Friday, March 23, 2012

Interview with Author Helen Hollick

1.      Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Oh I have always wanted to write – I was scribbling away when I was at least thirteen. I wrote pony stories then, because I desperately wanted a pony and we couldn’t afford one, so the natural thing (I thought) was to invent one, and write stories about our adventures together.
Eventually I moved on to science fiction and fantasy, and then I discovered the wonder of writing historical fiction.
I suppose there were two major “inspirations” for me. The first was Mary Stewart’s Hollow Hills / Crystal Cave series, where I discovered that if King Arthur had existed it is more likely that he was around in the post Roman era (5th / 6th century) This appealed, as I had never been very interested in the Knights in Armour versions. And then I read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon. Now it was a terrific book, but oh dear, her portrayal of Guinevere drove me mad.
So that was it, I decided to write what I thought should be the “real” story. The Kingmaking, the first of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy was the end result.

2.      What is your favorite book you have written and why?
This is hard because they are all favourites for various reasons.
The Kingmaking because it was my first adult novel, Harold the King because I love that novel (called I am the Chose King in the US) The Forever Queen (called A Hollow Crown in the UK) because it became a bestseller – my first official bestseller. And Sea Witch because I am head over heels in love with my pirate character, Jesamiah Acorne.
I suppose if I really had to choose…. Sea Witch.

3.      How do you choose your subjects to write about?
I don’t. The subject chooses me. I have no idea where the ideas come from, they just come.

4.      What is your next book project?
I am in the middle of writing the fourth Sea Witch Voyage (it’s called Ripples In The Sand) and then I am going to do a follow-on to the Harold novel – what happened after the Battle of Hastings, 1066

5.      What is your favorite quote?
 Save the Earth – it’s the only planet with chocolate

6.      What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Stop talking about “when I write my book” – get on and DO it!


I live on the outskirts of NE London, England, close to Epping Forest with my husband and adult daughter – and a variety of pets. I have been passionate about books and writing all my life. My first employment was in a local library, where I discovered the history behind the legends of King Arthur, which eventually led to the writing of my Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, the first of my historical novels.

I have been Chair of the local Dyslexia Association and worked part-time as a School Librarian in a Special Needs school. I especially enjoy encouraging new writers to achieve their dream of writing a novel. My best advice? ‘To finish, you must first get started!’

I was first published by William Heinemann (Random House UK) but when my books were not to be re-printed I obtained the copyright and re-published with a small UK independent company as part of their even smaller mainstream imprint. The company recently closed, however, so rather than fall out of print again here in the UK I republished with an assisted publishing company, SilverWood Books, based in Bristol.

My Historical Fiction novels are also published in the US by Sourcebooks Inc and I was delighted to make the USA Today best seller list with The Forever Queen in the summer of 2011.

I have recently volunteered to become the UK editor for the Historical Novel Society Online Review section, with the ultimate aim of improving the standard of self published historical fiction novels.

I firmly support writers who decide to publish their books as either “self” or “independent”, as I feel too many excellent writers are being overlooked for various reasons. It must be emphasised, however, that to be taken seriously self published authors must produce their books to a professional standard. There is no reason why a self published novel cannot be as good as any mainstream book. Which means professional editing and production. This costs money, but quality is never cheap.

Main website       

Author of
The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy
(the ‘what might have really happened’ story of King Arthur)
Published by Sourcebooks US
And Silverwood Books UK

A Hollow Crown (UK title) / The Forever Queen (US title)
Harold the King (UK title) / I am the Chosen King (US title)
(The first two books of a proposed trilogy regarding the people and events that led to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings – probably the most famous date in English history)

The Sea Witch Voyages:
Voyage One: Sea Witch
Voyage Two: Pirate Code
Voyage Three: Bring it Close
Pirate-based adventure with a touch of fantasy.
Hornblower meets Richard Sharpe and Indiana Jones – at sea
If you enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you will love these.
Thank you Helen for giving me the honor and pleasure of this wonderful interview.



  1. Thank you Stephanie for inviting me onto your blog - its great to be here!

  2. Can't wait for your next two books. I am also in love with Jesamiah and I very much look forward to reading more about post 1066.

  3. Ah, what I've always wanted to know about Helen Hollick! Looking forward to meeting her in person...