Q & A With Helena Hunting

We are very excited to bring you a Q&A with  Helena Hunting, author of the  Clipped Wings series.  The series follows the fragile and emotional love story of Hayden, a damaged cupcake addicted tattoo artist, and Tenley, a shattered graduate student.   

Q & A with Helena Hunting

What was the inspiration behind your book?

Hayden and Tenley’s story developed as a result of events that were highlighted in the media and stuck with me. A groom and his groomsmen were in a limo on the way to the church. A tractor trailer jackknifed and everyone died leaving a devastated bride at the altar. That level of loss would leave behind horrific emotional scars.

I wanted to explore how someone who had experienced such deep emotional trauma would be able to get past that and move on. Hayden becomes the one person who is able understand and relate to Tenley, because he too has survived a traumatic loss. Body modification was the natural vehicle to connect them and give them the ability to find peace and healing in the art and each other.
How difficult was it to edit your book for publishing as original fiction and adding brand new characters?
I wanted to burn it a few times along the way! Initially, I started by cleaning it up chapter by chapter, but it didn’t take long to realize it was too big to edit that way. With the help of my dear friend Alex, I outlined exactly what I wanted to happen in both books and began rewriting. Even the remaining scenes from the original draft have been heavily edited to fit the altered story. Creating new characters wasn’t too difficult once the outline was established, because they became necessary for character development and catalysts for events.

Did you research OCD /PTSD and how?

I think research is always part of the process. I’ve attend seminars on PTSD and other mental health issues because it’s something I’ve always been interested in understanding. Everyone copes differently with trauma and its aftermath. I did some reading on OCD, and accessed some community agencies for more information about that particular mental health issue. Hayden’s OCD is manageable, but could easily have become uncontrollable without intervention.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Hayden, because he’s Hayden. He’s intense and overwhelming, but inside, he’s broken and trying to figure out how to survive. Tenley is the person who is able to break through his armor and get to the man underneath, giving the reader a look at his sensitive side. Plus he’s adorable when it comes to cupcakes and TK.

Do you think Tenley's parents would approve of Hayden?

That’s a good question. I’d like to say they would, but in reality, probably not. At least not at the beginning, if at all. But then, if Tenley met Hayden without having experienced such a devastating loss, I’m not sure they ever would have ended up together, because Hayden’s recovery from his own trauma is, in part, dependent upon witnessing Tenley overcome hers. Tenley grew up in a very different environment with expectations for her future that didn’t necessarily coincide with who she was as a person. Hayden came along and changed that for her because with him she was free to be who she wanted, not conform to expectations. Based on the path she was on prior to the crash, I’m not sure her parents would have been pleased with that transformation. 

Give us an interesting (unknown) fun fact or a few about your book.

I had work schedules written out on a whiteboard in my office so I could make sure Tenley and Hayden’s hours didn’t conflict, as well as her school timetable and her office hours because of the college component to the story. Tenley juggles going to classes, teaching, office hours and her part time job at Serendipity, so she has a lot of balls in the air.

If you had to sleep with one of your characters, who would it be?

Do you mean share a bed or get it on? Not that it matters. That’s a conflicting question because if I answer honestly it means I’m not loyal to my heroine. But since you’re twisting my arm, it would be Hayden.

Character you secretly hate but needed to write anyway?

Trey. There is nothing redeemable about him. He’s a sociopath.

If you took a roadtrip with one of your characters who would it be and would you let that person control the music selections?

Chris, because he’d be awesome and he’d be super easygoing about it. We’d take my car though, because motorcycles aren’t as convenient as cars and we’d have to take turns with the music selection. I’d also be in charge of picking restaurants, because Chris would be likely to stop for fast food and not much else.

If you could host a giveaway for the series and cost was not an issue, what would you give away that represents the series perfectly?

A tattoo session at Immortal Ink in the UK, a Stryker hoodie, one of the cupcake pendants from Tiffany’s, Hayden’s Camaro and an unlimited supply of cupcakes, Tenley’s cupcakes shoes, her body jewelry and all her cupcake lingerie.

If Hayden was a dog, which breed would he be? Same with the other main characters.

Hayden: Great Dane
Tenley: She's be a cat, just like TK

Chris: Bulldog

Sarah: Afghan

Jamie: Greyhound
Lisa: Shit zu

Sienna: Chihuahua

Nate: Bull Mastiff

Cassie: Black Lab

Collin Cross: Rottweiler

Damen: Pitbull

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Edgar Allen Poe. He’d be wild to hang out with and I’d love to get inside his head for a little while.

Aside from being an author, what would your dream job be?

This is my dream job. I’d love to be able to do this all the time.

What is your favorite book of all time?  What are you reading now or the book you read?

Fall on Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald is my all-time favourite book. I’m in the middle of two books right now, I’m just finishing Twisted by Emma Chase and starting How to Reprimand your Rock Stark by Mina Vaughn.

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer? 

Putting characters into worlds and being able to live in comfy clothes most of the time.

Give us one fact about you that readers would be surprised to know.

Until I started posting CW&IA online I never let anyone read anything I wrote.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Generally I go for a run and clear my head. Sometimes I take a break and write something else to help get the flow back.

5 words to describe the person behind the author.

Snuggly, snarky, passionate, inquisitive and nerdy.
Your characters sure have tattoos, do you have any tattoos? 

I have a few, but they’re all small and hidden under my clothes :)

What else do you do besides writing? Any other creative outlets?

I can’t draw, but I love to do crafty things and I can make a mean pompom puppy.

So what’s next for Helena Hunting

Cracks in the Armor, a novella featuring Chris and Sarah will release later in June. Beyond that,  I’ve got a couple of manuscripts that I’d like to edit and plenty of characters I’d like to throw into worlds.

Cupcaked and Ink (Clipped Wings #0.5)
Available February 3, 2014

The prequel to Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton)—this emotional tale follows Hayden and Tenley as they struggle to let go of their pasts and maintain an emotionally safe distance from each other.

Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.

Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish façade.

But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.


Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings #1)
Available May 13, 2014

An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn't ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley's past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side...or run?

Between The Cracks (Clipped Wing #1.5)
Available May 6, 2014

Tattooist Chris Zelter doesn’t always make the best decisions when it comes to the people he cares about, or the women he gets involved with. Things have changed recently, though. Chris has lost interest in casual flings as he finds himself wrapped up in Sarah Adamson, a waitress at the local strip club he frequents. It takes months of persistent attention before she finally agrees to date him, and he's determined not to mess it up. 

Just as things are finally going his way, Chris receives a troubled phone call in the middle of the night from Hayden Stryker, his best friend and business partner. Unexpected revelations and the sudden departure of his girlfriend, Tenley, has nearly sent Hayden over the edge. Add in a speeding ticket and an impounded car, and Hayden is balanced on the
precipice of a total meltdown. Worried about his friend, Chris sets out on a rescue road trip, first to get Hayden, and then to bring back Tenley. The two men run into unforeseen roadblocks, proving even the best intentions don’t guarantee results. 

Chris and Hayden return to Chicago empty handed, and Chris is left feeling as if he’s let down all the people who matter, especially Sarah. But Chris discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to find a way to forget about it. And losing himself in Sarah is the perfect way to do just that.

Inked Armor (Clipped Wings #2)
Available May 13, 2014

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.

Cracks in the Armor (Clipped Wing #2.5)
Available June 23, 2014

Chris, a sexy tattoo artist, tries to win the heart of Sarah, a grad student with little interest in him, in this second e-short and follow-up to Helena Hunting’s gripping love story, Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton).

Part owner of the Chicago tattoo shop Inked Armor, Chris Zelter is a talented artist who decorates skin with gorgeous designs. He might look the part of the typical jacked-up, inked-up bad-boy, but underneath is a fiercely loyal, complicated man. Kicked out at sixteen, Chris has had to fend for himself for the last twelve years, making his Inked Armor crew as much family as they are business partners. For him, it’s enough—until he meets Sarah Adamson.                                                                                                                   
A grad student waitressing at the local strip club, Sarah is used to propositions and crude comments. The job is a means to an end—finish her MBA, pay off the tuition loans, and get a good job. Then she won’t have to rely on anyone to take care of her. So when brawny, tatted up Chris begins hanging out at the club, she rebuffs his advances. At first. But Chris isn’t like her usual clientele: despite his hard exterior, he’s almost…sweet. 

Sometimes, the people with the roughest edges have the biggest hearts.


Cupcakes & Ink – http://amzn.to/1hMpHyS
Clipped Wings - http://amzn.to/1j1luGH
Between The Cracks – http://bit.ly/1fXOj89
 Inked Armor – http://amzn.to/19n5BYT
Cracks in the Armor – http://amzn.to/1heqndr     

Cupcakes & Ink – http://amzn.to/1j1IuGH
Clipped Wings - http://bit.ly/1bjLLcL
Between The Cracks – http://bit.ly/1mNi6PJ
Inked Armor –  http://bit.ly/1bjLMgY
Cracks in the Armor –  http://bit.ly/1bV53oL       

Cupcakes & Ink – http://bit.ly/Mq9mlO
Clipped Wings - http://bit.ly/1gGn6Xy
Between The Cracks – http://bit.ly/1jMIf1x
Inked Armor  – http://bit.ly/1bjLMgY
Cracks in the Armor – http://bit.ly/1gGnc1i

Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She's putting her English degree to good use by writing popular fiction. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.

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