Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Post with Helen Hollick

This week I was lucky enough to have two authors agree to guest post here. Helen Hollick is the author of the amazing novel The Kingmaking which I just reviewed. This book was awesome (as if I haven't gushed enough about it) and I am so excited to here what she has to say.

The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy
The Kingmaking ~ Pendragon’s Banner ~ Shadow of the King

I had no interest in history at school. The lesson I looked forward to was English. Mrs Llewellyn brought passion to the subject and suggested such exciting novels for us to read. She encouraged my writing and spent time showing me how to make my essays better—advice I have never forgotten and am willing to pass on to other new authors.
After leaving school I found a job as an assistant at my local library. While working there I re-discovered Rosemary Sutcliff’s wonderful novels set in Roman Britain – Eagle of the Ninth, Frontier Wolf, Mark of the Horse Lord etc, and then Mary Stewart’s Hollow Hills Trilogy - and I had discovered the real Arthur.
I had never liked the traditional Arthurian stories. I could not accept that King Arthur of the medieval tales was so poor at being a king. To become King, and then abandon his Kingdom in search of the Holy Grail? Surely he would have foreseen the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere?
Mary Stewart’s novels had an author’s note where she stated that if Arthur had existed he would have been a post-Roman war lord. I liked that idea and read as much about the ‘real’, more interesting Arthur as I could.
I also read novels, but was frustrated with most of them. They were not how I saw things. I was so annoyed at one of them that I threw the book away. That made my mind up. I was going to write my ideas of what might have really happened.
There would be no knights in armour, turreted castles or Holy Grails, No myth, no magic. No Lancelot, no Merlin. Instead, I went back to the early Welsh legends of Arthur and his wife, Gwenhwyfar. The early legends turned out to be far more exciting than the other stories. This Arthur was real.
I wanted to bring Arthur alive to put flesh and bone on the names we are familiar with – to make my readers think “Yes, that is how it was!”
My characters were to be people no different to us – yes the situation was very different – no running water, no heating, electricity or plumbing. All food had to be hunted or grown, no medical services … but people do not change, emotions remain the same. They loved and hated, wept and laughed. Were compassionate or spiteful.
It took me ten years to finish the Kingmaking – I was so proud when finally I finished. Even more proud when my good friend Sharon Kay Penman recommended me to her agent, who passed me to William Heinemann/ Random House UK. And now Sourcebooks Inc have renewed the pride by publishing this fabulous new edition.

Helen Hollick
Main Website:
My Pirate Novels:
1066 the Movie:

Thanks so much to Ms. Hollick for taking the time out to share this with us! I have to admit to being curious as to why she decided to write this book as well as take such a realistic spin on this story. If you haven't had the chance yet, definitely check this book out as it will be worth your time :) And if you want to read more reviews, interviews, and guest posts on this book then check out the links below! 2/20 2/21 and interview 2/27 2/23 2/23 2/23 2/23 and guest blog 2/25 2/24 2/25 2/26 and guest blog 2/27 2/26 2/26 3/1 3/1 3/1 3/1 3/2 3/2 3/2 / 3/2 and interview 3/3 3/3 and interview on 3/5 3/4 3/4 3/5 3/5 3/5


  1. Great post Sam and Helen! I've really enjoyed reading the interviews and guest posts that Helen's done around the blogs.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Dar! I've enjoyed reading them as well :)

  3. I'm a recent reader of Mary Stewart but I love what I've read so far!

  4. Ladytink- It sounds like this is an author that I should check out especially if you are liking her books.


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