Good Morning and Happy last day of May. Yesterday was my birthday! It was the 34th anniversary of my 29th birthday. Growing up I always thought the Memorial Day parades were in my honor. 'Twas a fantasy you see. And I do love my fantasy books. That said, it's a pleasure to welcome a new-to-me author to my blog. I love getting to know new authors and hope you do too!
Helen, thank you so much for joining us today. While I pour us a cuppa, why don't you start and tell us all who you are other than your official bio?
Let me think. Most of my readers don’t know that I originally wanted to be a pilot and even studied for a pilot’s license. However, back then women in the right seat, let alone the captain’s chair, were a rarity so I gave up that dream. I have background in two quite different areas: history and computer science. I’ve participated in archaeological digs and directed a local history museum. Stepping out of my comfort zone was attending historical re-enactments in period costume and riding in a World War II-era jeep as part of a convoy of military vehicles. For the one I wore a long skirt and hid more modern items such as camera and keys in a wicker basket. For the other, I was in olive drab fatigues.
My DH, Pete, would love to sit and talk history with you. He adores reenactments and even thought about joining a group at one time. What other interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
I've dabbled in various types of handcrafts over the years. Painting and photography also sneaked in, especially during my time as a correspondent when I had to provide the photographic images to accompany the articles. Time restrictions and arthritis have reduced the amount of time devoted to knitting, crocheting and beading, as has the amount of time, effort, and energy given to my role as a caregiver. I don’t read while I am writing. When I do read, science fiction and fantasy fill my to-be-read pile.
I totally get that. I used to crochet, sketch, and paint. My hand strength and co-ordination are not the same. Who is your network or support system?
I have been fortunate to have a supportive family. One shares her time and talent as a proofreader. A story I love doesn’t pertain to my fiction, but to my non-fiction. When my mother-in-law walked around town shopping or running errands, she carried one of my local histories in her purse with the cover showing. She used the opportunity as friends and even more than a few strangers asked about the book to sell them one.
For many years, Liberty State Fiction Writers, both as a group and their conference, provided writing support, and education. In-person writing groups are not available where I currently live. Either their genre doesn’t match mine or their membership costs are outside the budget. Online groups help fill the gap with Marketing for Romance Writers among a short list of favorites. A fellow author and editor, Judy Griffith Gill was a great support and helped my writing go to a new level.
First, your MIL sounds wonderful. I, too, have found a fantastic online community. Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
There is a special love of Anne McCaffrey, especially her Talents Universe series. Barbara Hambly and Katherine Kurtz influenced my writing with their sharing of magic. E. E. Doc Smith and Louis L’Amor pulled me in with their storytelling mastery.
Anne McCaffrey has to be in my tops list too. What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
I live in what is technically a city, but it has a small town feel. A grocery store, hardware store, and two parks are all within walking distance of my house. In a change from my previous home of thirty years, we have a large yard with enough trees to keep the cardinals, chickadees, and hummingbirds happy all year long. Flags line the main streets for Memorial and Veteran Days. An autumn festival brings out local crafters and civic organizations for a fun day. December brings an event that would not even be thought of in our previous town. Being in a more southerly clime, the weather is warm enough to be out after dark, but cool enough to give a holiday feel for the Christmas Parade.
It sounds wonderful. That hometown feel in a larger city is difficult to balance. I hate dusting. What's your worst household chore?
Doing dishes. Cooking wouldn’t be too bad if dirty pots and pans didn’t come with it.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
While a few sites that require travel by air or train are on my bucket list, I would trade Hawaii and the British Isles for being able to eat out anywhere I wish for free. That said, I would have to keep my gym membership to get rid of the extra weight.
LOL maybe I should add that to the question. Eat free and not gain an ounce. What was your first job?
If you don’t count being paid during baling season on the family farm, my first job was working candling eggs at a neighboring farm.
What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
Not counting hurricanes, or their evil twin Superstorm Sandy, the most amazing natural thing I’ve seen is Niagara Falls.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Most of the research for FIRE AND AMULET involved collecting images to help me visualize the settings such as Merlin’s Well below Tintagel Castle for Trelleir’s secret glen. Fingal’s Cave on the Island of Staffa, Scotland served as inspiration for the hatching cave. Plotting the storyline was another matter. As a rule, I am more of a plotter than a pantser. A detailed storyline from start to finish never happens. The creation of scene storyboards of various detail from bullet points to full draft invariably gives way to the characters. At that point the storyboard format shifts into full-fledged draft.
Interesting. How do you select the names of your characters?
Some characters tell me their names right away. Others play coy and make me hunt them among the lists of Gaelic (or whatever nationality and culture the story is about) names or appropriate dictionaries until I see one that fits. And although it is customary for fiction to state “any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental” that may not be totally true. I’ve reached the stage in life where my caregiving responsibilities encompass up to four generations. To help engender the love of reading in the younger ones, I’ve taken their names and modified them, either by translation into another language or modifying the spelling. This does cause a problem, not with the named, but their parents. Not everyone can appear in every book and the clan keeps growing. The newest just made his appearance a scant three months ago.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The most difficult part of FIRE AND AMULET to write involved Trelleir’s secret. The reader had to be told so they knew early on. My problem came when the secret was revealed to Deneas. How would she react? Her actions had to be realistic, but the betrayal couldn’t disrupt the desired ending.
Intriguing. Helen, thanks so much for being my guest Around The Fire today. Before you head out, will you please leave some extra peeks into your book and where readers can find you?
Fire And Amulet
Helen B. Henderson
Through the power of love, eyes can see what magic obscures
Trelleir is a true dragon whose magic allows him to take on human form. The last of his kind, he longs for companionship. However, his only friend is not only a human female, but a slayer. Sworn to kill all dragons, including him.
Summoned by the village council, Deneas is sent on a quest to kill any and all dragons, and cannot return without proof of her success. Finding the mythical creature and avoiding its deadly talons and fire are not her only problems.
Another slayer follows with orders to kill her. As she retraces her slain mother's footsteps, she learns the world is not what it seems.
The pull of someone seeking him tore Trelleir from his somber reflections. Only one person could be the source of the summoning, Deneas.
He had protected her since her birth when the non-verbal thoughts of the babe registered as little more than faint cries. Now that she had reached adulthood the mental connection between them increased to the point where he swore he could hear her thoughts.
He pictured her in his mind’s eye, sitting on the rock wall he and Adais had built as a border around her private garden.
Deneas’ face was turned towards the heavens.
He knew she searched for a dragon. The urge to leap into the darkness, to fly to her, tore at his control.
“Go to her,” whispered the wind.
What others are saying.
5 Stars A Brilliant Adventure What a grand adventure and hopefully the start of a new series. The characters are interesting and well motivated. Enjoyed every word of the story and hated to reach the ending. Well written and a great fantasy concept.
Get your copy today!
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-and-amulet-helenhenderson/1141304944
Angus Robertson https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebooks/fire-and-amulet-helenhenderson/p/9780228620952
More Sites at Books2Read https://books2read.com/fire-and-amulet/
More about the author.
Although the author of several local histories, and numerous articles on the topics of American and military history, antiques and collectibles, Henderson’s first love is fiction.
Her work in the museum and history fields enables a special insight into creating fantasy worlds. The descendent of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, her writing reflects the contrasts of her heritage as well as that of her Gemini sign.
Her stories cross genres from historical westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of romantic fantasy, she is the author of the Dragshi Chronicles and The Windmaster Novels.
In her books, she invites you to join her on travels through the stars, or among fantasy worlds of the imagination.
Find her on online at:
Excerpts of her work, writing tips, thoughts on the writing life, and information on new releases can be found at https://helenhenderson-author.blogspot.com.
Released APRIL 2022 by BWL Publishing
COVER ARTIST – Michelle Lee, Stardust Creations
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Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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