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Helena Fox Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

How It Feels to Float (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Helena Fox is an Australian literary fiction author best known for her debut novel How It Feels to Float. Helena and her endlessly kind and creative family reside in Wollongong, a beautiful Australian seaside city. However, she went to Warren Wilson College in the United States for her masters in creative writing though she now runs writing workshops and mentorships from Australia. She has lived and traveled across the globe though she has asserted that her biggest joy has been finding and mentoring young people to express their creative voice. Even though she writes only in English, she was born in Lima, Peru and her first language growing up was Spanish. She learned English when she started school as her parents took her to English schools in Samoa, Australia, Peru, Great Britain, and Spain among others. The family would eventually settle in Australia when she was eleven but the wanderlust never died which meant quite the chaotic life as Helena would go on to attend seven different schools. Since she was always new, she had quite a rough time until she went to senior college in Canberra where she started thriving. In college, she enrolled for a degree in law and graduated as a lawyer before he realized that she hated the law. She then moved to the US to try her hand at a career in authorship. Seven years after moving to the US, she came back to Australia with a husband and son and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has said that one of the most significant experiences in her life was moving to the United States at age twenty-four. It was one of the finest, yet scariest and biggest decisions of her life

Fox is not one of those people that always wanted to be a writer as she dreamed of a career in many different fields in her childhood and young adulthood. As a twelve-year-old, she wanted to be a trainer of guide dogs at one time because she loved dogs and thought them sweet before she thought being an English teacher was cooler. As an eighteen-year-old, she had a desire to write but was not sure if she could do it professionally. Since she was unsure about writing as a career, she decided to study law which was a bad even if utilitarian decision. When she was thirty, she had decided that there was nothing she wanted more than to be a professional author and writing mentor, which she achieved with the success of her debut novel “How It Feels to Float” published in 2019. Among her literary influences include novels, film, and art. As a nine-year-old, she was inspired by Richard Adams’ Watership Down and loved the danger and magic inside the story. Gregory Alan Isakov’s The Universe that told the story of the Universe as a woman was one of her favorites. She has also nee influenced by movies such as “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” “My Life As A Dog,” “The Piano,” and “Amelie.” Helena is for the most part influence by art that has changed her perspective on life.

Starting out, she chose to write as a novelist even though she had been a short story author for many years. While she was writing the classic love story, she still found the form challenging. Still, it was not her first try at writing a novel as she had practiced before but had never produced anything until “How It Feels to Float” her debut novel. Helen got inspired to write her debut novel because she felt the lead protagonist come to her and insist that she tell her story. Moreover, Fox has lived with mental health issues ever since she was a child but over the years she managed to learn to deal with such issues. With her debut novel “How It Feels to Float,” she was exploring the different ways through which trauma and grief can impact the psychological health of a person. She wrote her lead protagonist as a girl whose father was deceased when she was seven. He had been visiting her ever since he died but suddenly at age sixteen, he had stopped and she had to deal with the pain of losing him again. It is thus a story of things that may be bent and broken, about how care, love, and community can play a critical role in bringing one back to life. Helena wrote the novel after going through some very hard times. She had been through some incredibly dark spaces, lost people she loved, and got back hope from the care and encouragement of wonderful counselors and friends and family. She thought she needed to share the floating, the fracturing, and the near return to normalcy she had experienced. While her novel is not exactly like that of her protagonist some of what happened in her life is in the story.

“How It Feels to Float” the debut novel by Helena Fox is a deeply hopeful and gorgeous portrayal of how to live with mental illness. The lead is Biz, a woman who knows how to float but for the most part depends on her mom, her posse, her people, and the twins. As a child, she had loved her dad and still does and likes listening to his stories of how she was as a kid. But Biz is a secretive person that has dark runaway thoughts such as noticing Jasper and about kissing the new girl Grace. She also keeps information regarding her dad to herself since he died when she was but a seven-year-old child. She knows how to float but then something happens on the beach and her anchor comes undone leaving her floating and without focus. It might be sweeter, better, and easier to float away or so he thinks. It is a novel about grief, and love and about the chasm that often develops between people with intergenerational psychological issues and their loved ones. It is also an exploration of the beautiful and hard places that one can go when dealing with loss and the love that drives loved ones to hold on to their family or friends when they are about to lose it.

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