Helen Harper: The Scottish Lass Who MAkes Monsters, Mystery, and Magic Absolutely Un-Put-Downable!

For all the romantic clichés about Scotland, its history, and its people, some turn out to be very true, like the beautiful red hair and reserved but warm nature of so many of its people, and that brogue!  Oh that lilting accent that invites a person to sit all night and listen. All these attributes are shown in the truly lovely Helen Harper.  Quiet at first but warming up as a conversation continues, Helen is honestly a true delight to visit with! And underneath that calm exterior, there lies a heart of a lion who is courageous and fearless - and who is quickly  conquering the world, both in her personal life and in the amazing worlds of Urban Fantasy!  Read on and you’ll discover just what we found to love!

InD: Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, which is in the northeast of Scotland. I spent most of my life growing up in a little town, just south of Aberdeen, that is famous for its deep-fried Mars bars (Milky Way in the U.S.).
InD: Do you like them?
I tried one for my first time about a year ago and it was a bit cold so it wasn't very pleasant, although I’m told they are much nicer when they’re hot. There is also a beautiful castle up on one of the cliffs which was destroyed by William Wallace when he was trying to attack the English Garrison.
InD: So many people all over the world are enthralled with Scottish folklore.
I think "Outlander" had a lot to do with that.
InD: Probably, but also because of the big scrapping romance heroes that people read about, like William Wallace, we have this fantasy of what Scotland is like. But you can tell us the real story. What is it like being a child in Scotland?
: That is quite a hard question to answer, because for me, it was like every other child growing up there. It was just normal. One thing I did that children in other countries do not do is I played the bagpipes in a pipe band competitively for about eight years. When I was a teenager, we would spend all winter practicing and rehearsing, and then all summer traveling around Scotland on the weekends going to different Highland games, competing.
It was a good way to see a lot of Scotland and feel part of a team. I am not very musical, but I did like the traveling part, although I was never really good at the piping part. In Edinburgh, there are so many tourists, and anytime there's a big festival going on, you can't walk down any street without a piper being there. I have always been amazed at how many people cluster around one piper.
InD: I think because that is something most of the world does not have or hear often. In a lot of ways, bagpipes and piping is still basically a Scottish thing, and it is such a cool sound that people who aren’t accustomed to it gravitate towards it, whereas you grew up with it so it’s more normal. It is really wonderful to listen to. What were you like as a child? What did you like to do?
I loved to read. I read an awful lot. I had a turbulent childhood; my mom died in a car accident when I was seven, so reading was always a bit of an escape from the real world. I read absolutely everything, really voraciously.
InD: Do you have brothers and sisters?
I have a younger brother and a half-sister, so I am the oldest.
InD: So you were only seven when that tragedy hit. Did you just live with your dad afterwards?
Yes, but he worked on oil rigs, so he was gone a lot of the time, so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.
InD: It is really interesting you mention you completely lost yourself in books. As an author, that is what your books allow us to do! Your stories, especially, allow a reader to completely escape from everything going on in life. What a wonderful gift that you are able to give in blessing others with what you most needed as a child.
It is an amazing thing, reading. It takes you to a different world.
InD: Some books more so than others. Historical books allow us to see history. Thrillers and Mystery’s give us puzzles and excitement. But Urban Fantasy transports us and allows us to live in contemporary times while allowing us to enjoy a world that is complete imagination and fantasy, without it affecting us in our lives personally. It is a unique gift that you have.
: Thank you... I will remember that when I'm struggling to come up with new and creative stories and it is difficult to sit still and write (I get distracted easily and find other things to do). I will remember that and use it to encourage me to keep writing.
InD: What kind of books did you read and enjoy?
: I think I have read just about everything type, but Fantasy has always been my absolute favorite. I really loved "Lord of the Rings”. I think I have read it about 20 times! I am very excited there is going to be a TV series, and I also like the movies.
InD: So you still read a lot of Fantasy?
I do! When I was younger, I read a lot of Romance. I loved my Mills & Boon's and Historical Romance. Part of me is a little bit disappointed that I am not teenager now, in the sense that the Young Adult books have come so far from when I was a young adult. They are so clever and intricate and really exciting. Back then, there was not that many to even choose from. There were books that were quite childish or those that were very adult. There was no middle book between.
I used to read Romance and Fantasy books about people who were much older than I was. Young Adult books are now so imaginative and interesting and amazing. I used to be an English teacher before I started writing full-time, so naturally I read a lot of YA books so I could recommend them to the students I was teaching. To start off with, it was part of the job, but now I do it because they are so good!
InD: I completely agree! Were you a quiet child?
I was very quiet and academic. I never talked to anyone I didn't know, and I was definitely not a sporty child at all.
InD: What were you like in high school?
I suppose I started to come out of my shell a little bit in high school, but I was still very introverted.
InD: If you were so introverted, what made you decide to be in a bagpipe band?
I started when I was younger, through the school. I was always so quiet and introverted, but oddly, I still like to show off.

Read the entire, in-depth interview in the October 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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