My name is Helen Tirbutt. I have lots of interests but the ones I enjoy most are walking in the country or by the sea, talking, spending time with family and close friends, going to comedy clubs, theatres and opera. I lived in London up until five years ago when I married my husband Edmund and we now live in the beautiful countryside in Kent with our fabulous lilac British Shorthair kitten called Toby Tirbutt who likes sitting in the lilac tree in our garden. We run our own copywriting business and my studio is in the garden. Edmund works up in the attic of our house which is very old and full of wooden beams and great places to hide.
What do you write about?
For business we write about anything remotely financial. Edmund was a journalist with the Mail on Sunday, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph for many years and I worked in the City. So our days are spent writing about investment subjects, insurance, pensions and any other subject that is financial. You can find out more about us and the type of work we do on our website www.crossfieldcommunications.com  We are also published authors. We wrote a book called Beat the Booze www.beatthebooze.com  which was published this year. It aims to give straightforward information to people who want to cut down or cut out their drinking and also gives practical help to those who want to help others with a drink problem of any kind. I have also written a novel based loosely on my travels in Italy but this has not been published yet and Edmund is trying to write a radio play. He used to do semi professional comedy in London so he is trying to write a comedy play for radio.
Do you write fulltime or is it connected to work or an interest of yours?
Writing is pretty much what we do 24x7 as we do it for busines and for pleasure.
Do you share your expertise / talents through talks etc?
Yes we've both done talks about writing and Edmund has won many awards for his writing so he tries to help people if they express an interest in becoming a writer.
What inspires you to write?
When I did my first creative writing course about five years ago I learnt that you are much more likely to write well about something if you feel passionately about it. That's what happened with our book Beat the Booze www.beatthebooze.com  - Edmund had had a serious drink problem over 20 years ago and felt so grateful to have been dry for twenty years that he and I wrote a book to help others with the same problem. 10% of any royalties will go to alcohol related charities. I lived in Italy for three years and this is a constant theme in my creative writing. Everything about Italy captures my imagination from the sights and sounds to the fabulous smells of strong coffee their wonderful foods and perfume and of course their fashion!
Where do you write?
I write in my garden studio and often late at night. I have tried writing in places that might inspire me more. I once sat on the beach but became hypnotised by the sea and wrote nothing. I also sat under a tree in a beautiful part of France overlooking a stream and an abbey but again nothing momentous happened I just sat there and dozed.
Do you ever get writers block?
Yes all the time but not when I write about Italy - the words flow.
What do you do when you get writers block?
I get frustrated and sometimes just give up on an idea. But my advice would be to write about things you feel passionately about and then it is easier.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I wanted to write books from being a small child and reading books was about the only thing I did until I was in my teens - I just got lost in words. Interestingly I read far less now but occassionally I will really connect with a writer and a particular book and then I will have to read the whole thing there and then.
Who is your favourite author?
It used to be DH Lawrence and Daphne Du Maurier but now I like Ian McEwan.
What is your genre/style of writing?
Beat the Booze is a very factual book but my novel is definitely women's fiction.
Where can we find your book, online website, professional website?
Beat the Booze is available at www.beatthebooze.com 
Do you think everyone can be a writer?
I think writing is much harder than people think it is but if someone tries hard enough anything is possible.
How do you feel about books which are made into movies?
I usually end up only either reading the book or seeing the movie. So long either is good I am quite relaxed about it.
Do you think writers are paid enough money for their work, are they valued?
No writers are not paid enough - people think they are but we are not!! but I think they are valued especially when we can reach out and touch a person's life for the better.
Who is your favourite columnist?
It used to be Bridget Jones as I felt she was writing about me!
What's your spice4life? (that one thing that inspires and motivates you to be) What drives your passion?
Being the best I can be and trying to give a little something back. My husband is also a main motivator - he has so much energy for life and writing that I sometimes find it difficult to keep up!
What is your personal inspirational message to the women of South Africa?
Never give up if you truly believe in something.
What are your thoughts on leadership?
Real leadership is about being passionate about something positive and good and not giving up until you have achieved what you set out to achieve.
Do you support or have any particular charity, cause or individual?
Yes we try and support alcohol charities. We have raised over £11k so far and want to raise a lot more.
What benefits do you think a network like SPICE represents?
It puts people in contact with each other who may not otherwise have contact - it also inspires and motivates by enable us to access other people's stories and things they have learnt along their own journey.
My favourite place in the world: Italy - of course and more specifically - the Amalfitan Coast.
I want to be remembered for... My work in the field of alcohol addiction and for our book Beat the Booze.
The things I love most are... My family, my husband and my darling little lilac kitten.