‘He sensed Fliss arrive before he heard her. She had a scent he’d come to recognise, like the sun on peach blossom…Her bright gaze met him, and the wrinkle deepened on her forehead. ‘Is everything all right?'

The central character in Saltaire-based author Helena Fairfax’s latest novel, Felicity Everdene, needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel in the village of Emmside, past the picturesque lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers that that is far from the case.

The idea for the feel-good romance came to Helena, who has penned several novels, after watching the TV show The Hotel Inspector. As a student, she worked in a hotel at an isolated spot in the Bavarian Alps and the show ignited her imagination.

“I love seeing how Alex Polizzi breathes new life into the hotels she visits, and how she motivates the staff, some of whom are very set in their ways,” she says. “I thought of the amazing variety of people you can meet in a hotel - the chambermaids, the chef, the owner, as well as the many visitors who come to stay. I thought of my own experience and realised that a hotel in the mountains would be a great setting for a novel. My imagination got to work on the rest.”

She decided to set her novel in the Lake District. “Living in Saltaire, I'm lucky to be near two of the most romantic places in England - the Yorkshire moors and the Lake District. The Lakes make the perfect setting for the romance at the heart of my book - a quaint old hotel high in the mountains, looking down on a beautiful lake - what better place for a love story?”

Besides romance, there is a tragedy at the core of the tale. Patrick Cross left Emmside years previously, intending never to return, but having been left the hotel in his father’s will, he is forced to come back. Intrigued by him, Fliss later discovers that he is haunted by an event from his past.

“Anyone who knows the Lake District knows just how changeable the landscape is. In a moment the view can alter - one moment there are the glorious lakes gleaming in the sunshine, the next great black clouds and driving rain. This changeability is reflected in my book, which covers both love and loss,” says Helena.

The fictional name of Emmswater is based on Ullswater in the Northern Lakes.”

In researching the plot Helena met divers from Penrith Divers' club. “I'm very grateful - I couldn't have written the story without them,” she says. “I learned a great deal, but one of the major things was what a diver would need to do if something happened to one of his colleagues underwater.

“Decompression sickness, or the bends, can be fatal. While I was researching for Felicity at the Cross Hotel, one of my author friends died while diving in a lake in Kent. Her death brought it home to me just how dangerous diving can be, and how everything can change in an instant.”

Helen did not dive in the Lake District, but has dived in the Caribbean.

“The divers told me that the water in Ullswater is tinged with green, and that this is unique in the Lake District. I loved the idea of diving down into a green world, like an underground emerald city, and the beauty of the lake being mingled with the danger.”

Helena loves creating characters. “It's one of the processes of writing that I love the most. It's an amazing experience to have an imaginary person become ‘real’ as you write their story, and to watch them come alive on the page.

“I don't often base characters on people I know. If it's a real person, I find their lives intrude too much on my imaginary world. I often watch films or read books and find a character I love who I don't want to leave, so I turn them into a different story. I based my heroine, Felicity, on Geet, the heroine of a Bollywood film called Jab We Met. Geet is charming, optimistic and full of life.”

Helena, who is also a freelance editor, loves creating characters and bringing them to life. “I also love it when those characters come alive for my readers. There's nothing better than immersing yourself in a wonderful story.

“To be a writer and to write stories that could transport people to a new world was my childhood dream and it makes me immensely happy when people me how much they've enjoyed my books.”

Helena writes in the morning, after a long moorland walk with her dog. “The walk provides great thinking time for dreaming up plots and characters. I have a Facebook page and an Instagram account, and I post photos from our walks on social media.”

She has two more pieces of work in the pipeline. One is a non-fiction book about the lives of women in Halifax, from 1800 to 1950. It is due out at the end of next year to coincide with the centenary of the women getting the vote.

“Researching for the book has been an eye-opener, in many ways. Like Bradford, Halifax expanded with the textile industry, and has a fascinating history. I very much enjoyed the recent heritage weekend in Halifax, and it was wonderful to see the refurbishment of the stunning Piece Hall.”

Her second project is an anthology which she is putting together with several Yorkshire and Lancashire author friends from the Romantic Novelists' Association.

“ A group of us meet regularly in Hebden Bridge, and we thought how brilliant it would be to have a collection of stories set in the same fictional shop in the town. Miss Moonshine's Shop of Magical Things is our working title, and we are all busy writing away. We hope it will be a great celebration of northern writing.”

*Felicity at the Cross Hotel is available from Amazon priced £7.99