Helen Noble is not only a writer. She’s a psychology graduate, director of a legal practice and mother of three. Her passion for creative writing began like many writers, in childhood. By nineteen her first short story had been published in a magazine, yet like many women writers she put on hold her creativity in an effort to balance work and children. Luckily for us, she’s rekindled her passion to bring us the novel Tears of a Phoenix (published 2012) and this year sees her second novel The 49th Day hit the shelves along with her collection of short stories Scorpio Moons which explores the deeper feminine aspect within all women.
As I believe women’s stories are needed now more than ever, I couldn’t wait to ask Helen what pulled her in the Yin direction when writing Scorpio Moons.
Helen: I guess we become more of our authentic selves as our lives progress. At this stage, I am beginning to watch the lives of my daughters unfold, reminding me of my past, highlighting the changes that have brought me to the present; and yet our future is unknown. I welcome anything that can serve as a guide, shares some knowledge, or shines a light on what it means to be a woman. Scorpio Moons is my contribution to the collective.
Scorpio Moons is also about passion, women’s search for empowerment and the simultaneous creative/destructive potential that lies therein. Helen’s use of astrology to demonstrate this isn’t an accident, it’s an astute move.
Helen: My interest in astrology is concerned with the quality of human energies associated with the planets. For example, the idea that the Moon embodies the essence or femininity of women. I wonder if the ideas date from hunter-gatherer times when men hunted by day and women worked the land. Naturally, childbirth tends to occur at night, probably as there are fewer predators around to threaten the mother and her new-born. Perhaps this is how the energy of the sun has become associated with male energy, whilst the moon time has been adopted by women as our ‘time’?
The words of Deng Ming-Dao rise in my mind “The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” Helen, continues.
Helen: I am fortunate to know, and to have in my life some amazing women. Our resilience is our hidden strength. Lone warriors when we need to be, strong women are a force de majeure in the collective. The human qualities associated with the sign of Scorpio are of death, rebirth, transformation, creativity, passion, love, lust, betrayal and revenge. These are the forces behind life’s irrevocable changes, and reveal the deepest of human desires. Scorpio Moons is an exploration and a celebration of the deeds and drama in the lives of women who embody these deep and enduring qualities.
Now I’m reminded of my mother. Born of Scorpio and infused with so many paradoxical qualities. I feel her in Helen’s words. Strong unexpected emotion rises within. I smile. Helen knows women. All women. Perhaps it’s her psychology background?
Helen: Psychology has taught me to adopt a 360 degree perspective on people and life’s events, to question the mind behind the smile, consider the many possible reasons for the choices people make and, most importantly, to learn how resilience can help people overcome the challenges they face.
I hope it has helped me to construct realistic lives and complex characters in my books; ones rooted in reality, embodying integrity and inspiring hope.
Helen could be a psychologist. I wonder why writing?
Helen: I am a dreamer. I can easily lose myself in a painting, some music, in nature or a story. I remember clearly being entranced by the teacher reading aloud at the end of each day, during my first year at school. I am fascinated by the patterns that appear in peoples’ lives and which sometimes echo over the generations. I also love the apparent randomness, or synchronicity of events; how peoples’ lives appear to intersect at crucial moments, when the smallest of acts can have profound or far-reaching consequences. I believe the novel is the perfect place to explore and illustrate these fascinating aspects of how it is to be a human in this world.
Speaking of novels, Helen also has her second novel The 49th Day out this year too. I’m wonder how she finds the time. But ask instead about the story.
Helen: The 49th Day is a contemporary love story with historical undertones and a spiritual twist. Based on the Buddhist notion of reincarnation, the book explores the ideas of pre-destination and the echoes of past lives in the present. Facing an uncertain future, Katherine Walsh delves into her ancient Welsh heritage and makes a sea change to chart the new course of her future. Set largely in contemporary Pembrokeshire and the Wicklow mountains of Ireland, the scenes slip back to the events of 12th century Wales and the Cambro-Norman invasion of Ireland, as Katherine seeks to create a new role for herself, rather than replay the mistakes of a past life. ‘The 49th Day’ is the first book in a trilogy which will take the reader further into the future, whilst also revealing the Medieval roots of its main characters.
I know you want me to ask Helen about her take on Buddhist notions of reincarnation, but my mind is stuck on how she finds the time to write. Let’s not forget, Helen is busy. Three children take time. I only have one. She’s nineteen now. When she was younger I resorted to getting up at five am to write.
Helen: Writing is something I do, along with the school run and the laundry. I write as much I can. I tend to have an idea of how long, in terms of months, a writing project is going to take, so I work out how business demands, school events or family holidays are going to impact, and I work around them. I write as and when I have the opportunity. Sometimes it’s late into the night, some days I wake early with ideas in mind and quickly commit them to paper or computer memory. I write something every day, even if it just a private journal entry, a brief idea for a plot or a name for a character.
Books are like children. Despite them all originating from the same place, essentially they are very different. My first novel, Tears of a Phoenix, took a total of seven years to write and present to the world. The 49th Day was created in nine months. Scorpio Moons was written over the course of a year. All emanated from my thoughts, feelings and experiences, and yet they are so different!
So what advice does Helen have for the aspiring writer?
Helen: There is no perfect time or way. Some people prefer a schedule, others the freedom to follow their fascination, or their mood. Find out what works for you and go with it. Own it, live it and love it.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a pen, start tapping on your keyboard, or my favourite; meditate the pictures and people out then jot them down. You can do it. Passion means possibility. As for Helen, she is busy penning her third novel. If you are wondering where to get her current work, click here and why not follow her on Twitter @