dame Julie Andrews. I will demand a week of national mourning the day she passes over to that heavenly choir. I could have picked any song from any musical but this one also speaks to one of my other passions – hiking. I feel that love of mountains when she’s up there swirling around and have indeed been known to burst into song when I reach a mountain peak.

I’m off to see Moulin Rouge soon so if there’s a short blonde woman belting out Lady Marmalade in the seat next to you, it’s probably me.

Thunderstruck – ACDC

I’m not sure that Julie Andrews and Brian Johnson have ever appeared in a list together before but here you go. I also love my rock music and have done since my teenage years. I never saw Bon Scott but I have seen Brian many times and the gigs are just such great fun. Angus Young is of course a legend and I have named my Chocolate Labrador after him – I also had a dog called Ozzy named after Mr Osbourne!

Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks.

Another characteristic I should reveal is that I can rarely remember more than one line of any song and quite frequently I get that line completely wrong.

I had been singing “Just like a one winged dove” for a very long time when my husband said

“You know it’s a white winged dove don’t you? How would a one winged even fly?”

“In circles” I replied.

So even though I now know the correct line, I’ve been singing my version for far too long and so my dove remains uni-winged.

Song 2 – Blur.

One New Year’s Eve, this song was played and the dance floor filled. In the midst of that euphoria, jumping up and down, and bellowing out the woo-hoo parts, I proposed to my then boyfriend. He was a bit shocked but eventually said yes and I actually walked into our wedding ceremony to this – it was rather a surprise to the parents but if you play it, you’ll hear that you can make quite a dramatic entrance to this song!

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon.

I’ve included this only because it is of the very few songs I know most of the words to (the other one is Paradise by the Dashboard Light) and if you’re ever on a night out with me, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be belting out one of these tunes. I would love to be able to sing and if I could swap writing for a career in musicals or in a rock band then I definitely would. I’d just have to write a book about it afterwards!

What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Something to write with – I cannot envisage not being able to scribble down my thoughts. I’ve kept a diary for many years and find the very act of putting pen to paper cathartic. Even the idea of being without a notepad is making me squirm!

Freedom – this really is everything.

My dog – although technically he is family

The lovely Angus

Outdoor gear – whereas other women love their handbags and shoes, I have an enviable collection of thermals, fleeces, Gortex and hiking boots!

The kettletap – when I moved into my new house, it had one of these. I was extremely suspicious and very much doubted it would reach the boiling point needed for a good cup of tea. I’m delighted to report I was wrong – it is fabulous. No more waiting for those few moments it takes to boil a kettle – tea on demand. Who could want more!

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

I do think you only learn from your own mistakes so I doubt that my younger self would listen or believe me (though as I’d have noted this time travelling visit in my diary – it would be amazing to read about it later).

Stop trying to please others – be kind but follow your own path

Always find time to climb mountains – you’ll love it

Get singing lessons – you’ll torture far fewer people throughout your life!

Invest in Amazon when you first hear about them

Have fun – it’s all going to work out well

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I was part of the team who brought internet shopping to the UK. We created It was the early nineties and an absolutely fabulous time working with all those passionate entrepreneurs.

I completed all 214 Wainwrights last year and loved every minute of it.

I love a good murder mystery weekend but despite writing crime, I never guess the culprit.

I think I’m the only person who really doesn’t get gardening as a hobby.

I’m currently conducting a scientific study to establish the best fish and chips on the North East coast. So far, Colman’s of South Shields are in the lead.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

I have written scripts but would love to write a play and have it performed.

I’d like at least one of my books to be adapted for screen.

One day I’d like to walk the coast of Britain.

Visit the Oresund Bridge from The Bridge TV series and walk over it singing the theme tune.

Establish definitively who does the best fish and chips in the North East and keep that secret to myself!

Many thanks for joining me Helen, it was lovely to discover more about you. I was delighted you brought The Sound of Music with you, I saw that film when it first came out (yes, I’m that old) and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen it since. This song is one of my favourites though, Edelweiss is a close second. I’m highly envious that you’re seeing Moulin Rouge as the film is another of my favourites. My OH now hates Come What May with a passion due to the number of times I’ve played it – I did buy the soundtrack CD. I’m delighted to meet Angus too, he looks lovely, and yes, I agree pets are family, but I’m always happy to let them put in an appearance. Good to know that kettletaps are really hot enough for tea, that would have been my fear. I suspect if I’d invested in Amazon I might also be able to afford one of the aforementioned taps. What an achievement to have completed all the Wainwrights – congratulations! Just throwing it out there, but if you ever need a fish & chip tester I could be persuaded! We’re actually in Northumberland next week so any suggestions gratefully received. I hope you get to achieve your dreams, walking the coast of Britain sounds fantastic – plus you’ll be able to extend your fish & chip shop search.

Helen’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Professor Maxie Reddick series

One by One #1

When practising what you preach is easier said than done … Professor Maxie Reddick has her reasons for being sceptical of traditional policing methods, but, in between her criminology lecturing job and her Criminal Thoughts podcast, she stays firmly on the side lines of the crime solving world.Then a young woman is brutally attacked, and suddenly it’s essential that Maxie turns her words into actions; this is no longer an academic exercise – this is somebody’s life. But as she delves deeper, the case takes a sickening turn, which leads Maxie to the horrifying realisation that the attack might not have been a one-off. It seems there’s a depraved individual out there seeking revenge, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it … little by little … one by one.

Wrong Sort of Girl #2

A young woman has gone missing. It’s nearly Christmas. Why does hardly anyone seem to care?
Kelly Ingles’ case should have been one to tug on the public’s heartstrings: a young woman missing in the run-up to Christmas.
But Kelly wasn’t perfect – she liked to party, enjoyed a drink, didn’t always make the best decisions. And when evidence of her drunken antics appears online, it becomes clear that Kelly might not just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time; she might also be the wrong sort of girl to encourage public sympathy.
It’s a case that’s right up Maxie Reddick’s street. As a criminology professor, she’s made it her mission to challenge unconscious biases within the criminal justice system – the sort of biases that cause girls like Kelly to slip through the cracks.
But can she get the police and public on board before it’s too late?

My Sister’s Killer #3

Somebody knows what happened to Maxie’s sister – why are they staying silent?
If Professor Maxie Reddick is honest with herself, there’s a very personal reason she pursued a career in criminology: the unsolved murder of her sister, Susan, nearly thirty years before, and her belief that the local police force let her family down.
Now Maxie has been drafted in to help investigate a murder – nothing particularly unusual about that, except when a fingerprint at the scene provides a shocking and unexpected link to her sister’s suspicious death.
The link means that Maxie can’t be involved in the official police investigation – but Susan’s cold case is heating up, and there’s no way Maxie is going to let go now, even if she has to stand up to the people who want to make sure the past stays frozen.

Serenity Bay series

Summer at Serenity Bay #1

What happens when you send a group of celebrities to a tiny seaside village? Advertising executive Chloe Walsh thought she was visiting her friend Roisin to get away from it all, but little does she know her kooky friend has a master plan to breathe some life into her sleepy seaside village through a new wellness retreat – and she needs Chloe’s skills. So starts a community effort to put the retreat, Serenity Bay, on the map. Everyone from Andy at the Surf Shack to Tony at the chocolate shop is involved – even Roisin’s Gran has a few ideas!But Chloe strikes gold almost too soon, attracting the attention of a major production company. Now a colourful group of celebrities are preparing to descend on Serenity Bay to film a reality TV show. Is the village ready for the fun and scandal that are bound to follow?

Christmas at Serenity Bay #2

A peaceful Christmas in Serenity Bay? Think again!
Chloe Walsh’s skills as location manager for the beautiful seaside village she calls home have come up trumps again, and Serenity Bay is now the setting for cosy crime drama The Montgomery Mysteries, starring amateur sleuth Dominic Montgomery and his crime-solving dog, Agatha.
But Chloe is in a race against time. Filming has to finish before the village Midwinter Festival but schedules are tight – and a mystery saboteur is intent on slowing things down even further. Not only is Chloe facing problems with the shoot, she also has some personal conundrums to solve – a diva actor has commandeered her flat, her mum is having a late mid-life crisis, plus she has no idea what to buy for her Christmas-obsessed boyfriend!
Can Chloe sort out her life and save Christmas for an entire village?

The Adventures of Angie Shepherd series

The Mercury Travel Club #1

He took her to dinner: that was annoying
He slept with her: that was hurtful
He bought new underwear to impress her: quite frankly astounding
He left me to wash his FILTHY PANTS: INFURIATING!

After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and launches Angie into a variety of crazy schemes in search of her lost mojo.
But it s just not enough; what she really dreams of is beating her ex and becoming Entrepreneur of the Year. Channeling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency that offers customers pure escapism but with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie’s been looking for.
Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance.

The Heat is On #2

Angie Shepherd is back and this time she means business!

Life is perfect for Angie Shepherd. Her dreams of becoming an entrepreneur have come true, business is booming, love is in the air and her best friend Patty is back in town. So when the opportunity of creating a luxury wedding comes up, it seems like a no-brainer. It’s all going swimmingly until a rival travel agency opens up across the street. Before long, The Mercury Travel Club is undercut, double-crossed and in deep trouble. It’s time for Angie to up the stakes. But with costs mounting up, sales going down, and her personal life suddenly in freefall, can Angie and her friends weather the storm?

Murder & Mirth : short stories

A beautiful ghost
A disobedient puppy
A mysterious tarot card
And a heavenly visit for a slimming club leader!

You’ll find a fabulous selection of characters in this darkly funny collection of short stories by author Helen Bridgett.
Written in her typically witty style you’ll find mirth with murder and romance with a touch of scandal.
A light read which is simply great fun, you’ll definitely want to share this with friends.


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