Please welcome Helen Hollick, author of I Am the Chosen King!
by Helen Hollick
Hello Vera and readers of LuxuryReading.com.
I have wanted to write since I was about thirteen – I was always scribbling one story or another, although never actually getting any of them finished. I started with writing pony stories because I was horse mad, then moved to fantasy and science fiction. By this time I had left school and was working as a library assistant, so I had unlimited access to dozens of books.
It was while working at the library that I rediscovered an author from my teenage days – the wonderful Rosemary Sutcliff, who wrote the The Eagle of the Ninth (recently released as a movie: The Eagle) and then I found Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave and the The Hollow Hills.
I loved those two stories because they were about King Arthur, but were set in post Roman Britain, circa 500.
For some reason I had always disliked the more traditional tales of Arthur – the round table, holy grail, knights in armour….. those stories, to me, were implausible. Mary Stewart’s books – even with a hint of plausible magic – were real. Yes! That is how it might have been! Then, in her author’s note she explained that had King Arthur actually lived he would have been alive, not in 12th century Medieval England, but in the Dark Ages of the 6th Century, and I was hooked!
I became fascinated by the history of Roman Britain, and the reality of Arthur.
I also read what novels I could find about him, searching for something that “clicked”. But one after another I became more and more dissatisfied, so I decided to write the book I wanted to read.
The result was three books, my Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy. I was accepted for publication by William Heinemann of Random House UK a week after my 40th birthday, back in 1993.
By now I was married with a young daughter. What to write next?
I was becoming interested in a local hero, King Harold II who fought and died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The more I read about him and the people he would have known, the more I became interested; and then I had a dream about his first meeting with the woman he was to love for over twenty years. And that was it, I decided to write his story, and the English version of that most famous battle in all English history. I stripped it of Norman propaganda, and wrote it from the heart.
While writing Harold the King (which is the UK title of I Am the Chosen King) I discovered Queen Emma, and decided she deserved a novel of her own, so I followed on with A Hollow Crown which was published in the correct chronological order last November in the US, with the title The Forever Queen.
I also write historical adventures with a slight blend of supernatural fantasy, my pirate–based series The Sea Witch Voyages. These I describe as a darn good sailor’s yarn, a little more lighthearted and fun than my other novels. The great thing about making up fiction about invented characters is that the hero gets to stay alive at the end of the book!
I plan to write more “serious” historical fiction, I have in mind either a “what happened next” to follow on from I Am the Chosen King, or maybe a novel about that most famous British Queen – Boudicca.
About the author
Helen Hollick lives in northeast London with her husband, daughter and a variety of pets, which include several horses, cats and two dogs. She has two major interests: Roman / Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy–the early eighteenth century. For more information, please visit http://www.helenhollick.net/.