Guest Post: Helen Keeble on Seeing Her Book in Stores

I'd like to welcome Helen Keeble, author of Fang Girl, to the blog today to share a little story and a giveaway with us:

Who do you think you are, anyway?

It was the moment that every would-be novelist dreams of – finally, and for the first time, seeing your book on the shelves in a real store.

For me, this moment had involved considerable time and distance. I’d written the first draft of FANG GIRL in 2008, sitting on our bed in West Sussex, England; now here we were, over four years and four thousand miles away, in a Barnes & Nobles in Reston, Virginia.

Why were we in Virginia? Because my book, written by a English author about an English teenager coping with unexpected vampirism in a small seaside English town, was picked up by a publisher in the US. I can only conclude that you Americans really do love our accents.

What do you do when you’re confronted with the culmination of your dreams and ambitions? What do you say?

“Look,” I said to my two-year-old. “What’s that book there?”

“Mummy’s book,” she pronounced. Then she picked up a copy of FALLEN, by Lauren Kate, next to which FANG GIRL happened to be shelved. “Also Mummy’s book!”

“Uh… no, darling,” I said, wistfully eyeing the New York Times Bestseller!! emblazoned on the cover. “Believe me, Mummy wishes that was her book.”

“Oh.” She frowned, then beamed. “Daddy’s book!” And, that established, she wandered off to look at the far more interesting train set.

After we’d admired the Shelf Of Glory for a few minutes, and my husband had taken a few photos of me and my book (while slightly confused shoppers gave us suspicious glances in the background), I was at a loss. “Well… I guess we should go?” I said to my husband.

“Wait,” he said, the gleam of an idea sparking in his eyes. “Go ask the store manager if you could sign the copies.”

You must remember, I am English. We are, by nature, a reserved people. “Go ask the store manager” might as well have been “Just go trot up Everest”. There is, however, one thing that can overcome an Englishman’s innate sense of crippling social embarrassment, and that is the prospect of Saving Money. Visions of being able to write off our flights as a tax-deductable writing-related expense dancing in his head, my husband firmly propelled me toward Customer Services.

I waited in line, three copies of FANG GIRL clutched between my sweating palms. Just as I stepped up to the desk, three things occurred to me:

1) The front cover of the book says FANG GIRL, by Helen Keeble
2) Helen Keeble is not my legal name (it’s my maiden name, as I was writing before I married)
3) I had absolutely nothing on my person that could identify my as Helen Keeble

“Can I help you?” asked the nice salesperson at the desk.

Time congealed around me like cold porridge as I stared helplessly at her, my mind racing through ways that I could prove my identity. My photo isn’t on the book. I could show her my author webpage on my phone, but anyone can fake a webpage. My husband was obviously a biased witness. My two-year-old! She could vouch for me! … except that she would also identify my husband as the author of every other book in B&N, thus somewhat casting doubt on her testimony. I could get my agent on the phone! Except that she was on the other side of the country and probably sound asleep, and who would believe a random person on the phone, anyway?

“Hi I’m the author of FANG GIRL and I was wondering if I could sign the copies you have in stock?” I said, all in one breath, and then closed my eyes.

They weren’t going to believe me. They were going to think I was a random crazy person who wanted to wantonly deface books. I would be escorted out by security. I would be barred from every B&N across the country. My two-year-old would witness my shame and require countless hours of expensive therapy in her mid-thirties to get over the trauma…

“Oh, that’s so exciting! Of course you can! Thank you so much for stopping by!”

Next time, I’m going to claim to be Stephenie Meyer.
Thanks so much, Helen, for stopping by and sharing this fun story with us!

About Helen Keeble
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets. (Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Who wants a giveaway?! You can enter to win an awesome prize pack below:

The rules:
  • This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter, under 18 must have permission of parent or guardian.
  • Prize is sponsored and shipped by author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Ok, that was such a funny story! I had to come here and say that Fang Girl just snatched a Top 5 spot on my TBR list.
    Helen, I have a feeling I'm gonna like you <3


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