Joining me today is historical and fantasy romance author Helen Henderson. Helen has authored several local histories, and numerous articles on American and military history, but her first love is fiction. The descendant of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, her writing reflects the contrasts of her heritage. Helen's stories cross genres from historical westerns to science fiction and fantasy, including the Dragshi Chronicles and The Windmaster novels.
Author Helen Henderson
S: Good morning, Helen!
How many books do you write a year?
H: If life doesn’t interfere and setting aside time for blog posts, writing challenges, interviews, and other promotional writing, I write one book a year.
S: Which book is your favorite thus far?
H: At this point in time, I’ll risk the displeasure (and fire) of the dragons and choose my debut novel, “Windmaster,” as my favorite. Published by BWL Publishing, "Windmaster" became the first book of a series.
S: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
H: I am proud of my three local histories, including “From the Back Street To Main Street… And Beyond,” which chronicles the Society of Methodists of Middletown Point from its early beginnings, with circuit rider preachers to the current congregation of the 21st century. I am also proud of “Hearth and Sand: Stories from the Front Lines and the Homefront,” a multi-genre collection of poetry, short stories, and novellas. It was written in tribute to family members who wore the uniform to defend their country. However, my greatest achievement is my marriage of 45 plus years.
S: Wow, that's an amazing accomplishment!
What/who inspires you?
H: Whether it was the stand-alone dark fantasy "Imprisoned in Stone," or one of the novels in the two romance fantasy series, the Dragshi Chronicles or the Windmaster novels, each of the tales was captured while Celtic music played in the background. No single song provided inspiration, although I admit that I wore out my tape of "Ireland's Call," as performed by Celtic Thunder. However, I am consistently inspired by the piano solo played at the end of each episode of "The Incredible Hulk." The haunting tones of the "Lonely Man Theme" have applied to a character, a fantasy setting, and even a scene of leave-taking on the eve of battle.
S: (Nods.) That is an incredibly moving song.
Do you ever have a problem ending a book?
H: Usually by the time a story is a handful of chapters in, the characters know what happened to them and have taken over the narration. I am merely the scribe recording. So theoretically, there shouldn’t be a problem with an ending. Until a character or characters don’t want to cooperate. In “Windmaster Legend,” Iol and Pelra refused to tell me what actually happened after their leap of faith. “That it would be too anticlimactic.” Without their guidance, I had to decide how to end the book. I presented the options and left it up to the reader to choose between the legend or one of the real-world possibilities.
Something similar happened with “Windmaster Golem” (coming autumn 2020). Three-quarters through the story, the metalsmith Brodie and the mage Kiansel forced me to bring all the characters to the hidden city for the final battle. Kia insisted that I had to come up with the resolution to Brodie’s refusal to accept her love. When pen and paper finally captured the ending, it was satisfying, but I will say the book definitely refused to cooperate!
S: (Smiles.) That's what happens when your character take over!
How do you want to be remembered?
H: I have to admit that I am at an age where you wonder about your legacy. As a historian, I know that often the tombstone is the only thing that society knows about a person. So, what will go on the tombstone? Name and dates don’t capture the imagination of the viewer when they walk through a cemetery. I prefer the old-fashioned sandstone, with epitaphs rather than the new-fangled marker with a video embedded in it, so my tombstone would read:
"Here lies an author, storyteller, and historian.
She captured the past for the future and cared for all."
Although I am no longer as active in the field, history is still part of my past and is embedded in my fantasy worlds to make them realistic. I want to be remembered as a storyteller because at some time, we all need to escape our everyday lives and a good tale will take us to another time and place. The last phrase has nothing to do with my career, although I like to think I’ve given a hand up to people rather than trampling them, but rather with me as a person and my hope that the scales of life tilt in favor of a loving, caring, decent human being.
S: Tell me about your book, "Windmaster."
H: It is the first book in a three-book series. Here's the blurb--
Revenge set Ellspeth, captain of Sea Falcon, on the path to her destiny, but prophecy controlled the journey. Despite his insolent attitude, she is attracted to the dark-haired dockworker she hires to help unload the vessel's cargo. But the supposed dockhand is Lord Dal, the last member of the Council of Wizards, and her passenger. Bringing him back from near-death releases Ellspeth's latent powers and threatens her captaincy. For to have magic she must give up the sea. Dal and magic have another risk associated with them, a cult determined to rid the world of magic and all who wield it. Trapped within the Oracle's Temple, Ellspeth must choose between her own survival, saving the future of magic... or love.
S: That sounds intriguing.
Where can readers buy your book?
H: It is available in print or ebook on Amazon. Here's the link--
S: Helen, thanks so much for joining me today! If you'd like to learn more about Helen and her books, please visit--
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001HPM2XK