Helen Hollick and Her Arthurian Series

One of the unsung heroes of the indie historical fiction world is Helen Hollick. Besides being a prolific author, (she writes badass pirate novels among other things, and you know how I love me a pirate story) her site “Discovering Diamonds” blog is a great place to learn about new historical fiction. She also is very discerning, as Acre’s Bastard got a very kind review, but didn’t win a “Discovered Diamond” award. I live in hope that Acre’s Orphans wins one. At any rate, the lady spends a lot of time helping other authors find an audience. It only seemed right that I help her launch her new “the Pendragon’s Banner” series.

For those of my readers not acquainted with the fabulousness that is you, what’s your story?

I am Helen Hollick, I moved from London in January 2013 to live on a thirteen acre 18th Century farm in Devon, England, with my husband, adult daughter and son-in-law.

In between gazing out the window at the beautiful view across the Taw Valley, I write historical fiction, getting to the nuts and bolts of the ‘what might have really happened’ story of King Arthur in my PENDRAGON’S BANNER Trilogy.

It’s an honor to have you visit my humble blog. In a nutshell, what’s the new book and series about?

The book is The Kingmaking and it is the first part of a trilogy … a ‘what might have really happened’ story about King Arthur.

Historical Arthuriana is a bit of a cottage industry these days. What is it about the time period or the story that got you revved up?

I have never particularly liked the traditional medieval tales of Arthur and his knights – sorry folks, but I can’t stand Lancelot, nor ever understood what Guinevere saw in him… I realised a few years ago that my ambivalence might be because there is no historical reality in these made-up tales, (which I am convinced were told as a propaganda advert to entice men to Take the Cross and go on Crusade.) IF Arthur had existed (and alas, that is a big ‘IF’) he would have been around circa the mid-to-late fifth century to the early sixth, basically, what is commonly called the Dark Ages –  that period of upheaval between the going of the Romans and the coming of the Anglo Saxons, well before the Age of Chivalry, knights in armour and quests for the Holy Grail were thought of.

I wanted to write the story about the man who became a king and then a legend. MY Gwenhwyfar is feisty, her relationship with Arthur turbulent, but beneath their squabbling they love each other deeply. MY Arthur is a rough, tough, warlord who has to fight hard to gain his kingdom – and fight even harder to keep it!

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the Kingmaking?

Oh there are quite a few, but then the Pendragon’s Banner series is a trilogy… can I really only pick one (pouts…) Editor’s note: Quit sniveling. You have plenty of rules on your blog, too 🙂 .  Oh OK, I think it has to be where the young lad, Arthur is declared as the next Pendragon. The scene is at Cunedda’s Court (Gwynedd, North Wales.) Men have, one by one, knelt and pledged their swords and loyalty to Arthur, finally, Cunedda’s only daughter, Gwenhwyfar, steps forward…

 No woman took the oath of loyalty. What was this girl-child about?

 “I too am of the blood of Gwynedd. Were I born male I would swear my oath, but I am woman-born. I have no shield or sword.”

Arthur took her hands in his. Like a fool he felt a sudden urge to weep. Looking down at her earnest face, his dark eyes seeing deep into the hidden secrets of her tawny flecked green, he realised how much he wanted her for his own.

Tremulously Gwenhwyfar said, “I have something else to give, Lord.” Her heart was hammering. “When I am woman-grown I shall have a greater gift to pledge. I offer you, my Lord, Arthur Pendragon, to use how you choose, my unborn sons.”

Where can people learn more about you and your prodigious body of work?

Website: www.helenhollick.net

Amazon Author Page (Worldwide Universal Link) http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick
Newsletter Subscription: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick
Main Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
Twitter: @HelenHollick

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor/

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you’ve noticed a slow-down in my interviews and blogging ( and blessings upon your house and camels for caring) it’s because there’s a lot going on. Here’s just a sample of what’s been going on in this writer’s life:

  • We are moving to Las Vegas. After 17 years of Chicago winters, The Duchess has declared, “no mas.” Since I’d have to sell a butt-load more books than I have to live in California,  Vegas it is. Between househunting and packing, until October 1, my literary efforts are taking a back seat. There have been some other changes since then too…
  • Byron the cockatiel has a new home. For 8 years, I have shared my office and writing with a very cranky room-mate. Byron doesn’t take well to change, and the logistics of moving across the country, and the increased travel I’ll be doing, made re-homing him the right answer. It was hard to do, and the first person who says “he’s just a bird” gets punched in the throat.
  • The day job and “The Long-Distance Leader” require mental bandwidth. I usually keep my business and personal life separate. That’s why readers here probably don’t pay much attention to my non-fiction work. Still, “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership,” is actually doing very well. It’s far outsold any of my other work and continues to drive business, which helps pay the rent in the new city, and keeps me fed. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a big seller in airports. Seriously, we’re a Hudson Best-Seller three months running. I have actually published 10 books with the new one coming out, my Amazon Author Page is here if you care.

 

  • I’ve been doing more short-story writing, which doesn’t usually show up here. Between novels and my non-fiction writing, I like to do short stories. One of these, “The Clairtangentist” was just published on Storgy.com July 31, and another will be coming out October 8. I will also have a story in this year’s Rivulets, the annual anthology of the Naperville Writers Group. “Dien Bien Phu, 1954”  If you’re interested, you can find either the stories or links to them on the “Short stories and other pieces” link on this site. Enjoy.
  • I’m getting fewer interview opportunities. Maybe because I’ve been spending less time pimping myself out on Goodreads, but I’m getting fewer contacts from authors who want me to help spread the news about their books. If you know a historical fiction writer who’s looking to get the word out, have them drop me a line.
  • I’m working on Acre’s Orphans for a January release. Just because you can self-pubish with one push of a button doesn’t mean you should. I”m doing everything I can to make sure the book looks good, gets publicity and out-sells my other fiction. That takes time.

All of this is my way of saying things will be slow here until mid-October. I have a couple of interviews planned, but will resurface with an update after we’ve settled into Sin City.

I’ll tell you more when I come up for air. Don’t let the weasels get you down.