Interview with Author Helen Farrugia – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Helen Farrugia

30 years old, Author Helen Farrugia is a wife and a mother who has one son and a little dog called Ella. Writing has always been a big part of her life and she wrote her first poem at 5 years old.  English was and always will be her favourite part about school.  “I found there was something quite magical about being able to leave reality and jump into a whole new world where everybody got on and there were no limits to who you could be or what you could do”.

Helen and her son are both autistic, but she doesn’t let that hold her back from reaching her dreams and goals.  Growing up with autism was a challenge and she did get bullied real bad because she didn’t understand as quick as the other kids.  “Yea it did hurt being bullied for being different, but the way I looked at it was I’m strong and I knew I would overcome this obstacle and as long as I was the one being bullied it meant that a person who wasn’t as strong and who might not overcome it wasn’t being bullied”.

Writing is kind of a release for Helen – a place to escape so to speak her poetry for example each poem she has written has a story behind it – something she went through whether that was a bad or good experience.  “Every poem has a story – it’s up to you if you chose to listen to it.  Writing the children’s books  I have started out as a project to give my son confidence to be himself to be proud of who he is and then I read my first to a few people I knew with young children and they all said I should continue writing and make them into actual books for kids and my inspiration came from my son and the adventures he goes on using his imagination and if I can bring a smile to just one child’s face then I have done what I set out to do”, stated Helen Farrugia.

Tell me more about your latest book

My latest book is called ‘James and the octopus’ and it’s the second in the first series of the magical adventures of James. James loves to dance and he loves bath time so I combined the two to create an underwater bath time dance adventure he meets an octopus called opal and who is a dancer and helps her achieve her dream and that is all I’m going to say on that – I don’t want to give it all away.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

I don’t find writing challenging as such, but as I’m writing I build up a picture in my head of the characters and plot line and that can be challenging certainly if the picture doesn’t match the writing and that has lead me to many re-writes. 

How liberal are you in term of expressing ideas in your books?

Liberality I feel is something that has to be treated with caution as what might seem good to me – might not seem that way to others with my poetry book.  I think very carefully about each poem I include as the last thing I want to do is cause upset or distress to anybody that is not the aim of my writing.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

My publication process is once I’m 100% happy with my finished manuscript.  I have two people who proof read everything through.  Then I send it over to my illustrator Nimraha Saleem who is fantastic at what she does and I love working with her so much.  She’s so polite and just a pleasure to know.  Once I have everything from her, I send it over to my formatter who finalises everything and puts it all in the right size and adds photographs I had taken to the PDF file if needed like he did for my poetry book heart flow.  Then once everything is finalised from him and I have the files back, I upload to my author account on Amazon KDP.  I publish in e-book and paperback format, then when a copy is sold Amazon print them and send them to the customer.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I personally don’t view writing as a practice at all for me.  It’s more like yoga for the brain.  I find tranquillity and peace in writing.

How many books have you written so far?

So far I have written 8 books – 3 are currently out now.

James in space, James and the octopus, James and mister monkeys race, James in the jungle, James and the pumpkin, James’s magical Christmas gift.  Then I have written a poetry book called Heart Flow and recently written a new children’s book called Its ok to cry and its to help young children understand and cope better with the loss of a loved one and this book came about because my son is struggling with the loss of his nanny and then after I wrote it, I thought with the pandemic going on there are a lot of children going through this now which lead me to release it.

Have you ever destroyed any of your writing drafts?

No, I don’t think.  I have the only thing I did destroy is a first draft of the blurb for James in space and that was by accident.

What is your motivation for writing more?

This is simple really.  I love writing – it’s my passion and as long as people love my writing I’ll keep writing more.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Knowing what I know – now my advice for aspiring writers would be never ever give up on your dream, no matter what people say.  It’s your story – there might be bumps in the road – I know I’ve had quite a few big bumps in the road, but it’s so worth to see your words completed and to be able to hold your book in your hand and say yes I did this, I did it is incredible you’ve got this your going to do amazing things.

Visit Author Helen Farrugia book links:-

You can also follow me on facebook at Helen Farrugia Children’s author

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