Earlier this year the Dutch translation of Helen Field’s One for Sorrow was published by Ambo|Anthos as Perfecte wraak (translation Ambo|Anthos & Yolande Ligterink). After reading the book we had some questions for Helen.
Thanks for letting us ask you a couple of questions! It’s been a while since we last spoke to you. How are you? Any new year’s resolutions you want to share with us?
Hello! Lovely to be back with you. I’m really well but very busy, although I prefer that to not having enough to do. I’m looking forward to seeing how my Dutch readers enjoy Perfecte wraak. At home, my only New Year’s Resolution was to be kinder to myself and make more time to do the things I love. With 3 teenagers at home, and deadlines to meet, sometimes I forget to relax, and that’s not good for creativity. This year, my husband and I will be opening our first Airbnb, so at the moment we’re both busy getting that ready for our guests.
The seventh book in the Perfect series was released in the Netherlands mid-February. Is this the final book in the series, or will we (eventually) get a part eight? Do you think you’ll miss Ava and Luc?
I’m already missing Luc and Ava as I haven’t written about them for a while now. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to writing the next part in the series, but their journey is definitely not over yet. I feel such a strong connection to all the characters in the series, and there’s no way I could just write them off. Perfecte wraak was a really entertaining book to write, although a little upsetting, and I feel like I need to bring some balance back to my characters’ lives.
Your standalone, Last Girl To Die, taking place on the Isle of Mull, has not been translated into Dutch (yet). How did this book come about? Can you briefly tell us what it’s about?
The Last Girl to Die is a break from my usual series, although it does feature a couple of familiar characters who regular readers will spot. It will be available to Dutch readers soon. It’s set on the beautiful, mystical Isle of Mull and has a strong theme of witchcraft. I’ve used the real history and geography of the island which is fascinating, and intertwined it with a modern day tale about an American teenage girl who goes missing, and the private investigator brought in from Canada to locate her.
Do you think you’ll ever write another series? Would you ever consider writing a book or series with another author (and if so, with whom)?
The book that’s about to come out in the UK – The Institution – features characters from an earlier book that was set in Edinburgh, called The Shadow Man. The main character is a psychological profiler, Dr Connie Woolwine. She also appears, briefly, in Perfecte wraak. So I suppose, without really intending to, I’ve already started a new series. I had the privilege of being about to consult with the FBI when I first wrote about her character, and it seems a shame to waste so much great research, so I thought Connie should be allowed more stories. As far as writing with other people goes, my wishlist would be Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Dean Koontz. I’m also a big admirer of Thomas Olde Heuvelt, so if he’s ever looking for a writing partner, I’m free!
Would you say the Perfect series could be adapted into film? And if so, who do you think should play Ava and Luc?
I absolutely think the Luc and Ava series could be adapted, probably best for television. The only stipulation I have is that Luc should be played by an actor who is genuinely French (not putting on a terrible accent) and that the filming should take place in Edinburgh where it is set. Casting is difficult, but I’d like Ava to be played by Karen Gillan, and Luc to be played by Lucas Bravo. (And I would want to play Superintendent Overbeck!)
You have recently been to The Netherlands (soooo bummed to have missed that), have you enjoyed yourself? Have you been to our country before and more importantly: when will you be back? 😉
It was my first trip to the Netherlands and I will definitely be back! I fell in love with Amsterdam which feels like a village that’s become a city. The people are so friendly, and some of the best art in the world is there. I’ll be back very soon (and hopefully we’ll meet next time). I love travelling and I usually ending writing the places I visit into my books, so maybe Luc and Ava should visit too?
What’s something we can always wake you up for, even in the middle of the night?
Big political news. I stay awake all night for elections, both in the UK and abroad, and I’m endlessly fascinated by the schemes and machinations of politics.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently re-reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I think it’s the best example of world building in modern literature. Weir made it all so real and believable, and it has some of the best openings lines of any book I’ve ever read!
What’s the best book you read in 2022 and would recommend to anyone?
The best book I read in 2022 was Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I was amazed by how the writer was able to tackle such serious subjects with such a light touch. It’s the perfect mix between being a really important book but also a very entertaining one.
What is a question that you’ve never been asked but have always wanted to answer?
I’ve never been asked the simple question – Why do I write? I’m not even sure I have a good enough answer to this, but my mind builds stories all the time. I’m in a constant state of imaginative overload, whether I’m in the bath, stacking the dishwasher or driving the car. Writing allows me to get some of it out of my head, and that is a bit of a relief. I feel like I need to escape from the real world quite often, and books are the best doorway you can find.