While the setting of my novels may be historical and the plot shaped by historical events, the books are not about history -- they are always about people. Several of my books have been "biographical" in that they tell the story of historical figures. Others are about characters that have not found their way into the history books. The latter are usually referred to as "fictional" but I hesitate to use the term because this suggests that they have been invented. I'm not so sure about that.
In my experience, my principle characters (not necessarily the entire cast of supporting, secondary and tertiary characters) are complex human beings with their own will. They do not take orders or directions from me. They tell me what they want me to know about themselves, they take control of the scenes in which they appear, and they vehemently protest or simply "go on strike" why I attempt to make them do things they do not approve of, agree to, or consider correct.
When working on a book, and sometimes long afterwards, my characters are with me. No, they do not appear as transparent forms, glowing lights or eerie voices in the night. But they are as present as memories of people we have known well but are no longer with us. They are as "real" as absent friends. When I focus my thoughts upon them (which I do when I prepare to write or during the process of writing), they are so close that they can alter my mood and displace the present. They can disrupt my life as surely as a physical contact, letter or call.
I often worry that I have not done them justice with my writing and wonder if they would not have been wiser to chose a different author. After all, there are many authors who have been more successful than I have. Yet I suppose that choosing an author may be like choosing a friend or partner; much depends on trust and, well, "chemistry." Alternatively, not all successful authors may be as receptive to the voices of others. Maybe one day I will find out why my characters chose me to tell their stories. For now, I am simply grateful and indebted to all my characters for enriching my life with their presence.
they took the war to Hitler.
Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.
Their average age was 21.
This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew and the woman he loved.
It is intended as a tribute to them all.
or Barnes and Noble.
Disfiguring injuries, class prejudice and PTSD are the focus of three heart-wrenching tales set in WWII by award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/grounded-eagles
"Where Eagles Never Flew" was the the winner of a Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and a Maincrest Media Award for Military Fiction. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/where-eagles-never-flew
For more information about all my books visit: https://www.helenapschrader.com