About Helen Starbuck:
Helen Starbuck—no relation to the coffee bunch—doesn’t get free coffee, sadly. She’s a Colorado native and a multiple award-winning indie author of the Annie Collins Mystery Series and Legacy of Secrets, Finding Alex, and The Woman He Used to Know, standalone romantic suspense novels.
She loves any book that is well written. She’s a huge fan of books with independent, strong women characters and, as Neil Gaiman says, “…stories where women save themselves.”
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always loved to read, and writing allowed me to express myself. Writing gives me an escape and a way to entertain myself and others.
I'm inspired by overheard conversations, local settings, and music. The idea for my first book was inspired by a patient I helped care for. It's not about that patient. It's based on the difficult process of discovering her very puzzling clinical issues and the unexpected outcome. I thought it would make a great story. My other books have been inspired by local settings or particular songs that conjure up an idea.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
It's hard to pick only a few authors I admire, but I love Jane Harper, Tana French, Tami Hoag, Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner, and Anne Frasier. I can count on these authors to write books that entertain me.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write by the seat of my pants. I come up with a story idea, which I may not know the ending to, and begin writing to see where it goes. I often have to go back and do a timeline to ensure my story makes sense. The pantsing process works for me, but it often requires a lot of revision after the first draft is done. My characters and their names come to me fully imagined with gradual changes as I write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters talk to me. They often come to me in the middle of the night to discuss where they want the story to go. It's a fascinating process, and I sometimes wonder if there is an alternate universe where my characters live. Sometimes we argue, but I value their contributions (or those of my subconscious, which also seems to have a life of its own). At times, a character I thought would be minor becomes major as the story progresses and the character demands more time.
What advice would you give other writers?
Get help and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Beta readers, editors, and proofers are priceless because they help you improve your writing, and we all need that feedback. As authors, we are too close to our work to see the flaws. If you have people who will tell you, kindly and supportively, what’s wrong—that’s priceless and will help you avoid major problems.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to independently publish my books. The reason I chose this path was because one of my parents passed at 71 and the other at 94. It brought home to me that none of us know how much time we have. If I passed sooner rather than later, I didn't want to be waiting for a publisher to take a chance on my book, I wanted them out there for readers to enjoy.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe people will always want books, however, the format by which they read them is gradually changing. I love physical books, but I have begun to read more ebooks and listen to audiobooks.
I think ebooks and audiobooks are becoming more popular, because they are convenient and can be listened to and read in settings where a physical book cannot. I also believe that there will always be a place for physical books. There are now only five major publishers, and because of that, I think that more authors will publish independently as time goes by.
What genres do you write?: Mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.