I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Helen Johannes. Today, Helen shares ten of her favorite authors and her latest release, Lord of Druemarwin.
Ten Authors on my Keeper Shelf—in no particular order—and what makes me return again and again to their work…
#1 – Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Breathing Room, First Lady, It Had to Be You, etc. – Complex, fully realized characters whose sometimes wildly inappropriate actions are always properly and expertly motivated and who have a deep and authentic backstory.
#2 – Deborah Crombie, Duncan Kincaid, Gemma James (A Share in Death, Bitter Feast, etc.) series – Careful world-building, engaging characters that have become a family, and seamless interweaving of past and present so that the anatomy of a crime can be traced to the root cause.
#3 – Elizabeth Peters, The Amelia Peabody mysteries – The creation of characters, relationships, and settings sufficient to sustain a thoroughly fascinating series set during the archeological heyday in Egypt.
#4 – Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Heroes of Olympus series, Magnus Chase series, etc. – Can’t-put-it-down pacing, humor, wildly imaginative world-building, great characters whose strengths are also their flaws, and—not to be forgotten—terrific chapter titles.
#5 – Jennifer Crusie, Faking It, Welcome to Temptation, Agnes and the Hitman, etc. – Fascinatingly flawed characters who fail at love at first but keep trying—in often hilarious ways—until they get it right.
#6 – Louise Penny, Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series – Amazing ability to lure the reader into a story with apparently ordinary words that nonetheless resonate and make the reader care and care deeply about these characters.
#7 – Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series – Humor, pacing, snappy sentences, an unmistakable voice, and something never fails to explode.
#8 – JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings – Incredible world-building, vast scope, great and memorable characters, and a mind-blowing ability to weave all the threads of an enormous plot together over three epic books.
#9 – Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick – Hook openings, flawed but immediately engaging characters who find a way to confront their demons and heal their wounds, effective dialogue, and fast pace.
#10 – Dick Francis – Spare, tight writing, intense action scenes, moral conundrums realistically handled.
Give me great characters and a strong sense of place, throw in some action, humor, and a mystery to solve or crisis to avert, and I’m likely to pick up your book. And because these elements please me as a reader, I try my best to incorporate them into my own writing. Well, except for the chapter titles; I bow to others’ greatness there.
*************LORD OF DRUEMARWIN*************
PAGES FROM THE HEART Winner in Fantasy Romance
Tag line: In a world of lies and betrayal, can they trust each other?
Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.
Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.
With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.
“Raell, now is not the time—”
Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.
“Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”
The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—
“Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”
Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.
Other Books: The Prince of Val-Feyridge | Bloodstone
Where to find Helen…