A word from Germaine Johnson, star of The Helpline by SJV
When I wrote on my resume I was first aid trained, I didn’t think they’d believe me. But next thing you know, my boss had me in a ‘refresher course’. I would have gotten out of it—I faint at the sight of blood—but it paid an extra $1.50 a fortnight, so. Plus you get a hard hat and you’re privy to the inner workings of the fire drill. It was an offer too good to refuse.
At my first safety committee meeting, they announced the first aid kits were being modified. No more free plasters. Seems some individuals were stockpiling them. Not to name names but the name Eva Peterson was mentioned several times.
When I told Eva what was happening I was careful to repeat the committee’s official position: ‘It’s because we don’t want anyone administering their own treatment.’
Eva screwed her nose up. ‘Not even for a paper cut?’
‘It’s a paperless office, Eva*.’
Fingers crossed no one has a heart attack. I don’t want to breathe air into the mouth of some stranger. It would be just my luck to get a cold sore and that would contravene the number one rule of first aid, to protect yourself from danger.
Look both ways before crossing the road,
Senior mathematician & star of The Helpline
*Technically there is some paper in the printer, the fax machine and people do use note pads for writing on but we have removed the bins.
Witty, big-hearted and hugely enjoyable, The Helpline is what you might get if you crossed The Rosie Project with Parks and Recreation. If you have ever wrestled with the world of office politics, this charming debut novel is for you.
Office life can be a minefield …
Germaine Johnson likes suduko, biscuits, maths and Chinese food. She’s less sure about the complexities of social interaction and her tendency to just say what she thinks often lands her in hot water. Unfortunately, after ‘the incident’ at Wallace Insurance, she finds herself unemployed.
When her cousin suggests a job at the local council, manning the Senior Citizens Helpline, Germaine really doesn’t have any other option than to say yes. It’s still social interaction, but at a safe distance. However, it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project to stop ‘the troublemakers’ at the senior citizens centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Germaine believes she is the no-nonsense woman for the job – until when she’s forced to get to know the troublemakers and things get more complicated.
About the author
Katherine Collette is a writer and environmental engineer who works exclusively on sewerage systems. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children. She was inspired to write her debut novel, The Helpline, after meeting the despotic president of a senior citizens centre. This obnoxious 85-year-old was furious at a Chinese group for playing mah-jong in the bingo room and threw out a cake plate belonging to the Miniature Train Society because she was angry with them. The council, feeling she had to go, arranged a sort of coup and had her replaced. Katherine loved that the same things that play out on the world stage—power, ambition, politics—were playing out at this level.