Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

My biographical novel of Balian d'Ibelin in three parts is complete, but the saga continues. Follow me to Cyprus, where Lusignans and Ibelins struggle to put down a rebellion and establish a durable state. Watch for excerpts and updates here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Reflections on the Year 2013

Dear Followers and Friends,
 
This past year has been dominated by transition.
 
The early months were focused on preparing my departure from Leipzig, completing projects and tasks I had set myself, winding down operations that could not be continued, preparing the way for my successor, and, of course, preparing for our move.  Mentally and then physically dividing up our goods into those that should be stored in our house in Greece, and those that we would take with us to Ethiopia took a great deal of mental and emotional energy.
 
Then came the move in stages. The pack-out of our best things for transport to Greece, the pack-out of our things for Addis, the farewells and departure from friends and places in Germany.  Training in Washington followed before the month of home leave in Maine.
 
But even in Maine it was a period of transition as I faced the sad fact Herbert and I were getting too old to manage the sailboat that has been so much a part of my life for almost 40 years. In addition to selling The Flying Dragon, we had to plan on making major renovations in our 200 year old farm house.
 
And then came Africa -- the long flight, the re-fuelling in Khartum and finally the arrival in Addis Ababa. Since then, every day has been a day of discovery in this land so rich in history and culture, yet growing and developing at a dramatic rate as well.
 
All of the above has left me less time for writing that I would like, and must admit that in the first half of the year the inspiration was missing as well. The Leonidas Trilogy had been such an important part of my life for so long that it left a vacuum in its wake.
 
I filled that vacuum by re-working older manuscripts that I had set aside more than a decade ago as "unpublishable." In the age of ebooks and KDP, where I can be my own publisher, however, I saw no reason not to release these books -- to the extent that they are good stories, simply not books with a huge potential market.

Herbert created for me the website: www.talesofchivlary.com to market the total of nine books set in the Age of Chivalry that I had written over the years. These are three Tales from the Languedoc (A Widow's Crusade, The Disinherited, and The Devils Knight - not yet released); The Templar Tales (St. Louis' Knight, The Templar of St. John, --neither of which have been released yet -- and The English Templar), and The Lion of Karpas Trilogy, a long ways from release, but one of my best novels.
 
Abruptly, sometime during the stay in Maine, I felt the stirrings of a new idea. Suddenly it wasn't nine "tales of chivalry" that I wanted to publish, but ten. The tenth tale is a biographical novel of Balian d'Ibelin, the defender of Jerusalem against Saladin in 1187. He is a fascinating historical figure (and uncle of the hero of the Lion of Karpas Trilogy) and the more I learn about him the more excited I have become about this novel. Indeed, I can't remember being this inspired and absorbed by a novel since the early days of Leonidas. I've started a Facebook page dedicated to the book where I will be posting regular updates based on my research and about my progress, Balian d'Ibelin - Defender of Jerusalem , for any of you interested in following my work on this new biographical novel.
 
So as the year closes I have settled into a new, challenging job, in a fascinating new country and have an exciting new writing project to work on in 2014. That seems a good way to end the year!
 
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and success, health and many good times with good friends in 2014.
 
 

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