Welcome to UTC, Helena! Since it’s your first time visiting UTC, let’s get to know you a little better. Who is Helena Hunting? Can you share five interesting things about yourself that readers wouldn’t know?
- I’m a bad example of a Canadian; I dislike winter immensely.
- I have a problem with pens, I can’t stop buying them. My current addiction is the Sharpie pen, they come in a wide variety of colours.
- My favourite colour is purple (I have a purple Sharpie pen).
- Clowns freak me out and not just because of the creep factor. I’m wary of any man who dresses up in weird clothes, puts on excessive make-up and makes things out of balloons that look distinctly phallic.
- I enjoy brussel sprouts.
I absolutely fell in love with Tenley and Hayden in CLIPPED WINGS. Could you tell us a bit about how the story came to you? Why did you feel compelled to write their story?
There were a couple of accidents in the news that really stayed with me. One was about a bride and groom who were on their way to their wedding. The bride and her bridal party were in one car and the groom and the groomsmen were in a different vehicle. A tractor trailer jackknifed and took out the groom’s limo. Everyone in the vehicle died, leaving a devastated bride at the altar. There was another, similar incident where a church collapsed during a wedding; most of the people inside didn’t survive.
Extreme trauma is life altering and sometimes there is no recovering. I wanted to explore how survivors of such suffering could find a way to move on. It would take another person who had experienced a similar level of tragedy to truly understand the magnitude of the loss. The act and art of tattooing was the vehicle through which I sought to bring these two tortured souls together, because it allowed them a safe way to connect.
I’ve read a lot of bad boy tattoo artists, but haven’t come across one like Hayden Stryker before. What do you think it is about Hayden that you hope readers will love about him?
Stereotypes are perpetuated everywhere, in every field and facet of life. I think Hayen challenges those stereotypes. Does he have a dodgy past? Sure. But most people have made choices they wouldn’t necessarily repeat if given the opportunity for a do-over. Under his harsh exterior, Hayden is an intelligent, sensitive, loyal man who is just as broken as the girl he’s after. I hope readers will love his vulnerability, his sometimes-misplaced over-protective nature, and his juvenile love of cupcakes.
What is it about the art of tattoos that you find attractive? Do you have any of your own tattoos that you’d like to share?
I find body modification in general an intriguing subculture. I love that tattooing had moved into the mainstream. I also love that we can memorialize significant people and events through body art. I’m constantly amazed by the evolution of this art form and the gorgeous designs artists are able to transfer onto a three dimensional canvas. I do have a few tattoos. They’re all small and easily hidden. However, there is a piece I’ve wanted for a couple of years. I’d love to find an artist who can make my ideas into art, unfortunately all my favourite tattooists reside in the UK, which is a little far for me to travel for ink. Not that I wouldn’t do it if I had the opportunity and a good reason to visit London.
INKED ARMOR is the highly anticipated sequel to Clipped Wings. Can you tell us a little bit about this upcoming release?
Inked Armor is the second half of Hayden and Tenley’s journey. While Clipped Wings tells more of Tenley’s story, Inked Armor focuses on Hayden. Just as Tenley has endured trauma, so has Hayden. In her absence, the pieces of his past he’s kept buried begin to resurface. Even after Tenley returns to Chicago, Hayden struggles to control his OCD tendencies and the fear that he will lose her again. As they work to rebuild their fragile bond, and the truth about Hayden’s parent’s murders begins to unravel, so does Hayden. While Hayden battles with his own traumatic losses, Tenley finally relinquishes her guilt so she can help him let go of his own.
When writing Hayden and Tenley’s story, did you have models or celebrities in mind? If so, would you share them with us?
I’ve always had an image in my head as to what Tenley and Hayden looked like. Recently I’ve come to like Imogene Coots; she’s got a great girl-next-door look that can be both sweet and sexy. A blogger friend sent me some pictures of Stephen James the model/soccer player just prior to the release of Clipped Wings. He’s become my Hayden muse. He’s absolutely stunning and his tattoos are out of this world.
CRACKS IN THE ARMOR is a short story that will be released later on this year. What can readers expect from this story?
Cracks in the Armor gives the readers a chance to see the Inked Armor world through different character’s eyes. It’s told through Chris and Sarah’s point of view. Readers will get to know these two a little better in this post Inked Armor novella.
What would be your number one advice to aspiring authors?
Know your process—whether you plot or pants, find someone (or more than one someone if possible) who will be honest with you, and who will challenge you to dig deeper, push harder and write better. The first draft is never perfect and a solid team can help develop something good into something awesome.
Now it’s time for some rapid-fire questions!
Boxers or briefs? Boxer briefs
Sunset or sunrise? Sunset
Beach or mountains? Beach
Tattoos or piercings? Both 😉
Print book or ebook? Print
Purchase Link: Amazon
In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.
In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker’s tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn’t believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents’ death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.
A few days, a week, just a little longer. Everyone told me she needed time. Her silence told me she needed time.
Time went on and on. An endless cycle of sleep, wake, bear the agony, and repeat. I fucking hated time.
Tenley had been gone for three weeks. Every day without her was sensory deprivation, drawn out and torturous from beginning to end. The first week, I called her every day. Her phone always went to voice mail. She never called back. I stopped calling because it sucked to know I’d been discarded so easily.
Memories of her were everywhere: home, work, Serendipity. I couldn’t escape. So at least I understood why she came to Chicago in the first place: to get away from the ceaseless reminders. I couldn’t figure out what had compelled her to go back, though. She could run from me all she wanted, but returning to the place she’d fled from didn’t make much sense. Unless she was looking to shackle herself to the guilt again. It was easy to deny the possibility of a future when she let the past drag her down. I knew. I’d done that for years until Tenley came along.
Series Reading Order:
Cupcakes and Ink (Novella) | review
Between the Cracks (Novella – Chris and Sarah’s story) | review