September 3, 2012

Book Giveaway and Author Interview: Into The Light by Darcia Helle

Please welcome to Feed My Need, suspense author, Darcia Helle!

Author Interview

Darcia Helle
Please tell us a little about yourself.

This question always feels like a personal ad, where my answer would be something generic like: I’m a MWF, with brown hair and eyes, who loves walking the beach on moonlit nights.

And that is me. Sort of. But what does that really tell you? Here are some things that make me who I am: I’m a music and book addict, vegetarian, tree-hugging hippie. I hate coffee, love tea, and don’t like to wear shoes. Psychology and sociology fascinate me. Spiders creep me out. And I have a houseful of spoiled, four-legged babies. They’re all rescues and are, by far, my best friends.

When and why did you begin writing?

Writing is not something I chose to do one day. I was four or five when I wrote my first story. I was always writing something; stories, poetry, essays, then novels. As for why I write, my best explanation is that I write because the characters trespassing through my mind leave me no alternative.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

With each of my books, I’d say the middle has been the most challenging. All my books are character-driven. I don’t outline, and often have only a vague idea where the story is going. I know where I’m beginning and usually where I want to end, but the middle is unchartered territory.

The easiest part of each book has always been those first few pages. When the characters speak to me for the first time, those scenes write themselves.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I can’t listen to music while writing. For me, the lyrics are a distraction. I find myself absorbed in the story of the song, and I lose the connection with the story I’m writing. The mood of the music also influences me too much. I can and do use music as a starting point, a way to get myself in the mood for writing. But while writing I need silence.

Quiet FuryWhat inspires you?

So many things! I find inspiration in well written lyrics, an original phrase, my dogs playing, a sunny day, the ocean waves, and the smell of orange blossoms. I’m inspired by people who stand up for what they believe in, especially when it would be easier to follow the masses. And I’m always inspired when readers take the time to write and let me know my words have touched their lives.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can make an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Americone ice cream disappear in one sitting.

What are your current projects?
I’m working on book #3 in my Michael Sykora series.

What made you decide on self-publishing?

Frustration with the mainstream publishing world really pushed me into self-publishing. Back in 2008, I had three finished manuscripts and another in the works. I’d submitted the requisite query letter and synopsis to dozens of agents. For those unfamiliar with this mandatory means of communication with agents, who are the gatekeepers to the publishers, the query letter is a two or three paragraph plea disguised as a professional request for consideration. The synopsis is a grown-up version of the high school book report. I hate them both.

I’ll cut through all the nonsense I encountered, and just say I wasn’t getting anywhere. I could no longer work, due to neurological complications from chronic, late-stage Lyme disease, which gave me lots of time to investigate the emerging community of indie authors.

I taught myself HTML, and designed and created my website and blog. I learned how to format for print and ebooks. After studying the pros and cons of various publishers, I settled on CreateSpace for print. Then I found Smashwords for ebooks, and also figured out how to upload my books for Kindle. I made mistakes along the way, as most of us do. But I learned a lot. And, most of all, I’ve met some of the most amazing authors who have become like family.

In the end, the mainstream publishers and their agents did me a favor by making the hoop-jumping process so ridiculous. Independence suits me well.

Do you have a professional editor?

I do, thankfully! My regular editor is Bob Helle. Despite the name, we are not related. He’s a terrific guy, easy to work with, and incredibly supportive. He has made my writing life so much nicer! I also had the pleasure of once working with Susan Helene Gottfried, who has now gotten into freelance editing and is a gift to the indie world.

When I started out, I couldn’t afford the expense of an editor and decided to go it alone. I don’t recommend this course of action to anyone. Good editors are priceless.

Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished?

Both. While writing, I don’t spend a lot of time searching for the exact word or phrase. If I come to a detail requiring more research, I leave it out and go back to it during revisions. I find over-thinking interferes with the flow of creativity.

When I start out each day, I go back and read what I’d written during my last session. This serves two purposes. First, it reconnects me with the story. Second, it allows me to do minor edits along the way.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker. So far, this is a fascinating as well as disturbing look at the history of drug treatments for mental illness.

I’m also reading an advanced copy of Pressure Points by Charles Colyott. This is the second book in his Randall Lee Mystery series. Changes is the first, and I highly recommend it.

No Justice 
Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Can I say neither? No offense to anyone, but I’m a little bored with both.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I don’t presume to have all the answers, or even most of them. These are some important things that come to mind:

1. Read. A lot. All the time. Reading makes us better writers.
2. Join a writer’s group, whether online or in person. Get to know other authors, share your work, seek honest opinions and be open to constructive critique.
3. Edit. And then edit some more.
4. When your book is published, don’t overwhelm social networks with self-promotion. Interact with people.
5. Write because you love the process, not because you expect to get rich doing it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you! I am honored and humbled that you took the time to read something I’ve written. I give my characters life by writing their words. You give them meaning by reading them.

Book Giveaway

Into The Light

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can't manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.

Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there. 

Max and Joe team up to find Max's killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other's lives in ways they never expected.


  1. my email addy is deanna_boocock (2at)

  2. Great writing advice :)

  3. Thanks for reading and entering, Deanna and Na!

  4. Nice to meet you, "I’m a music and book addict, vegetarian, tree-hugging hippie. I hate coffee, love tea, and don’t like to wear shoes." Now, I know the real you. hehehe