Join Helen Phifer in The Crime Lounge

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Hi Helen,

Thank you for taking the time to join us in The Crime Lounge, let's get stuck in.

Tell us about yourself: 

I’m a crime writer who also works part time as a police community support officer. I’ve written two series of books. My first is about police officer Annie Graham who gets herself in some terrible scrapes whilst hunting for killers, these books are set in the Lake District. The second is the Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin series set in the fictional town of Brooklyn Bay which has an ever rising body count. There are also two stand alone books.

Tell us about your latest book: 

The House On West 10th Street is about NYPD Homicide Detective Maria Miller. Sheison the hunt for a disturbed killer. She doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when she's sent to a gruesome murder in the attic of a Brownstone on West 10th Street, her beliefs are seriously challenged.

Which new authors do you recommend to your friends? 

Angela Marsons, Kierney Scott, Robert Bryndza, Patricia Gibney

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

First memory of wanting to be an author: 

Reading The Famous Five Books as an nine year old child and longing to write an adventure just like those.

When did you start writing? 

I’ve always tried to write bits and pieces since I was a child. In my twenties I had a go and didn’t have a clue how to write a book. In my thirties I got very serious about it.

Tell us briefly about your route to being published

I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Members Scheme, where I sent my debut manuscript to be critiqued. I also attended the yearly RNA Conference that year because it was in Cumbria. At the last minute I asked for a ten-minute slot to chat to an editor. I went for my industry appointment to get some feedback and the experience. My book was about a serial killer who began stalking a police woman. It wasn’t strictly a full on romance. I got on well with the editor who suggested I send my first three chapters in. She liked it, asked me to send the whole book in, liked that. Then asked me to rewrite it at least four times before she took it to the acquisition department. Who thankfully liked it. 

3 things you wish you knew before embarking on being an author

- That editing is far more painful than I’d ever imagined.

- That the luxury of time to write a first draft would go out of the window, I’ve had three month deadlines and six month deadlines.

- I’d have to learn how to try and market myself on social media.

Book you wished you’d written?

Big dream for your books and writing life

To sell enough books that I can become a full time writer, live in a house by a lake and spend all day writing. A film deal or television deal would be pretty amazing, especially if Idris Elba was playing one of the lead roles.

How can fans connect with you?

Facebook at


Do you have a newsletter? How can readers sign up for it?

I do, they can sign up through my website at