Introducing Germaine Johnson, star of The Helpline by SJV
2018/07/20  |  By:   |  Features  |  

I am extremely excited to introduce you all to Germaine Johnson, star of a brand new #DigitalOriginals acquisition The Helpline, publishing in June 2019 in eBook first, that you’re going to LOVE . Trust me.

Witty, big-hearted and hugely enjoyable, The Helpline is what you might get if you crossed The Rosie Project with The Office.  If you have ever wrestled with the world of office politics, this charming debut novel is for you.   Germaine is a perfect oddball heroine, and debut novelist Katherine Collette has created a wonderful cast of supporting characters, from Ralph in Health and Safety to Jin-Jin, Germaine’s mischievous neighbour.

Germaine may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after ‘the incident’ at Wallace Insurance (and the subsequent disputed allegations), there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians. Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.

It’s not the resumé entry Germaine wanted – but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the community centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Which is run by the strangely attractive Don Thomas.

Don and the mayor want the seniors closed down. Germaine wants what Don and the mayor want. But when she’s forced to get to know the ‘troublemakers’- things get more complicated.


Here’s  a word from Germaine herself:

When @TeamBATC said, ‘Can you write a newsletter?’, my first response was, ‘You write a newsletter. I’m too busy.’ But that lot are hopeless, so here it is.
I can’t even tell you what The Helpline is about because I never bothered reading it. I only read non-fiction, and even then it’s mostly journal articles. Definitely not romance or erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve never read any of those, not even the third one, which is arguably the best.
What I will say is, it’s ‘a work of comic genius’. That’s what a lot of people said about The Rosie Project but it’s equally applicable. Maybe even more so. 
Without telling you what happens, let’s just say sometimes what seems like the worst thing ever turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Like if my mum Sharon fell over in the supermarket, broke both her legs, got fifty thousand dollars and she gave it to me, then I could get a fountain pen, a solar powered calculator and maybe some sudoku coaching.
Wish I could spend my time sitting around reading books but some of us have to work, you know. 
Germaine Johnson
Senior mathematician & star of The Helpline
About the author

colletteKatherine 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.