IndieReads: When did you start writing?
Helen Hanson: Kindergarten. I still haven’t mastered cursive. My first novel, 3 LIES, was released in December. I wrote two novels before 3 LIES, but the CDC requires me to keep those in a Level 3 biohazard containment.
IR: Are you self published or did you use an independent publisher?
HH: I’m indie down to my undies. I learned how to format my novel for both the Kindle and ePub and am documenting my efforts at my website. My tiny publishing company is called Domino Ink. Sounds like you could get some righteous tats there.
IR: What genre do you write in the most?
HH: Thrillers. My plots always have a high-tech bent with desperate people trying to maintain their dignity and humanity. I find myself giggling at inappropriate moments in life, so my characters can’t help but have a sense of humor, even when the stakes are deadly.
IR: What is about that genre that attracts you?
HH: I love everything about thrillers: intrigue, deceit, complicated plots, upheaval of an ordinary life, the everything’s-not-quite-what-it seems-ness of it all. I grew up watching the noir films of the 30’s 40’s and 50’s. While I don’t write them, I love the WWII and cold-war era spy novelists: John le Carré, Len Deighton, or Leon Uris. George Smiley or James Bond? Give me George, any day. Unless James wants to give me a ride in one of his awesome cars . . .
IR: How many books have you published?
HH: 3 LIES, so far. My next novel, DARK POOL, will be released this spring.
IR: Which one should people start with?
HH: 3 LIES, until DARK POOL is released. Then start where you like. While I like to let my characters make guest appearances, the novels are not part of a series.
IR: What was the prime motivation in publishing your work through independent channels?
HH: I’m a control freak. That and 70% royalties. My dance with an agent wasn’t progressing, so I set a date to move on. The closer the date came, the more excited I was about going rogue. I’ve had lots of experience doing that over the years.
IR: What were your early experiences like?
HH: I firmly believe in critique groups, if the people are writers you trust and respect. Their consistent feedback was invaluable to me in learning what worked and what didn’t as I found my voice and gained confidence as a writer. I could always communicate well with words, but story-crafting is an entirely different kind of cat to skin.
IR: What did the process teach you?
HH: Certain people will get you, others never will. But when the majority of writers you trust agree on a point about your novel, you should consider changing it. When they don’t, do what you want. You have to be your own champion. But you can also be one for others.
IR: Have you seen a change in the independent publishing community?
HH: I lurked on the shore of indie waters beginning in 2009 and followed it with zeal during all of 2010, until 3 LIES came out in December, marking me as an indie author. Changes? Oh, yes. The stalwarts that refused to consider indies as legitimate no longer get the press they never deserved. It’s a non sequitur.
Plus, authors can’t afford to ignore either the facts or the financial potential. Tectonic shifts in the industry have changed the paradigm for good. J.A. Konrath, a lynchpin for this community, has well-documented this phenomenon. No. Doubt. About. It.
IR: Do you read other independently published authors works?
HH: I’m a firm believer in shopping locally.
IR: Any favorites you would like to plug?
HH: Yes. Shawn Graham! For kindly hosting me here on this shiny new website. I sincerely appreciate it, and I think one should leave the dance with the one that brought one. Besides, high school was lame. Mine was built from prison plans. It deserves a book of Lame High School Poetry!
IR: Where are you most likely to purchase indie works?
HH: I have a Kindle, and my husband has Apple toys. We buy from both.
IR: Where can people find your books and which source has been the must successful for you?
HH: Here are my links. I’m on iBooks, Kindle, and Nook. Apple has been the most surprising for me. I don’t share DNA with the people saying nice things about my book over there.
IR: Do you do your own cover art or do you have some one do it for you?
HH: Oh no. You do not want me trying to pin-stripe your ride. It’s not possible for me to create visual art of the caliber I wanted. I hired a wonderful artist. Next my epidural during childbirth, it’s the best money I ever spent.
IR: Do you have any new works coming out soon that you can tell us about?
HH: DARK POOL –
At 22, Maggie Fender is legal guardian of her felony-hacker step-brother and her father, another Alzheimer’s victim. While she waits tables to keep their family afloat, Russian mobsters and an investigator think her family may know something about the forty billion dollars of hedge fund money that disappeared.
Due Spring 2011
IR: Is there anything you would like to share?
HH: The cost of sending my son to college? Any takers?? You can find more at http://www.helenhanson.com/
Helen Hanson writes thrillers about desperate people with a high-tech bent. Hackers. The CIA. Industry titans. Guys on sailboats. Mobsters. Their personal maelstroms pit them against unrelenting forces willing to kill. Throughout the journey, they try to find some truth, a little humor, and their humanity — from either end of the trigger.
Her first novel, 3 LIES, is now available on Kindle. Her second novel, DARK POOL, is due for release in 2011, with a third novel slated thereafter. While Helen writes about the power-hungry, she genuinely mistrusts anyone who wants to rule the world.
Helen directed operations for high-tech manufacturers of semiconductors, video games, software, and computers. Her reluctant education behind the Redwood Curtain culminated in a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrated studies in Computer Science. She also learned to play a mean game of hacky sack.
She is a licensed private pilot with a ticket for single-engine aircraft. Helen and her husband spent their first anniversary with their flight instructor studying for the FAA practical. If you were a passenger on a 737 trying to land at SJC in 1995, she sends her most sincere apologies. Really.
Born in fly-over country, Helen has lived on both coasts, near both borders, and at several locations in between. She lettered in tennis, worked as a machinist, and saw the Clash at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium sometime in the eighties. She currently lives in Texas with her husband, son, and a dog that composes music with squeaky toys.
You’re invited to visit her website at www.HelenHanson.com. If you enjoy her books, please consider writing a review at Amazon. If you don’t, please be kind.