I am very thankful that the Grimsby Author Series (in May 2015), introduced me to the beautiful writing of Helen Humphreys. Her words seem almost lyrical and after reading her memoir, about the loss of her beloved brother, I understand how her writing has been influenced by the melodies of her brother. I appreciated learning about Humphrey’s writing process and her honesty about the challenges of supporting oneself as an author.
Thank you to Helen for your quick reply, answering my Novel Questions! I know readers of A Year of Books will appreciate your answers and I encourage them to enjoy Helen’s books!
What is your favourite childhood book? Why?
Charlotte’s Web. I found the story very moving and the plight of Charlotte the spider affected me for years. I am a sucker for animal fiction. And for animals.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. Ever since I can remember, it is all I have wanted to be. And I have been working at it since I was young. I have worked at a lot of jobs to pay the rent, but I have only ever been a writer.
Where is your favourite place to write and why?
I can pretty much write anywhere, so long as it’s not too noisy. But I like writing on my couch, with a fresh cup of coffee, and the dog curled up beside me.
What work are you most proud of and why?
Probably the book I wrote about my brother’s death — “Nocturne” — because it was a very, very difficult book to write, and yet the writing of it renewed my faith in writing. It was deeply reassuring to find that this thing I had dedicated my life to, could hold me up in my time of deepest sorrow. I am proud of the book because I wrote it in the midst of grief, wanting to describe the process to others who might be going through similar experiences, in the hopes that it would offer some comfort.
What is the last book that you read and why would you recommend it… or not?
“How Does the Impulse to Draw Something Begin?” by John Berger. I picked it up shortly after he died. I have always liked Berger. He is one of the greats, but I hadn’t read this book before. It is basically an illustrated journal about making art, and as with all his writing, it is beautifully expressed and thought-provoking. I would recommend it, and all of his books.
Reviews of Helen Humphrey’s Books:
A link to Helen’s website