The Englishman is subtitled "Can love go the distance" and it is quite the page-turner, I've had difficulty stopping myself from devouring it. It is the story of Kaisa, a young Finnish girl who meets and falls in love with Peter, an English naval officer. As the blurb says:
"At the age of twenty, Kaisa has her life mapped out. After university in Helsinki, she’s going to marry her well-to-do fiancé, Matti, and live happily ever after. But in October 1980, she's invited to a British Embassy cocktail party, and meets a dashing Naval officer. In the chilly Esplanade Park the Englishman and Kaisa share passionate, secret kisses and promise to meet up again. But they live thousands of miles apart – and Kaisa is engaged to be married.Helena, who lives in England and is married to an Englishman, has made no secret of the fact that this novel has its roots in autobiography - in fact, it started life as a series of blog posts called How I Came to Be In England. But what she has done here so well is to completely fictionalize the story and provide all the required tension that keeps you reading and reading. All the small details about Finland and Sweden give the book such colour, and I love seeing England through Kaisa's eyes!
At the height of the Cold War the Englishman chases Russian submarines whilst Kaisa’s stuck in a country friendly with the Soviet Union. Will their love go the distance?"
Helena and her book seem to lend themselves well (who doesn't?) to my writing & place questionnaire, so I asked her a few questions:
Where are you?
I live in Crouch End, North London.
How long have you been there?
I was born in Finland and moved to the UK some 25 years ago. Because my husband served in the navy, we move about a lot, finally settling down to Wiltshire where we lived for 15 years in a very rural setting. Some two years ago we decided we’d had enough of country life, upped sticks and moved to the city. And haven’t looked back.
What do you write?
How do you think where you and where you've been affects what you write about and how you write?
|The Real Englishman: Helena's husband David|
My latest novel, The Englishman, is set in Finland in the 1980’s and was inspired by my own story of how I met my husband and moved to the UK. It’s my third novel, but the one which is most closely based on my own life.
Thanks so much Helena, it's going to be a busy year with two more books coming out! You can buy The Englishman as an ebook on Amazon (current price 0.77p!) or Smashwords ($0.99), find out more about the book on Facebook and its blog and follow Helena on Twitter to keep up to date with this and her other books. Good luck with it all, Helena, I am off to find out what happens with Kaisa and Peter....!