Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Helen Hollick Guest Blog, Author of Shadow of the King (and Giveaway)

Today I am honored to have Helen Hollick, author of Shadow of the King as a guest blog. I love books dealing with Arthurian legend, and Hollick's books look fantastic.

Helen Hollick
One of my first memories is running from the library clutching a book I had not read (or at least, someone had read to me) I was four years old. I was writing stories when I was thirteen, in every spare moment scribbling something, and I confess even during lessons at school I was sometimes secretively writing!

I became a library assistant when I left school, and discovered the factual history behind the legends of King Arthur after reading Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave and Hollow Hills novels – I was hooked on Arthur, but not the Medieval chivalric knight in shining armour, the Holy Grail or gallant quests, for some reason I disliked those made-up stories. My interest lay in the reality behind the legends. If Arthur had existed what would he have been like? Where would he have fought his battles? Against whom? And was his queen truly an adulteress?

My problem then, was that I soon became dissatisfied with novels about Arthur. They either had too much fantasy which made them feel unreal, or I just did not agree with the author’s viewpoint. So there was only one thing for it. Write my own.

I made several false starts, but eventually, after almost 10 years of writing and researching in my spare time I ended up with the manuscript of what was to eventually become The Kingmaking and half of Pendragon’s Banner.

My good friend, Sharon Kay Penman, encouraged me and I was delighted when William Heinemann of Random House UK signed me up for a trilogy. All I had to do was polish and edit the material I had, complete Pendragon’s Banner and write the third part of Trilogy – Shadow of the King.

All? LOL :-)

The research for Shadow was particularly enjoyable, as I used old Welsh Legends that possibly made Arthur Lord of Brittany, which meant I could I venture on a three week expedition to Brittany and France in search of locations. What a wonderful career writing can be!

I then went on to write two other historical novels, Harold the King, the story of the Battle of Hastings, 1066 (which is probably the most famous date in English history) writing it from the English point of view and stripping away all the incorrect Norman propaganda – for instance, Duke William of Normandy had no right to the English throne, whatsoever, he was a usurping tyrant.

While writing Harold, I became fascinated by Queen Emma, Edward the Confessor’s mother, and wife to two different Kings of England. I decided she deserved her own novel, so wrote A Hollow Crown (UK title)/ The Forever Queen (US title).

Both Harold the King and A Hallow Crown are available now in the UK (or via Amazon) and they will be published un the US by Sourcebooks Landmark: The Forever Queen in November 2010 and Harold the King in March 2011!

I have also written the first three adventures in my pirate-based historical-fantasy Sea Witch series: Sea Witch, Pirate Code and Bring It Close, featuring my charismatic rogue of a hero, Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his girlfriend, the white witch, Tiola. Full to the scuppers fun and action – a sort of blend of Indiana Jones, Cpt Hornblower and Richard Sharpe – with a little magic added in for good measure! I wrote Sea Witch out of pure love for my character after watching the first of Johnny Depp’s Pirate movies (who can resist Jack Sparrow?) I wanted to read more pirate adventures, but there seemed to be only teenage and children’s books available. Beyond the wonderful Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier, I could find nothing for adult taste that included a touch of “adult” content. So, as with my Arthur stories, I researched the history of the Golden Age of Piracy, thought out my plot, invited my characters into my life – and wrote Sea Witch in about 3 months. Which included working on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day because I could not stop writing!

I am thrilled to discover that many readers are falling for my Jesamiah as much I did!

Thank you for inviting me onto your Blog, I’ve enjoyed myself! Tell me, what are your favourite books that have shaped you as a reader?

Helen Hollick

They knew what was coming.
Man and beast knew what lay ahead.
After the war cry.
Bitter the grave.

At long last, the peace King Arthur was born to usher in has settled over the realm. But Arthur was also born to be a warrior… and all true warriors are restless without a fight. Yearning for battle and ever-loyal, Arthur is easily deceived into setting sail for Gaul to defend its territories—leaving his country vulnerable and leaderless.

A beacon of hope in a land of desolation, he was to be the Lord of the Summer Land for now and forever. But first, the Pendragon must face the ultimate test, one that will take all his courage, strength of will, and honor to survive.

Because once destiny is fulfilled, can you ever truly win again?

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. You can Find Helen at the following places:

Main Website: http://www.helenhollick.net/
Blog profiles: http://www.acorne.blogspot.com/
Muse and Views Blog: http://www.helenhollick.blogspot.com/
My Picture Diary Blog: http://helenhollicksdiarydates.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/helen.hollick
Monthly Journal: http://www.helenhollick.net/journal.html
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HelenHollick

Giveaway Details
Danielle of Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer 1 set of Helen’s trilogy, The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King for this giveaway.
If you would like to enter this contest do any of the following:
1. Leave a comment on this post. You must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)
2. Blog about this giveaway or post about it on your sidebar. (1 entry)

3. Become a follower or leave a comment that you already are a follower of this blog. (1 entry)

There are three ways to enter, but you can put all three entries as one comment.

I will be using random.org to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).
No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday March 26th.

Good luck!


  1. Wow! I would so love to win this!
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

    I was already a follower

    I have it on my sidebar at www.brokenteepee.info

    thank you

  2. Already a follower.

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

  3. I'm a follower.


  4. This is an awesome post & awesome giveaway!

    I'll have to look for her other books.
    Please enter me!
    I am a follower!
    Marieburton2004 at yahoo.com

  5. I'm a new follower :)


  6. I enjoyed reading this guest post. Please enter me in this giveaway.

    I'm a follower.

    I will post this in my blog's sidebar.


  7. I would love a chance to win!


    I'm a follower :)

  8. I'd really like to read this.

    I am already a follower.


  9. What a wonderful article! Sharon Kay Penman is my favorite writer of historical fiction and it's so nice to hear she was a source of encouragement for Helen. I would love to read her books, they sound delightful!

    Thank you for the entry!

    I'm already a follower.


  10. Please count me in. I would love to win this. Thanks for the giveaway.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  11. Count me in! Thanks for the chance to enter!

    **I'm a follower

    **Here's my post:


    **Email: CalicoCritic at gmail dot com



  12. Sounds like a good read!

    nicolmontero at gmail dot com

    I'm a follower!

  13. enter me please, this sounds good.


  14. What a fantastic guest post. I loved learning about the progression into writing of King Arthur. I too love King Arthur stories, and must say, I truly like Helen's viewpoint of King Arthur, leaving out the magical aspect that I grew up hearing about. I did not realize she wrote stories about pirates, will have to keep my eyes open for the Sea Witch series. First though, I loved Kingmaking, and so want to read Pendragon, and now Shadow King. I would love to win this set of books...it would be fantastic.
    Yet, if I do not win, I know then I must buy them.

    Laura...I was your post about this giveaway at GoodReads. Thanks for putting the info there as i am on a bloggy break and would not have heard about it otherwise (trying to organize my goodreads world). Because of my bloggy break...no link up will be put on my blog (would have if I was blogging right now).
    I will settle with...

    I am a follower! :)


  15. Good luck to everyone who has entered the giveaway - and thank you Laura for inviting me onto your blog, I feel honoured to be here.

  16. I would love to win this set of books!

    I'm also a follower.

    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  17. A Hollow Crown and Harold the King are two of my absolute favorites. I would love to win this King Arthur trilogy - glad to see that it will not have all the magic and fantasy ususally associated with Arthur novels. Thanks for this super giveaway.

    I am a follower thru Google Reader.


  18. to follow on from Linda's post (thank you for your support Linda!) A Hollow Crown will be published by Sourcebooks Inc in the US in November under the title Forever Queen. Harold the King (the story of the events that led to the Battle of Hastings) will be published in the USA next Spring. Meanwhile, there are my pirate-based adventure fantasy books available from Amazon! :-)
    For some reason the lead character - Jesamiah Acorne - is very similar to Arthut. Can't think how that happened.... LOL *g*

  19. Please enter me! I am a follower.


  20. I am a follower and this sounds really good.

    crucible3 (at) cox (dot) net

  21. This one is a great one!! What a prize package!!!

    Please put me down for three entries...
    1-this comment
    3-blog (http://emileehope.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-giveawaysagain.html)

  22. Please enter me for this giveaway
    1. This comment


  23. This looks fascinating! My email is Benz1966@gmail.com.

    I'm a follower and I've linked the contest on my blog sidebar =)

  24. Please count me in.

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  25. follower

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  26. a wonderful posting...please add my name to this giveaway...thanks


  27. I recently started watching Merlin on TV which has made me obsessed with King Arthur.

    I'd love to win this series.

    I'm a follower.


  28. Sounds like a great series I would love to read!

    heidivargas [at] live dot com

  29. Fantastic Giveaway!!!
    I would love a chance to win this trilogy, looks like great reads=)
    +1 I am a current follower=)
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  30. Please count me in!

    Google friend follower!


  31. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I am a follower of your blog.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  32. Please enter me in this giveaway! (+1)

    I follow on gfc. ( +1)


  33. Count me in, please.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  34. I absolutely love historical fiction! I'd love to win this book, I am following you blog!


    Kate the Book Buff

  35. Thank you for such a great giveaway! I'd love to read these books!

    I follow your blog.

    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  36. Would love to read these books.

    I have just bookmarked your page so I can follow your blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  37. Historical books about Arthur, I love those.

    My email address is on my blog if I should happen to win this. I also follow this book blog because it is so great and -- there is a link on my page to back here. ;)

  38. 1. I'd love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

    2. Blogged about the giveaway

    3. Already following Laura's Reviews with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}]


  39. I'd love to read this series, sounds great.

    I follow on google friend connect

    ajolly1456 at gmail dot com