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The Bookish Life of Heleen Kist

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Who are you, how do you know Claire and why does she think you’re cool?*

Claire and I were both chosen as “up and coming new authors” and awarded a Spotlight at Bloody Scotland, me for my debut novel “In Servitude”. I’ve since published “Stay Mad, Sweetheart” and most recently “What I Hid From You” which is getting great reviews.

Claire and I live near each other and have frequent walks in which we right the wrongs of the publishing and movie industries - and if we can’t do it in person, we’re doing it on twitter where I am @hkist

What was the first book you remember? (Either reading or being read to you)

The first books read to me will have been bij Dick Bruna, a much loved Dutch children’s author and creator of Nijntje - the rabbit you call Miffy in English. My favourite of his is “The King” which I know by heart as I read it to my children also.

Later, my mother kept wanting me to read a book that she’d loved when young loosely translated as “Crusade in Jeans” which made me shudder at the thought of reading about religion and my mother’s idea of fashion ;-)

The first book I remember being truly mesmerised by was Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris.

(I should probably explain I went to a French school and I am Dutch)

What are you reading right now?

I’ve put down what I was reading (and hence won’t name it) because the newest Helen Fields - The Last Girl to Die - has just popped into my letterbox and I’m a firm fan of her as an author and a person.

Plan a dinner party with six fictional guests

I’d have to have Suki Aksorpan who features in Stay Mad, Sweetheart because she is an absolute hoot.

I have a bit of a crush on Ben Bracken, the protagonist in the brilliant thrillers by Rob Parker.

Tilly, the no-nonsense analyst from MC Craven’s Washington Poe series, with whom I could talk all things tech.

Ellie from Claire Duffy’s Stockhom murders because she’s been through A LOT and will have receipts

Candide from Voltaire, if he wasn’t too shocked by modern life, because I marvel at such optimism

Charlotte from the Hive by Scarlett Brade – before sh*t hits the fan – to learn how to Instagram better

If you had to live in the world of one book (or series), which would it be?

I read a lot of crime and would want to avoid all of that, thank you very much.

I think Armistead Maupin’s San Francisco from Tales of the City would never be boring!

You can read/reread three books for the rest of your life. What’s going on the list?

I’ve never re-read a book and given the huge amount of choice there is, and the size of the pile that’s waiting for me, I wouldn’t start now. If I had one book for the rest of days I’d probably choose poetry by Rimbaud or Baudelaire because it’s beautiful but also takes an absolute age to fully understand.

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