Book Of The Month – A Thousand Rooms – by Helen Jones @AuthorHelenJ

A very warm welcome to Helen Jones whose book, A Thousand Rooms, is this month’s book of the month.

Over to you, Helen…

Well, I must say I’m completely thrilled to have been invited over to Hugh’s blog. It’s lovely to be he– what’s that, Hugh? 

Right, of course. I’m here to talk about my latest release, A Thousand Rooms, which Hugh has very kindly chosen as his ‘Book Recommendation of the Month.’

What’s the name of the book?

A Thousand Rooms.

Helen Jones's latest book - A Thousand Rooms
The latest book from Helen Jones – A Thousand Rooms

Tell us a little about the story and the characters.

It’s centred around the main protagonist, Katie. She’s thirty-two, single, and used to work in advertising. She’s also dead. Hit by a car while texting, now left to wander the streets of Sydney alone, a lost soul. No angels appear, no long-lost loved ones – everything is just how it always was, except she’s dead. She attends her own funeral, sees her family and friends trying to move on without her, all the while stuck in a sort of limbo. But Katie, despite a slight potty mouth and a weakness for nice shoes, has a questioning mind and won’t give up, finally deciding she needs to follow the dying, trying to ‘hitch a lift’ to the other side. And that’s when everything changes…

What inspired you to write it? 

The story was inspired by an incident I witnessed many years ago while living in Sydney. I used to walk to work and, one day, came around a curve in the road to see a woman lying on the pavement covered by a blanket, two police officers crouched next to her, the bus that had hit her pulled up to the kerb further along. The area wasn’t yet cordoned off and, as I walked past, I saw one of the dead woman’s arms sticking out from under the blanket. She was wearing a silver charm bracelet and I remember thinking that she’d got up that morning and chosen that bracelet along with everything else she was wearing, not imagining she’d be dead before lunchtime. 

I kept walking – there was nothing I could do to help and I needed to get to work. I made it through the day but that evening, when my now-husband and I were driving somewhere, I made him stop the car, opened the door and threw up. Even now, the memory of that day is pretty powerful. It became the seed for A Thousand Rooms, as I considered the idea of sudden, unexpected death and how things might work out on the other side. The story is also a tribute to the many years I spent living in Australia, as well as an exploration of my own research into the journey of the spirit. 

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote most of A Thousand Rooms during the first and only time I attempted the full NaNoWriMo. I did hit the 50k target, words just flowing from me, but then put it away for several months, unable to bear looking at it anymore. But the idea pulled at me until finally I opened the file and read through. Happily, the story still stood up and I realised I needed to finish it. 25,000 words, several draft edits, beta reads and one professional edit later, I was ready to publish.

How long have you been writing?

I write every day, even if it’s just a few scribbled notes. I’ve been a writer for over a decade, but have only been writing my own stories seriously since January 2013, which is when I sat down and started writing about Ambeth.  Before that, all I had were lots and lots of notes, and a vague plan to turn them into a book ‘someday.’

Where do your ideas for your stories come from?

Once I started writing for myself it was as though I’d turned on a tap, and it’s still the most wonderful thing. So, even on days when I don’t have time to sit at the computer, I carry a notebook with me for those moments when inspiration strikes. I’m going to be writing as long as I’m able, as I love to tell stories.

What do you think the future hold for you and your books and what plans do have for future books? 

I have three more Ambeth books to complete, plus, possibly, a linked volume of short stories. I’m also working on a vampire novel, Silver and Black, and have a couple of other ideas in the pipeline, so expect to see a few more titles from me in the coming years.

Thanks for having me over to visit, Hugh, and for choosing A Thousand Rooms as your book recommendation of the month. It’s been lovely to be here, and if any of you lovely readers would like to check out A Thousand Rooms for yourself, it’s available on amazon as an e-book and paperback.

Links for buying the book.

Amazon UK               Amazon.Com

Connect with Helen at the following sites.

Twitter: @AuthorHelenJ

Amazon Author Page:





Author Bio:

Author. Writer and Blogger: Helen Jones
Author, Writer and Blogger: Helen Jones

Helen Jones was born in the UK, then spent many years living in Canada and Australia before returning to England several years ago. She has worked as a freelance writer for the past ten years, runs her own blog and has contributed guest posts to others, including the Bloomsbury Writers & Artists site. When she’s not exploring fantasy worlds she likes to walk, paint and study martial arts. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and daughter and spends her days writing, thinking, cleaning and counting cats on the way to school.

Do you have any questions for Helen? Please leave them in the comments section and she’ll get back to you.

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  1. Awesome to see you featured here Helen, and I had no idea that’s where the story came from. I can’t imagine. I am not surprised you had the reaction you did. I wouldn’t have coped for as long as you did. It’s a wonder to me how medical professional are so strong.

    1. Thanks, Sacha. Yes, I’m always in awe of medical personnel and police – the things they must see on a daily basis. I don’t know how they do it. I think I was just so shocked by the whole thing I compartmentalised it, as I had a busy day ahead at work. Then later it all came out again and, as you can see, stayed with me and became the starting point for this story.

    1. Thank you. It was an interesting concept to explore and, in the end, was a story I really wanted to tell. I know it’s a subject that can be confronting, so I tried to explore it in the most realistic and positive way I could 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂 And a happy new year to you. I know what you mean – I’m just the same whenever I read a book interview. I have a TBR pile taller than I am (and I’m tall!)

        1. Eek indeed! But how wonderful at the same time. I would be just like you, bringing home books every shift – there are just so many wonderful stories to read in the world 🙂

        1. Yeah I just couldn’t remember if you were at the Christmas party and the Hugh interview but yeah it will be the same kinda idea with you talking about your ten fave songs and your writing and my random questions – if you are brave enough lol

        2. I accept your challenge 🙂 Seriously though, I think it will be great fun – like I say, already making a list of songs. Just let me know when xx

  2. Happy New Year to you Hugh and Helen!
    I love the concept of this book. I often wonder what happens to those people that die suddenly when thy get to ‘the other side.’ It sounds very intriguing.
    It must have been a terrible shock for you, Helen, seeing that poor woman lying dead in the road. Now wonder it had such a profound effect on you.

    1. Happy New Year, Judy! Thanks so much for your comment – it was a lovely book to write in a lot of ways, despite the initial subject matter. It was a shock, definitely – I don’t think it really hit me until later and, as you can see, the incident stayed with me for a long time.

    1. Hi Sue. This is more of an interview with the book’s author, Helen, rather than a review. I wanted to give Helen a chance to tell us all about the book by answering some of my questions. It’s on my TBR read, though. 😀
      Happy New Year to you.

  3. Happy New Year, Helen and Hugh! I beta read this book, and it’s a great read. Helen is such a talented writer. And it certainly gives you pause for thought. Wishing you both success and happiness in 2017!

  4. Sounds like a book I would be interested in reading. Don’t read the fantasy books but I love this kind of story. Thanks for sharing the information on it. I think I might have a similar reaction to seeing someone after being hit by a bus. Wishing Helen continued success.

  5. Nice to start out the New Year with an inspirational post! The subject sounds very intriguing, Helen, it obviously had a deep impact on you! Nice to see you back to your bloggy self, Hugh! Happy New Year to you both!

    1. Hi Terri – thanks so much for your comment. You’re right, the incident that sparked this book did have quite an impact on me – in some ways it feels quite strange to have written a story based on something so sad. However, the idea just poured from me once i started writing, so it obviously wanted to be heard.

      Wishing you a happy new year too! 🙂

    1. Hi Robbie. Helen did all the work in this post by answering all my questions, so full credit to her. 😀 I’ve not read the book yet, but it’s on my TBR list.
      I’ll be back to full time blogging from tomorrow as, officially, I’m still on my Christmas and New Year blogging break. 😀

  6. Sounds fascinating, Helen. Will check it out. Oh my groaning TBR list keeps complaining as I stuff mire books on it! Happy New Year to you both! Best wishes for lots of success with your books, both of you! Glimpses is on my TBR list for this month’s read. Blessings & hugs! ❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Janice – I know what you mean about the TBR list! Mine is also groaning and still I add more books to it 🙂

      Wishing you a very happy and successful new year as well – here’s to a wonderful 2017! xx

  7. This sounds terrific, great interview with Helen. Hugh. Sad that this novel came into being through witnessing such a tragic accident. But often the best writing is provoked by such harrowing incidents. Happy New Year to you both, and much success in 2017.

    1. Thanks, Marjorie 🙂 It was an awful thing to see and it has stayed with me, definitely. It feels a little strange at times to have written a book based on someone else’s tragedy – however, that’s how the story came to me and, in one way, it feels as though I’m honouring that unknown woman’s memory and the brief moment where our lives intersected.

      Wishing you a very happy new year too – hope to see you at the Bash again in June! 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Journey To Ambeth and commented:
    It’s the first day of the new year and what better way to start than as a featured guest over at Hugh’s Views and News! Hugh has chosen my book, A Thousand Rooms, as his book of the month (yay!), and so I dropped by to talk a little more about the story. Thanks for having me, Hugh!
    And, as a reminder, if you like short stories with bite, check out Hugh’s new release, Glimpses. He’s even running a giveaway for an Amazon £100 Gift Card! Visit his site for more details…

    1. Thanks, Chris. Your comment ended up in my WordPress spam folder. I’m not sure why but hope any other comments you are leaving are not ending up in any spam folders. It’s been an ongoing problem for many bloggers; even affected me. Getting it sorted out with WordPress took a bit of time, so I’d recommend you keep an eye out and check that your comments do appear rather than disappear into the spam folders of other bloggers.
      Happy New Year.

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