G.L. Helm, today’s victim, comes to us by way of the blog tour for his book Sometimes in Dreams. I had my minions dress up as Disney’s lawyers and chase him through the woods. I assume that the lawyers would look like giant versions of Cinderella’s mice, right?
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I have always been fascinated with words. I first thought about writing a book when I was 12 years old. As to why, I have no idea really. Maybe I should blame it on God. He/She seems to show up in all my work one way or another, so maybe I am God-smacked.
If you were freezing to death and the only things left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
Nasty question. Probably my family bible and my four novels. I would have to be damned cold to burn books though. More likely I would tear them up and stuff them inside my clothes. Paper is a great insulator. I’ve used it a few times to keep from freezing.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or writing (your choice))?
Actually both in life and in writing, the most challenging thing is to sell, first the manuscript and then the book. I have discovered over the years that the blood you shed to write a book is nothing compared to the blood you shed trying to sell the damn thing. In service of that, one of the most challenging things I have done is to set up my own publishing company (MousePrints Publishing) which has gone on to publish several books by several authors.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
There’s lots of those, but the one most recently is when people come up to my book sales tables, pick up a book, thumb through it and then say, “I don’t have time to read.” Makes me want to scream, “Then why the hell are you dirtying up my samples?” And the second is like unto it. They look through the book and then say, “I’ll be back later.” If I had sold every book that someone would ‘be back later’ for, I would be top of the best seller list.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
“Which one of your children do love most?” Of course the answer is I love all my creatures the same, but truth be told I usually love the lead character in what ever I am working on at the moment most.
Where’s the creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or why not?
Got a couple of those. The real Frankenstein Castle in Germany was pretty creepy. A guy named Conrad Dibble really did some experiments with corpses there, and that story inspired Mary Shelley, but I think the creepiest was a “prairie gothic” style house near Peru, Indiana. It had reputedly been the sight of several murders—man killed his whole family. Now I don’t know if that was true, but that was the story and it did give the house which was abandoned a really creepy air. Neither the castle nor the house has ever appeared in my fiction, though I have used the castle description in a couple of things. Never as a creepy place though.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I wrote a story called Sleeping Beauty which was a speculation about where Walt Disney is really buried. It’s a great story and is now coming out in a book of short stories called Train Wheels, Flying Saucers and the Ghost of Tiburcio Vasquez. I got a reject on Sleeping Beauty that said “This is a great story. I laughed all the way through it. Ain’t no way I am gonna publish it cause Disney is famous for his legal department.”
How did you get that scar?
Got a couple. The worst ones don’t show though because they are psychological. The worst one that shows is on the knuckles of my left hand. I took a back hand swing at a guy’s head back a few years ago. He ducked and my fist went through a window. Fight was over pretty quick after that. The scars have faded over the years till you can hardly see ‘em now.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
A Beatles song called “Paperback Writer.” When they first sang that song, I knew they were talking about me.
Promote yourself and/or your writing.
G. L. Helm is a writer who puts himself in all his stories. His work contains people. There are no “characters” in his books. At his most fantastic, the characters are still people who might step out of the pages and shake your hand or punch you in the nose.
And now a word from the publicist…
Daniel Pentland is a broken man; torn between the two women in his life. He is tormented by guilt over his love affair with a beautiful English girl he met while living in Italy, and the loyal devotion of his wife, Amanda.
Two years after the tragic death of his lover Kit, he is continually haunted by her memory. Across the sands of the Mojave Desert, her voice calls out to him, pulling at his heart and his memories.
Each night as Daniel wakes screaming and fighting against the phantom of Kit’s killer, his wife does her best to soothe his pain and help him overcome his grief.
Sometimes in Dreams is a story of redemption through a love that simply refuses to die.
G. Lloyd Helm is a ‘ne’er-do-well scribbler’—novelist, short story writer, and poet—who has tramped around the world for the last forty years thanks to his long suffering military wife. He has lived in Germany, Spain, and Italy. His epitaph will read, “He married well.”
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
“I’m too old to have to put up with this crap!”
Thank you, Mr. Helms, for your many words of wisdom. Now wait here with this table covered in piles thumbed-through books. I’ll be right back.