Helen Black

blood rush cover


twenty twelve cover


dark spaces cover


friendless lane cover


taking liberties cover


Lilly Valentine series - reading order

Damaged Goods
Place of Safety
Blood Rush
Dark Spaces
Friendless Lane

Liberty Chapman series - reading order

Taking Liberties

Other Helen Black books

Twenty Twelve

Questions and Answers

Q: Damaged Goods deals with some very strong issues. Did you draw on your experiences as a child care lawyer for the detail?

A: Over the years I've come across every kind of abuse and although I didn't use any specific cases I did plunder my own feelings about the children involved to try to get across how horrific some of their lives can be.

A:You certainly do that. Was it depressing to write?

Q: Not at all. I wanted to raise some serious issues within a great story so I tried to make all my characters memorable. None of them are just victims of their sad existence.

Q: Your main character, Lilly Valentine, is very believable. How autobiographical is she?

A: Well we're both feisty northerners and both love to cook, but I try not to get into as many scrapes as she does.

Q: Surely Damaged Goods won't be the last we'll hear of her?

A: When I created her I never dreamed she'd be so well received but the first thing my agent said was I had to write more and my publishers here in the UK and abroad all want a series.

Q: Do you feel constrained by having to bring her back again and again?

A: Certainly not yet. My second book, Place of Safety, takes Lilly's story forward and I already know what she's going to be up to in book three.

Q: Aren't you tempted to create someone fresh?

A: Each book has lots of new characters so I do that all the time. In Damaged Goods I loved writing Barrows the paedophile and in Place of Safety I had great fun with Caz, a homeless teenager - she has some great lines.

Q : There's a lot of humour in your work. How hard do you find it to slot it in amongst the dark stuff?

A: Not hard at all. I'm a working class northerner - we laugh at everything, especially ourselves.