Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book signing for "Family & More" on 25/9/10, Waterstones, Peacocks Centre, Woking



My poetic memoir Family & More - Enemies or Friends? has just been released and I'll be doing a book signing at Waterstones bookshop in the Peacocks Centre in Woking, Surrey on Saturday 25th September between 12pm -3pm, so if you happen to be in the area and feel like popping in just to say 'Hello" please do!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In conversation with UK author, Judith Kerr

I was privileged last weekend to meet UK children's author, Judith Kerr, at the Lightbox Museum in Woking. The Lightbox is at present hosting a marvellous exhibition about children's books and their illustrators, from the late 19th century to the present day.

Judith Kerr, as the author and illustrator of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog, the Forgetful Cat is, of course, featured in the exhibition. And running concurrently is a whole series of talks, so that if you're interested you can meet some of the featured illustrators/authors in person.

I jumped at the chance to see Judith Kerr, and to hear her talk about her childhood in Berlin and how her family was forced to flee to Switzerland, because of her father's outspoken criticism of Hitler and the Nazis. Her father fled first to Prague and then to Switzerland, and - about two weeks later - the whole family left Germany. Judith eventually came to England in 1936 via Switzerland and Paris and has stayed here ever since. She has written about these experiences in her autobiographical novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and two further novels. 

After she had talked about her escape from Germany (which happened just in time, because the day after they had reached Switzerland the Nazis won the election and they went to the Kerr's house in Berlin to confiscate the family's passports), and had read a passage from her book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, the audience asked a variety of questions about her parents, the escape, her Jewish background and whether there were any plans to resurrect Mog, the Cat - to which Judith responded with a quiet but emphatic 'No!'  It was fascinating listening to this petite, elderly lady with the quiet voice but very clear diction who answered questions with a disarming openness. When one of the children in the audience asked why the grandmother's dog in When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit jumped off the wall, she replied that the dog was 'a very stupid dog!' He loved running after tennis balls, for instance, and mistook anything white and round - like a light bulb - for a tennis ball and would be found jumping up and down trying to 'catch' the light bulb!

An hour flew by and at the book signing afterwards, I told her of my mother's own flight from East Prussia to Hamburg at the end of World War II (which I've documented in my poetic memoir Family & More - Enemies or Friends?).  Judith Kerr was fascinated, and when I offered her a copy of my own book, I was honoured that she accepted it. What a gracious lady and what a most interesting afternoon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meet inspirational writer and communications specialist, Debra Eckerling, creator of Write On! Online and Write On Track LA

It's my pleasure today to feature writer and communications specialist, Debra Eckerling. Debra is the creator of Write On! Online, a community for writers and she recently expanded her online presence by creating Write On Track LA which is “personal training” for writers.

"Writing is exercise," Debra says. "I train authors, experts, and entrepreneurs, so they can organize, articulate, and complete their writing projects.”

I asked Debra to talk about her sites and explain some of the biggest barriers writers encounter as they strive to reach "The End." 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A collection of life stories told with tenderness, fondness and humour...

I just received another review of my book Family & More which I wanted to share.

"Helena Harper’s Family and More offers an interesting insight into a wide spectrum of human relationships. It is a collection of life stories told with tenderness, fondness and humour, yet interspersed with a powerful critique of the futility and unnatural nature of warfare. A child of ‘fused’ parentage, Harper questions the way in which labels such as ‘enemy’ are attached to others. Ultimately, she questions how one’s identity is constructed and stresses the importance of individual strength of character in the face of adversity. A charming read, each verse emphasises the good at the heart of the human relationship and stresses the importance of optimism and hope. " 
Lady Teviot, President of the Federation of Family History Societies in the UK and owner of genealogical research company, Census Searches Ltd.

Thank you, Lady Teviot!