Helena Echlin

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Helena Echlin

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Born
London, The United Kingdom
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Member Since
April 2007


Hello! I’m the co-author of the novel, ,Sparked, along with Malena Watrous. We’ve both published solo novels, but if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a glass of wine, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl's sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn't resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.) ...more

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Helena Echlin I'm always so happy when a kind reader lets me know that they enjoyed my book. It's always lovely to connect with another person who loves books as…moreI'm always so happy when a kind reader lets me know that they enjoyed my book. It's always lovely to connect with another person who loves books as much as I do. I know it sounds cheesy, but I want to delight other people with a story the same way stories delight me.

The other "best thing" is what I call "the Vortex." That's when you're so engrossed in writing that the world of your creation becomes more real than the physical world. It's a white-hot frenzy of inspiration. You forgot to eat, you nearly forget to pick up your kids from school.

Writing can be so difficult sometimes, but when you're in the Vortex, it's effortless. Malena and I coined the term to describe way we felt when we dashed off the first draft of Sparked. We'd send each other messages: "My apartment is a sty and I literally can't remember when I last took a shower. #inthevortex" (less)
Helena Echlin Writing is like working out—you don’t have to do it every day but you do have to do it regularly. That means you don’t sit around and wait until you…moreWriting is like working out—you don’t have to do it every day but you do have to do it regularly. That means you don’t sit around and wait until you feel like writing, because that will probably never happen—any more than you will just feel like putting on your running shoes and going for a 10-mile jog.

The key to getting fit—and to becoming a writer—is to put it on your schedule. When and how often? There’s no one-size-fits all answer. Maybe you like to write when the house is quiet, so you write four times a week from 6-7 AM. Maybe your imagination is most active in the evening, so you put in a couple of hours between 8-10 PM. Whatever your schedule, if you’ve already made the decision to write, then you don’t have to use your willpower to psych yourself up every time you write. It’s a habit. You just do it, the same way your CrossFit sessions or cook dinner or take out the compost.

Why I am comparing penning the Great American Novel to dumping out a container full of banana peels, globs of oatmeal and other gunk? It’s because writing isn’t always fun, and I think that's really important for aspiring writers to konw. In fact, it can be downright unsatisfying and unpleasant. But if you’re a real writer, you just sit down and do it, even when you would rather lick the bottom of that compost container than pound out another word.

But here’s the good news. You know the “runner’s high”? Writers get a writer’s high: you enter the magical world of your own creation and everything else falls away. I call it being in “the Vortex” and it’s one of the best feelings there is. You won’t get that high the first few times. You have to put the practice in. And then one day you’ll realize that you’ve written far past your allotted time and your bedroom is a mess and you haven’t had a shower for three days and your last two meals have been stale tortilla chips eaten out of the bag. Congratulations: you are a writer.
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Average rating: 3.99 · 251 ratings · 131 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
Sparked

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4.02 avg rating — 245 ratings — published 2017 — 4 editions
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Gone

2.83 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 2002 — 4 editions
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Mr. Best Ever

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0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
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Loved it! This is a riveting and quintessentially English tale, told with wry touches of humor and a novelist’s gift for bringing characters to life—not just the “Bad Grandpas” themselves, but also the people who caught them. Turns out the Bad Grandp ...more
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Accidents in the Home by Tessa Hadley
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More of Helena's books…
“It's not like a thunderclap. It's gentler than that. Your love feels as if it's always been there - just part of the way the world is, like gravity.”
Helena Echlin, Sparked

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