Interview Roulette: Olivia Helling


  1. Describe a hobby one of your characters likes to engage in.

Hobbies play a big role in my Godsbane Prince series, where the love interests Jem and Ilyas learn about each other through their hobbies. As the next king, Ilyas lives in constant scrutiny with his younger brothers always chomping at the bit to take him down. His whole life is a carefully orchestrated persona – and so he needed to find something he could do alone. That’s where yoga comes in.

Jem, on the other hand, has been forced to live a solitary existence. Even his own family is afraid of him. He walks through life like a ghost, trying to avoid anything pleasurable enough to hold him to life – and the only luxury he allows himself is a game of Go, where he plays both sides.

  1. Flood waters are coming. You can grab only three things from your home before fleeing—what do you choose?

My two cats, obviously. And if I was a bit more organized, a bug-out bag, so I can feed myself, my spouse and the cats. Since I don’t have a bug-out bag, I’d probably take my kindle. (I assume that my spouse can save himself.)

  1. Is there a fiction genre you would write only if forced to at gunpoint?

I’m the type of person who generally finds something interesting in all the work I do, so I’d probably find a joy in any kind of genre. But I would rather not write hetero romance. It holds no allure for me.

  1. Which of your characters should run for US President?

I’m going to dodge this question by stating that none of my characters are American, and so wouldn’t be eligible.

  1. Describe one time someone surprised you.

In the spring, I got obsessed with reading letters. I picked up a ton of books from the library and on kindle – More Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher, Signed Sealed Delivered by Nina Sankovitch, and others, and talked obsessively to my spouse about writing letters to my representatives and finding a penpal… and maybe, just maybe, splurging on a fountain pen. A fountain pen has been on my wish list for years, but I could never justify the expense.

At the same time, I went through a rough patch emotionally. One day, my spouse came home with a big brown paper bag from the local stationery shop.
Happy Anniversary. Here’s some beautiful stationary and two fountain pens for you.


Um, wait, we were supposed to give each other presents? (We’d never given gifts, and we’d decided to celebrate our anniversary with a belated trip.)

No, he just wanted to cheer me up.

Aww. Now I regret saying I’d assume he could save himself from the flood.

  1. Name two of your pet peeves.

Most of my pet peeves revolve around people acting inconsiderate. The downstairs neighbor that pounds up and down the steps after midnight because they assume they’re the only people who live in the house. People who put in really loud engines or mufflers, or blast music out their windows because only they matter. People who protest things that have nothing to do with them at all, and would have a positive impact on others.

I’d also say when authors try to set up two characters with no chemistry whatsoever (and have been completely platonic up to this point) in a non-romantic because it’s “expected”. He’s a man and she’s a woman, and so therefore they must be together. Um, no. Not everyone is straight. Few people develop a burning passion out of nothing for someone overnight, after not seeing them for months. That’s not how it works.

  1. Which of your characters would send you screaming out into the blizzard before the week was up?

One of the characters in my current work in progress. He’s a cleric/doctor who buys the line that if the sick and disabled simply renounced their sins and followed the One God’s commandments, they’d get better. But really, that’s just to justify his sociopathic/serial killer-esque treatment of them. Would you even want to be in the same room as him?

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

My favourite mantra is the joy is in the process.

This means many things to me, and generally when I’m having mindset problems, I discover a new facet to this mantra.

When you’re writing, focus on writing. When you’re not writing, focus on whatever you’re doing. I find it’s generally when I’m not focused on what I’m doing at the moment – and thinking about my novel – is when anxiety and fear sneak up on me. Will this sell? Is this good enough?

And writing (even editing) is the fun part. It’s the all-absorbing part where your book is all important. Once you publish, the relationship changes. It’s done and out, there is no process. The book becomes less important, and you sweep yourself up into a new project.

So if the writing isn’t enjoyable, ask yourself: how can I make this more enjoyable? Because it’s not going to be any more fun afterward. (Another handy law of the universe – you get better at everything when you relax. Irritating, but true.)


Book blurb:

Embracing his inner darkness could be his only chance to save the man he loves…

Ilyas refuses to give up his power. Not in the negotiations with his kingdom’s old enemy, and not in his relationship with the man he loves. To keep the possibility of victory all to himself, Ilyas shuts Jem out of the talks and puts their love at incredible risk…

Jem can no longer trust his own mind. While Ilyas has helped keep his inner demons at bay, the vessel of the Dark God senses the void growing between them. When the shadowmancer arrives at the negotiations, Jem keeps a close eye on a foe who seems to have won over everyone but him…

As Jem uncovers the shadowmancer’s true purpose, nobody believes him, including Ilyas. Before a dormant, deadly menace is released, Jem’s only chance to save the peninsula and his soulmate is to embrace the monster he was made to be…

Shadowmancer is the riveting final installment in a trilogy of LGBT dark fantasy novels. If you like gay romance against all odds, action-packed adventures, and far-away fantasy worlds, then you’ll love Olivia Helling’s engaging tale.

Buy Shadowmancer to conclude the fantastical love story today!

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Author bio:

Olivia Helling doesn’t believe in love at first sight… but maybe, just maybe, it blossoms along a few books. That is, after all, how she fell in love with her husband.

Olivia writes about the darkness and flaws from within, the struggle with self-confidence, self-perception and fear of failure, and fantasy and historical worlds that refuse to allow love between men. So be warned: happily ever after is not guaranteed.

The protagonist and love interest don’t always end up together by the end of one book. But when they finally come together, their love will be a thing of beauty.

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