Spotlight & Interview: The Clipped Wings Series by Helena Hunting + Experts

Hello readers! I am so excited to be sharing my very first interview and it’s with the fabulous Helena Hunting. I am a HUGE fan of the Clipped Wings series so I am thrilled that I got the chance. This is a pretty full post so I hope you enjoy all the information, interview, and excerpts. Look for a giveaway towards the end.



Clipped Wings

Clipped WingsTheir body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.

From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.

Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.

But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts…

Inked Armor

Inked Armor is the sequel to Clipped Wings. 

In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

With Helena Hunting

The Clipped Wings series is an angst filled with complicated characters, do Hayden and Tenley stem from anyone you know or personal experiences?

Helena: I’m sure we all know or know of people who have experienced varying degrees of trauma. The magnitude of Tenley’s loss and the violence of Hayden’s are so extreme. I have a friend who lost several of her very close friends in a car accident in high school. That level of loss is just so painful and it stays with a person for life. I don’t know that people ever “get over” the trauma and much as they learn to live with it.

I was floored when I learned that Clipped Wings was your debut novel. It's an amazing piece of work. What inspired you to write such an in-depth story?

Helena: I wanted to write a story based on the body modification subculture and I hoped to challenge some of the stereotypes associated with it. Beyond that, there were events in the media which stuck with me and became the impetus for Tenley and Hayden’s backgrounds. There was a wedding in which the groom and his groomsmen were traveling to the church in a limo. The vehicle was hit by a tractor trailer which jackknifed and everyone was killed, leaving a devastated bride at the altar. That level of trauma would leave such deep scars and I felt that tattooing and the memorialization of tragedy was an excellent vehicle through which to explore the healing process of such tragedy. I also wanted to explore mental health issues and how survivors could overcome guilt, and move on with their lives. 

Tattoos and piercings are prevalent in the Clipped Wings series. Did you create any sketches of the tattoos talked about in the books? (Because that would be amazing to see).

Helena: Sadly, I can’t draw, unless you include stick figures. However I have an entire file folder of images that remind me of the tattoos in Clipped Wings and Inked Armor.


This last one reminds me of the red angel painting for obvious reasons. 
Do you have a favorite quote(s) from Clipped Wings and/or Inked Armor? If so, what is it/are they?


CW: “Everyone has scars, Tenley. If we’re lucky, they’re only on the outside.”

CW: “Oh right, because I’m the only who likes pussy flavored icing.”

IA “...we were marked by one another. It went far beyond ink on skin. It went right down to the soul. In this life, for as long as we had, we would be each other’s armor.” 

What was the hardest scene in the Clipped Wings series for you to write?

Helena: Tenley’s breakdown in CW because she was in such a fragile state and Hayden finding out that way was so difficult for him to manage.

In Inked Armor, it would be Hayden’s spiral down after finding out what happened to his parents. It was challenging because he’d been holding onto that part of his past for so long, when he finally had the ability to release it, it brought up even more painful questions. 

I know that Cracks in the Armor (Clipped Wings #2.5 is up next). Do you have any more planned after that? (Please say yes!)

Helena: I hope so! I have two other manuscripts I’d like to work on and plans for another novel, so we’ll see where things go from here! 

About Helena

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing, but I don’t think I ever seriously considered it as a career option until I posted Clipped Wings. 

Do you have any tattoos or piercings of your own?

I have a few of both. I’d like to get a much bigger tattoo on my back, but the artist I like is in the UK, and that’s a bit of hike from Canada. 

Do you keep a writing schedule or do you write when inspired?

I write whenever I have time. If I have a full day to write then I will spend 6-8 hours putting words on the page or editing. Sometimes I have to shut down social media platforms so I don’t get distracted, though. 

Who are some of your go-to authors to read?

For Contemporary I go to Alice Clayton, Tara Sue Me, Emma Chase, Katy Evans, Christina Lauren, Sylvain Reynard, EL James, Debra Anastasia, Mina Vaughn and I’ve recently picked up Monica Murphy and Leisa Rayven is coming soon, so watch out for her! For paranormal I love Larissa Ione, JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. 

What's next after this series?

Hopefully more books! I have a couple of manuscripts I’m working on editing and I have a new one I’m about to get started on, so we’ll see where things go! 

Just for fun - Rapid Fire Style

1. Favorite book boyfriend?

Too many to limit to one!

2. Last book read?


3. Favorite TV show?


4. Favorite song?

Pictures of You by The Cure

5. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Lime Sorbet

6. Sweet of Savory?


7. Three things you can't go without?

Lip balm, pens, my laptop.

8. Go to snacks when writing?

Super buttery popcorn and diet Pepsi

9. Favorite drink?

Red wine

10. Five words that describe YOU?

Snuggly, silly, quirky, nerdy, inquisitive.



Tenley backed up and hit the lower cabinets, her cocky grin fading. I was sure I looked seriously pissed. She tried to scoot to the side, but I mirrored the movement, blocking her in. The kitten scampered over to the empty coffee cup beside the sink.

Tenley glanced at her from the corner of her eye before refocusing on me. The trepidation that usually accompanied such close contact became evident in her rigid stance. I was about to back off when her entire demeanor changed. It was like a switch being flicked. Her eyes closed briefly, and when they opened again the unease was gone, replaced with a desperation I didn’t know what to make of, but wanted to do something about.

“You don’t intimidate me,” she said softly.

That was a lie, but I went with it. “I’m not trying to. I’m merely suggesting you rethink sharing that picture.”

“Or what?”

“Is it worth pushing me to find out?”

“You’re all bark, no bite,” she challenged.

I couldn’t and wouldn’t back down now. I pried the phone out of her hand and slid it across the counter, out of reach. “Is that right?”

I knew exactly where I wanted to take this. I shouldn’t have come inside. I should have handed over the kitten at the door, waited in the hall for the cupcakes, and gone home. Then I could have fixed my own damn problem and gone to bed. But I hadn’t. Instead, I was standing in Tenley’s kitchen with her sandwiched between me and the counter, spinning intricate fantasies about how I would like to proceed with the rest of the night. F*ck The Rule. F*ck everything.

Tenley tilted her head a fraction, exposing the satin expanse of her throat. It was an invitation; I couldn’t ignore it.


A few days, a week, just a little longer. Everyone told me she needed time. Her silence told me she needed time.

F*ck time.

Time went on and on. An endless cycle of sleep, wake, bear the agony, and repeat. I f*cking hated time.

Tenley had been gone for three weeks. Every day without her was sensory deprivation, drawn out and torturous from beginning to end. The first week, I called her every day. Her phone always went to voice mail. She never called back. I stopped calling because it sucked to know I’d been discarded so easily.

Memories of her were everywhere: home, work, Serendipity. I couldn’t escape. So at least I understood why she came to Chicago in the first place: to get away from the ceaseless reminders. I couldn’t figure out what had compelled her to go back, though. She could run from me all she wanted, but returning to the place she’d fled from didn’t make much sense. Unless she was looking to shackle herself to the guilt again. It was easy to deny the possibility of a future when she let the past drag her down. I knew. I’d done that for years until Tenley came along.


Helena Hunting

Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She's putting her English degree to good use by writing popular fiction. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.

Purchase your copy of Clipped Wings
Purchase your copy of Inked Armor
Connect with Helena Hunting

Novellas from the CLIPPED WINGS series

Cupcakes and Ink (Clipped Wings #0.5)

Cupcakes and Ink
Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.

Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish fa├žade.

But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.

Between the Cracks (Clipped Wings #1.5)

Tattooist Chris Zelter doesn’t always make the best decisions when it comes to the people he cares about, or the women he gets involved with. Things have changed recently, though. Chris has lost interest in casual flings as he finds himself wrapped up in Sarah Adamson, a waitress at the local strip club he frequents. It takes months of persistent attention before she finally agrees to date him, and he's determined not to mess it up.

Just as things are finally going his way, Chris receives a troubled phone call in the middle of the night from Hayden Stryker, his best friend and business partner. Unexpected revelations and the sudden departure of his girlfriend, Tenley, has nearly sent Hayden over the edge. Add in a speeding ticket and an impounded car, and Hayden is balanced on the precipice of a total meltdown. Worried about his friend, Chris sets out on a rescue road trip, first to get Hayden, and then to bring back Tenley. The two men run into unforeseen roadblocks, proving even the best intentions don’t guarantee results.

Chris and Hayden return to Chicago empty handed, and Chris is left feeling as if he’s let down all the people who matter, especially Sarah. But Chris discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to find a way to forget about it. And losing himself in Sarah is the perfect way to do just that.

Cracks in the Armor (Clipped Wings #2.5)

Chris, a sexy tattoo artist, tries to win the heart of Sarah, a grad student with little interest in him, in this second e-short and follow-up to Helena Hunting’s gripping love story, Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton).

Part owner of the Chicago tattoo shop Inked Armor, Chris Zelter is a talented artist who decorates skin with gorgeous designs. He might look the part of the typical jacked-up, inked-up bad-boy, but underneath is a fiercely loyal, complicated man. Kicked out at sixteen, Chris has had to fend for himself for the last twelve years, making his Inked Armor crew as much family as they are business partners. For him, it’s enough—until he meets Sarah Adamson.

A grad student waitressing at the local strip club, Sarah is used to propositions and crude comments. The job is a means to an end—finish her MBA, pay off the tuition loans, and get a good job. Then she won’t have to rely on anyone to take care of her. So when brawny, tatted up Chris begins hanging out at the club, she rebuffs his advances. At first. But Chris isn’t like her usual clientele: despite his hard exterior, he’s almost…sweet.

Sometimes, the people with the roughest edges have the biggest hearts.

Pre-order: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Enter to win a giveaway for SIGNED copies of Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting. Two winners!!! Winners will be contacted via email and have 24 hours to claim their prize. Ends 5/30/2014 at 12am CST. US only. Thank you for participating.

A huge thank you to Helena Hunting for letting me interview her. I’m not even going to lie, I had a total fan girl moment. :-)


Connect with About That Story