Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the author of 24 historical fiction and non-fiction works and the winner of more than 53 literary accolades. More than 34,000 copies of her books have been sold. For a complete list of her books and awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight into historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Why I Write Historical Fiction - A Guest Blogpost from Diana Rubino

 Diana Rubino's passion for history has taken her to every setting of her historical and biographical novels: England, France, Egypt, Italy, and all over the United States. With her husband Chris she's the owner of engineering business CostPro Inc., a golfer, pianist, fitness nut, Jersey Shore Italian, and real estate tycoon on the side. She spends as much time as possible living the dream on her beloved Cape Cod.


I enjoy meeting people from the past and how they fit into the major events of their lives. Writing historical fiction sends me back to the past, but keeps me grounded in reality.

My earliest recollection of fascination with history was when I was 8 years old and my parents brought me to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This was my first visit to a historic home. As the tour guide led us through the mansion, I felt a strong connection with the past and the people who lived there, as if their energy lingered. Deeply curious, I asked a million questions about the Washingtons, the estate’s history, the enslaved who ran the plantation. (an ‘out of the mouths of babes’ moment was when we stood in Washington’s bedroom where he died in 1799, the guide told us he’d succumbed to a throat infection. I piped up, as the hypochondriac that I was, “Can we still catch it?”)

I visited many historic places after that, but Mount Vernon became one of my favorites, and it became a huge part of my life when I wrote ONA JUDGE: I AM FREE, about Martha Washington’s favorite servant.

When I was older and realized that we all have a connection to history, as we’re all part of it, I became a true history buff. I hungered to learn about those who lived before us, and how they lived. They are so different from us and the way we live  in modern times, but they were people, just like us, with hopes, fears, goals, wishes, frustrations—they ate, slept, loved, grieved, took offense, worked, played, worshiped and experienced every emotion we all do in our lives.

As I learned how much more difficult life was in the past, and how much harder it was to succeed at any endeavor, I developed a strong respect and admiration for our forebears. Reading biographies introduced me to these people on a more intimate level, as individuals, and my appreciation for their struggles and their hardships intensified.

The more books I read about women of the past, the more I felt connected to them as they became my heroines. I learned the stark reality of the difficulty of womens’ lives, not allowed to own property if married, not allowed to vote, their treatment as second class citizens, subservient to their fathers, then to their husbands. We women today take so much for granted.

I was already writing romance novels, but contemporaries. One day I asked myself, “Why not write novels about the people who shaped their times, and made history happen, in those long-ago worlds that captivate me?” I’d always been interested the Tudors—Henry VIII’s court, his wives, and his daughter Elizabeth who became England’s greatest queen. I sat down and recreated that world, and the finished product became THE JEWELS OF WARWICK. I then explored an era prior to the Tudors—Richard III and his times. A kind and benevolent young king, unfairly maligned and vilified, I got to know Richard and his world from the Richard III Society, and was delighted to find out that every member has a story about how they ‘met’ Richard—his charismatic aura captures imaginations. I immersed myself in his world and wrote a few books about him and the people surrounding him, his friends, his family, his loves, his enemies. From then on, I knew I’d write only historicals, because I so enjoyed these journeys to the past, into long-ago worlds, as I researched and walked in the footsteps of those who paved the way for us.  

Writing fiction about these unforgettable people gives me leeway to create what the historical record didn’t leave behind—that, to me, is the joy of fiction. I deeply admire biographers who must adhere to the historical record with every word, but fiction allows a world of make-believe to blend with verifiable events and facts. And as a novelist, I make sure to add to my author’s notes at the end of each book disclaimers for having needed to fill in what the record left out. But as Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” as a novelist I delight in creating worlds based on the events these people lived, and the buildings, diaries, inventions, and artifacts they left behind.



Find out more about Diana Rubino and her books at: www.DianaRubino.com


Blog host Helena P. Schrader is an award-winning novelist and author of six non-fiction and twenty historical fiction books. Her current project in a three-part series about the Berlin Airlift.

The first two volumes of the Bridge to Tomorrow Trilogy are now available. 

The first battle of the Cold War is about to begin....

Berlin 1948.  In the ruins of Hitler’s capital, former RAF officers, a woman pilot, and the victim of Russian brutality form an air ambulance company. But the West is on a collision course with Stalin’s aggression and Berlin is about to become a flashpoint. World War Three is only a misstep away. Buy Now

Berlin is under siege. More than two million civilians must be supplied by air -- or surrender to Stalin's oppression.

USAF Captain J.B. Baronowsky and RAF Flight Lieutenant Kit Moran once risked their lives to drop high explosives on Berlin. They are about to deliver milk, flour and children’s shoes instead. Meanwhile, two women pilots are flying an air ambulance that carries malnourished and abandoned children to freedom in the West. Until General Winter deploys on the side of Russia. Buy now!

 Based on historical events, award-winning and best-selling novelist Helena P. Schrader delivers an insightful, exciting and moving tale about how former enemies became friends in the face of Russian aggression — and how close the Berlin Airlift came to failing. 

 Watch a Video Teaser Here!

 Winning a war with milk, coal and candy!







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