Please say hello to author Helen Henderson.
What do you like most about where you live now, Helen? There are four seasons without the extreme cold of the northeast clime. Then there is the locale itself with mountains an hour’s drive and rolling hills outside the door. I can sit and watch blue jays in the tops of the evergreen trees from my breakfast table, but can walk downtown in less than ten minutes. There is a downside to the move to be with family. I traded five writer’s groups and four conferences within an hour’s drive to nothing less than a day’s drive.
What’s your favorite season? Crisp nights and warm days of autumn make it my favorite season. The heat of summer is waning and the cold bite of winter has not yet arrived. A mountain girl at heart I always loved the way the hills are painted in vivid orange, yellows, and reds.
Do you have any personal heroes/heroines? As an author, Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Hambly, and Louis L’Amour set the bar that I aspired to reach. Their world building and craftsmanship called to the creative and logical side of my pen. Although L’Amour did not create worlds of fantasy or the future, he built ones of times gone past.
What is the worst job you ever had? I won’t say it’s the worst, but two of my early jobs reflected the rural nature of my younger years. To work on the assembly line of the neighboring chicken farm I learned how to identify and grade eggs and how to candle them. Each fall, the hay needed to be baled. The blocks of tied hay needed to be stacked by hand on the wagon. Then the wagon had to be off-loaded onto a conveyor belt and restacked in the loft. Altogether a hot, dirty job made worse by the long-sleeve shirts needed to minimize scratches.
Do you have any hobbies? Knitting, crocheting, and needlework help keep fingers nimble for typing. I tried painting for a while but found I enjoyed wordsmithing more. To offset all that sedentary activity, bicycling and walking around town provided a change of scene in the real world.
What is your feeling about social media? The private side of my Gemini personality prefers to remain in the background and would love to shy away from social media. The marketing side realizes that reaching out to readers, to let them see part of yourself is necessary. While I prefer the personal interaction of a good conference, I will admit to having some virtual friends who I treasure.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing? Two activities tease the back of my mind. An inn-to-inn bicycle tour, and a week or two long camping trip on horseback in Montana or Wyoming.
Do you like animals? A number of four-footed personalities have crossed my path. The collie of my childhood seemed to take a perverse pleasure in running through thickets. Sometimes it took hours to get the burrs from his long-hair. Although he wasn’t formally trained, he was a big help in rounding up the sheep or bringing a recalcitrant cow to the barn. For almost two decades, a tuxedo cat ruled my house. He let us know when it was time to get up or go to bed. He would willingly walk on a leash around the neighborhood, however when he was in the yard and decided it was time to go inside, he’d be out of his harness in a flash.
Without disclosing my age, I admit that the companion animals of my childhood have left us to cross the rainbow bridge as have those of my adulthood. To fill the void, I’ve adopted a friend’s pack—and they me. The matronly golden retriever provides serenity as she lies on your feet watching the newest member of the pack run circles around the yard. The alpha female, a beautiful silver husky? Well, she rules the world.
Is your desk messy or compulsively neat? The level of chaos on my desk varies with the stage of the project. During the research and storyboard (which encompasses the first draft) piles of books, photos, and notes cover the floor of my office. During editing, books on craftsmanship, grammar and style are within easy reach on the pull-out shelves of the desk.
Do you play music when you work? Celtic harp and flute takes me to worlds of imagination when magic rules and dragons fly. I write historical westerns, themes from television programs and movies take me back in time. Among the CDs on the spindle at the moment are “Desperado” by the Eagles, Songs of Ireland by Mary O’Hara, and Celtic Twilight by Gabrielle Angelique.
To what do you attribute your success as a writer? Here I’ll have to bow out and use someone else’s words. Although the review snippit pertains to Book 2 of the Dragshi Chronicles, it describes what I try to accomplish with all my writing. “…well-written. There are heroes and heroines with whom one can identify and root for, an enemy with clear motives, great world-building, steady pacing—in short, everything one needs to write a five-rose thriller/fantasy/romance.”
Where do you find inspiration for your stories? A verse of music, a few notes of a tune, or a photo from some exotic place can trigger an idea. Sometimes it is a dream that awakens me in the middle of the night. Once a story is started no inspiration is necessary. The characters take over and tell their story, usually one that I had no idea about.
Do you enjoy writing series? My first published pieces were non-fiction, just little things: filler blurbs, book reviews, and event coverage. Following the progression at the time, the shorter pieces became longer, turning into feature articles and eventually three non-fiction books and numerous user manuals. When I switched to fiction I tread the same path. Short stories grew into full-length novels. The only difference is that I skipped the intermediate stage of novellas. I wrote those later as part of the companion book to the Dragshi Chronicles.
As to which I enjoy more: shorter works, full-length ones, or series? While I wrote two series and enjoyed the journey of Windmaster and the Dragshi Chronicles, I prefer stand-alone, full-length novels.
Tell us about your latest release. My latest release is Hatchling’s Mate, the third book in the fantasy romance series, the Dragshi Chronicles. The dragshi are more than just a man or woman, but two beings—one human, the other a dragon. The pair share one body in space and time and are able to change forms with the other at will. However, for a human, a dragon form comes with more than just the freedom of the sky.
Now that the curse of childlessness has been broken (Hatchlings Curse, Book 2) Hatchling’s Mate follows the tale of the trader girl Anastasia and Lord Branin Llewlyn of Cloud Eyrie to the next generation. From their birth it was expected that Talann’s and Lexii’s destiny would be entwined. However fate had other intentions. Lexii and Talann could not stand to be together. Glyn, Lexii’s bodyguard, fights to keep hidden the secret no one could never learn and fears the cost when the betrayal is revealed.
And threatening them all? The charismatic leader called the Parant. Sometimes not even dragon fire and talons are enough to overcome the mind control.
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Hatchlings-Mate-Dragshi-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B018N8QQ8K/
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hatchlings-mate-helen-henderson/1123184156
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hatchling-s-mate
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1071357427
The path widened, opening into a sun-lit grove. A massive wall of stone towered over a clearing large enough to accommodate four pack trains and half the residents of Alcari. Farther along the bluff, stumps showed where trees had been removed to provide light and access to more caves. However, it was the maw of the largest cave entrance that held Glyn’s attention. What had been blackness moved. The shadowy figure resolved into a sapphire-colored dragonet.
She’s twice as tall as Talann, Glyn measured.
With a shriek, the creature launched itself skyward to land on a ledge mid-way up the cliff.
An answering bellow came from deep in the cave.
“Time to dismount,” Fraomich said. “Our mounts may not appreciate meeting Velannor, especially if she’s in a mood.” His voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “The darker her color, the worse her temperament. And with a little one screeching around, that could set off anyone, even on a good day.”
Her mind buzzing from Fraomich’s comments, Glyn stepped from the saddle and took a firm grip on Buar’s reins, Silver tones rang in her soul and she dropped to one knee. Her head bent in respect.
A brown dragon, belly swollen with an egg, waddled from the cave maw. Light glinted off the hide that ranged from sable to black. <Oh, that is why the little one yelled.> She peered at first Fraomich then at Glyn.
Fraomich dropped to one knee. “Honored old one Velannor, may I present Glyn of Cloud Eyrie, companion of Lady Lexii Beylnea of the Dragshi.”
At the mention of her name, Glyn felt an evaluating stare pierce her scuffed clothes. It penetrated levels to reveal hidden secrets—including her sex. Satisfaction replaced the curiosity she originally sensed in the dragon’s mind.
The dragon sat back on her haunches. <Fraomich of Clan Weiss, welcome to you and those who walk in your shadow.>
“Thank you, honored old one,” Fraomich and Glyn responded in unison.
<Please, we will be seeing much of each other. Velannor is sufficient.> Ripples across the brown dragon’s belly were accompanied by a whoosh of her breath. <Crisiant and my mate, Thrundir, are out fishing and will return shortly. I’ll introduce you to him.>
Glyn swore she heard the dragon chuckle.
<Don’t let my mate scare you, Friend Glyn. Crisiant asked for you to be here.>
For the second time, Glyn shivered under the dragon’s intense scrutiny.