Have you always loved a good story? As a child, I was spellbound listening to fairytales on my mother’s knee. Even my parents’ yarns about their younger days were exciting: they had both lived through a war, and my father’s reaction to a miserable childhood had been to travel the world.
It wasn’t long before I was making up stories too, which suited my parents well because it kept my younger siblings quiet. Combine that with an addiction to reading crime stories (Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine were key influences), and it’s no wonder that I’m now writing thrillers.
It’s been a long journey, though. I stand in awe of anyone who can make time to read for pleasure, let alone write anything, when there are small children about. It was only when my son had grown up that I had the time to write my first full-length crime thriller. “Up In Smoke” is a story of Big Tobacco, counterfeiters and corporate warfare. It also features several raunchy chapters, and for that reason, I chose to publish it under a pen name, AA Abbott (my real name is Helen Blenkinsop). I was working as an accountant – as I still do, from time to time – and didn’t want my employers to think the book was based on personal experience. In any event, a few female friends asked for an introduction to the biggest bad boy in the book, Tony Burton, as if he were a real person! Sadly, he was a fictional construct…
I’ve now written six books, most recently the four book Trail series, which features two families warring over a high-end vodka business. In the most recent, “The Revenge Trail”, glamorous Kat White has finally succeeded in making a popular premium vodka in a Midlands city about forty miles from Oakwood. Her life isn’t as sweet as you might think , however – she put a killer behind bars, and he wants his revenge.
“The Revenge Trail” was published in 2018, and I’m currently working on the fifth and final book in the series, due out later this year. As well as Kindle and paperback editions, all my books are published in a large print version which is also dyslexia-friendly. Although I’ve dodged dyslexia, it runs in my family, as does age-related poor sight. The large print version is an easy way to make my books more accessible. Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures!
On that note – I’m really looking forward to meeting more book lovers and discovering more writers at the Oakwood Festival!