How did you know you wanted to be an author? I started writing in second grade, and by college I considered it my true calling, but I also never wanted to have to write what would sell rather than what was in my heart so I made a conscious decision not to make writing my “career.” It was a wise decision, my profession has taken me around the world, expanded my horizons and deepened my understanding of human nature — all things that greatly improve the quality of my books.
What is your advice for aspiring authors? First, if you have nothing to say, don’t! It is the story that should drive you to write, not the desire to “be a writer.”
Second, learn to love re-writing as much as writing. I like to compare writing the first draft to eating your favorite sweet — its wonderfully self-indulgent. But the next step is to get to work and turn that rough diamond into something other people admire and appreciate. That takes a lot of hard work, but it too can be very satisfying — rather like fresh-baked bread.
Do you have any writing rituals or practices?I always read the previous two to three scenes written the day or week before to help me get back into the time period and, most important, into the skins of my characters. I like writing where I have a good view of something lovely, but surrounded by my library of sources.
What message to you want readers to remember?Although I write novels set in the past, I am also writing about the present. Human nature has not changed very much in 3,000 years. My books are about human beings in real-life situations. Because I write about historical figures, their reactions and actions are more than theoretically relevant: they are examples, both positive and negative, of human behavior that we can learn from. That’s why my motto is: understanding ourselves by understanding the past.
How can fans get in contact with you?Fans can leave a message for me (and sign-up for updates) via any of my websites: http://helenapschrader.com, http://defenderofjerusalem.com, or http://crusaderkingdoms.com