Friday, July 7, 2017

Helena Fairfax: Why Hotels Make a Wonderful Setting for Writers

Helena Fairfax is known to followers of the RNA blog for her interviews with literary agents. It's a great pleasure to welcome Helena to this side of the desk to talk about her novel Felicity at the Cross Hotel, which is released today.
Happy publication day, Helena, and welcome to the spotlight!

Thank you! I'll just pull up my chair...!
Hotels make a wonderful setting for writers. When I was a student I worked for several months as a barmaid in a hotel in the Bavarian Alps. I was trying to improve my German, and I did improve it…kind of! I came home knowing how to swear in dialect, knowing the Bavarian for a white wine spritz (ein Weissweinschorle, if you're ever in the Alps and urgently in need of one), and with an accent that the rest of Germany found side-splittingly funny. And because of the working environment, I also made close friendships with people I would never have met otherwise.
Hotels make a great setting for books because they bring together such a wide range of people. Everyone in a hotel has a story to tell and no matter what their background they are all forced to interact with one another - from the barmaid like me to the billionaire who drinks champagne for breakfast and leaves enormous tips in dollars.

View from my room in Bavaria

The hotel I worked in was in a remote spot right at the top of a mountain, but even in the heart of London the staff of a hotel can feel cut off from the rest of the world, especially if they live in. This feeling of isolation has provided the perfect creepy setting for some brilliant books like The Shining, or Pyscho, or Jamaica Inn. Being temporarily thrown together with someone else, in an idyllic setting far from others, can also make deep relationships grow quickly and provide the perfect setting for romance to flourish.
The Lake District (photo courtesy of Pixabay)
The hotel in my novel Felicity at the Cross Hotel bears a strong resemblance to my own hotel in the Alps. They are both on a mountain, in a romantic setting, and full of unlikely people thrown together. I even based my fictional head waiter – Johnny – on an Italian waiter in my hotel called Gionni. Gionni was desperately in love with one of the chambermaids. Sadly, his love was unrequited, and he would pour his heart out at great length to me as I poured out the Weinschorles and frothy beers during the evening shift. My fictional Johnny suffers in a similar way, and my heroine Felicity goes to great lengths to try and help him.
The friends I made in my Bavarian hotel are still really close friends today, many years later. Felicity at the Cross Hotel is about love and friendship, and feel good romance.

Blurb:
A quaint hotel in the Lake District. The Cross Hotel is the perfect getaway. Or is it?

Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel …
Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he's forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.
With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?

Author Biography:
Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now which is just as well, since these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. Helena walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings. Subscribers to Helena's newsletter receive news of free stuff, competitions with prizes, gossip, and links to cool websites she's been looking at when she should have been writing.
Helena's Website
Felicity at the Cross Hotel is released today - hooray! - and available here on Amazon 

Thank you for letting me sit on this side of the RNA blog's desk!
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Thanks for dropping in, Helena, and many congratulations on release. We can't wait to meet the characters in the Cross Hotel!

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com

2 comments:

angela britnell said...

My only hotel work experience was one week as a chambermaid in a Cornish hotel when I was about 16 - hated it and quit to work in my friend's bakery and cafe instead! They do make great settings for stories though and I'll be looking out for yours sounds my kind of read.

Helena Fairfax said...

I'd have loved working in a hotel as a teenager, Angela! Thanks so much for dropping in, and for checking out Felicity. I hope the hotel setting doesn't bring back bad memories!