Mercedes & the written word

Mercedes Helnwein has been writing since she was ten-years-old. Before that she worked mainly in the field of comic books. One of her earliest attempts at combining drawings with writing was at the age of seven — the outcome was a comic entitled “Luff is Tuff” which explored the complexities of modern-day romance. 

Her worked switched from comic book form to the classic short-story style when an English teacher required a three-page fictional work as homework. Although it took her many days to complete the rather simple story of “The Girl”, Mercedes soon found in this new style, an empowering, God-like rush. She followed “The Girl” with such notable works as “The Fat Lady Who Could Not Get Out Of DIsney World Anymore” and “The Celery Stick who Became President”. Her theory at the time was that it’s all about the title — content is secondary.

At age thirteen she published her first comic in the German woman’s lib magazine EMMA. It was entitled “Men Fight Back” and suggested a world where everything was reversed and men finally have the guts to stand up for themselves.

Three years later she wrote an extremely complex and slightly corny Victorian novel. It consists of twenty-seven chapters, written the old fashioned way — with a mechanical pencil into a total of five composition books. At eighteen she had completed her second novel, “The Midnight Thinker”, which was the story of a fifteen-year-old insomniac at a boarding school in England (in the 1960s). The problem was that every time she would finish a re-write of the book, her style of writing had changed so dramatically that re-reading the beginning made her nauseous. After re-writing 420 pages about eight times, she finally put this project in a drawer.

She moved her subject matter from vintage England to modern-day U.S., and suddenly a world opened up to her that to this day remains her biggest inspiration, both in her writing and her fine art. What followed was a series of short stories entitled “Going Down Slow — Stories Of The Way It Is.” These were published monthly in the notorious, Ohio-based paper Tastes Like Chicken. Through this period she finally became comfortable in her own skin as a writer. Her style had gone through puberty and somehow survived.

In 2008 her debut novel THE POTENTIAL HAZARDS OF HESTER DAY was published by Simon & Schuster, NY.

She is currently working on a new novel.