Interview with Helen Haught Fanick

What do your fans mean to you?
I love my fans, and I love hearing from them! Their enthusiasm for my novels is contagious, and it inspires me to write.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on Book VI of my Moon Mystery Series, which is tentatively called Blue Moon, Black Heart. The first three books in the series were set in West Virginia's enchanting Canaan Valley, and the next two are set in the fictitious town of Pine Summit, WV, the hometown of sisters Andrea and Kathleen. My current project involves a family heirloom. The sisters are back in the Canaan Valley for a family reunion, when their trip is interrupted by the murder of a distant cousin.
Who are your favorite authors?
They're too numerous to mention all of them. I like writers as varied as Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie. I love spy novels and international intrigue, so I read Alan Furst, Daniel Silva, John LeCarre, and others. Ben Rehder's hilarious novels are among my favorites, and I especially like his Blanco County Mysteries and the Roy Ballard novel, Gone the Next. I suppose I should mention that Ben's my son, but I think I'm pretty objective about his work, since the popularity of his novels echoes my opinion. Then there's Emily Bronte and the wonderful Wuthering Heights, Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker Trilogy . . . as I said, my favorites are too numerous to mention all of them, and my tastes are extremely varied.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My husband and my writing. I'm always eager to get up and get going with various projects.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading and watching movies. My taste in movies is as varied as it is in favorite writers, and I love everything from Casablanca and North by Northwest to Midnight in Paris and The Terminal. I watch a little television - Castle, Elementary, White Collar, Masterpiece Theater, and Antiques Roadshow. I meet friends for coffee at La Madeleine and shop occasionally with a group of ladies. Of course, there's always work around the house and yard that needs to be done, but you don't want to hear about that, do you?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I subscribe to many sites that publicize ebooks, such as Indies Unlimited, Bookbub, Pixel of Ink, etc. I also belong to several Facebook groups that writers use to feature their work.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember it well. I was in fifth grade, and our assignment was to write a short story. I wrote about a boy whose dog broke his mother's favorite lamp. The boy worked and earned enough money to replace the lamp for his mother's birthday; then the whole family was surprised when two other family members bought a similar lamp for the same occasion. The mother was pleased and kept all three. My teacher was impressed and showed the story to my mother, and it was from that time on I knew I'd be a writer.
What is your writing process?
I try to write at least a single-spaced page a day, six days a week. This amounts to approximately 500 words a day, which add up to the first draft of a novel in four to five months. Then the editing begins. I'm one of those writers who can edit endlessly, but I have to make myself stop at some point. After this, I ask some trusted writers and readers to go over the novel and make notes about everything from grammar and punctuation to confusing sentences. When they're all done, I consider their remarks, make changes, and get ready to publish.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't know whether it was the first story I ever read, but the first one I remember was Pinocchio. My favorite aunt gave me the book when I was very young, and I was thrilled with it and loved the story. This was before the Disney movie came out, and the pictures in the book look nothing like Pinocchio in the movie version. I still have the book and read it now and then to remind me of its first lesson - that the main character must overcome many obstacles to reach a goal.
How do you approach cover design?
My first three covers were designed by Becky Rehder, my daughter-in-law and a talented graphic designer. I have a compulsion to do everything myself, so I've used what I learned from Becky and from researching on the internet to design my own covers. I use my own photos or those taken by my son, Ben Rehder, for the most part. I found the photo on the cover of my World War II espionage novel, Assignment Prague, online and obtained permission to use it from the generous photographer. I've used the CreateSpace cover design feature as well as I enjoy designing covers almost as much as writing my novels. I usually come up with three or four designs and have friends, family, and fans vote for their favorite.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I've only used one - the Kindle Fire. It works well for me, and I like the fact that I can download and watch movies on it. I watched The Ladykillers (the Alec Guinness version) in September while on the plane between Houston and Charleston WV.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is another tough one, and the answer may be different tomorrow. As of the moment, I'd chose For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (John le Carre), Hog Heaven (Ben Rehder), Night Soldiers (Alan Furst), and Death on the Nile (Agatha Christie).
Published 2017-02-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Spring Decision: Stories of Appalachia
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 27,280. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General
Helen Haught Fanick is a native of Appalachia, and the area is a favorie setting for her short stories and novels. It's easy to discern her love of the people of the region in reading Spring Decision. The resiliance, courage, ingenuity, and heart exhibited by the characters in Stories of Appalachia echo the traits exhibited by friends, neighbors, and relatives of the author.
Bad Moon Rising
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,120. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
"Bad Moon Rising is a delightful collection of short stories by San Antonio-based writer Helen Haught Fanick," according to one reviewer. Another said, "Senior sisters Kathleen and Andrea are a pure joy." These three stories are set in the quiet village of Pine Summit, where nothing much happens--till someone is murdered. Andrea and Kathleen always have a compelling reason to solve the case.
City Life
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,790. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Frank Novak thinks his life as a neighborhood watchdog couldn't get any worse, but he's wrong. His wife is involved with a Holy Roller preacher, his camping trailer is stolen, and then his real problems begin--someone is trying to kill him. Then he meets Monica Cruz. She's determined to help Frank clean up his part of town, but can she save his life and her own in the process?
Moon Signs
Price: Free! Words: 63,970. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Sisters Andrea and Kathleen hope for a pleasant winter weekend in the Canaan Valley—until their hotelkeeper is murdered. The sheriff enlists the sisters’ help, since they discovered the body, and they’re staying in the hotel where the crime occurred. There are several suspects, and plenty of clues. Can Andrea and Kathleen solve the case before they become the next victims?
Saving Susie
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,880. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Susie is a pit bull who’s eleven years old, good-natured, and a fugitive from the law. Her owner, Denise, flies away to Mexico with her and finds she and the skillful and daring pilot she’s with are the target of killers. She could easily fall in love with her escort, but first they must find out who's trying to kill them in order to save themselves and Susie, who may just end up saving them.