Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Published April 22nd 2013 
Publisher: Alpha Wolf Publishing

In a world of perpetual darkness, a boy is born who wields remarkable power over fire. Amos is no more than seven when he kills a Shadow Wolf and becomes a legend in Shiloh. He would be destined for great things were it not for the stories his father tells about a world beyond the Shadow and a time before the Shadow. Only madmen hold to such tales, and in Shiloh, they have always come to bad ends.

Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.
On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.

The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophecies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?

Hello Helena! Welcome To We All Make Mistakes In Books! I’m Cynthia and this is Diana and we’re very excited to have you with us today.
Want some cupcakes or cookies?
Cookies, please.  If you have them hot from the oven, and the chips are ready to melt on my fingertips, I'm all yours.

First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I live in Nashville.  I've been married almost 11 years, and I have two gorgeous, exhausting children.  I studied music in college, but I ended up teaching English.  It's a long story.  

What made you want to be a writer? Any book or author in particular that made you go “this is what I want to do!”?

I've always been writing in some form or another.  In elementary school, it was poems and essays.  Later, it was music.  To be totally honest, after I had my son, I needed a project to give me a mental break from baby talk and such.  My mom found a file on an old computer that had the beginnings of a story I'd started in college.  She sent it to me, and the rest is history.  I honestly never imagined that I could write a novel.  It was a stunning leap of faith, or possibly stupidity.
As far as influential authors go, I have to say C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  Of course.  They're just ridiculous.  But I also have to give a great deal of credit to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Twice Told Tales.

Readers want to know what is Shiloh about?

This question should be easy, but it isn't.  The book covers a 13-year span, and it has four characters that you could call "main characters."  It is set in a world of darkness...a vague, shadowy world where the people are haunted and hunted by Ulff, the Lord of Shadows, and his dark forces.  Amos, the main main character, is gifted with power over fire, and he is extraordinarily fearless until he faces a crisis.  When the fear takes hold of him, terrible things happen.  But Shiloh is a story of hope, in the face of impossible odds.  It's a story of fear and of faith, of remembering who we are.

We’re big fans of music. If you had to choose one song to represent the book, which one would be? 

Ack!  Mumford and Sons comes close three times, with "Sigh No More," "Roll Away Your Stone," and "Lover of the Light."  But Emily Dickinson's poem, "Will There Really Be a Morning?" is more suited to the themes of the story.  Julie Lee set that poem to music.  There's also Gungor's "This Is Not the End." 

What was the hardest and easiest part of writing Shiloh?
The easiest part was choosing names for characters.  Once you find the right name, the character's facial features and personality and habits start taking shape almost on their own.  It's great fun.  The hardest part was keeping at it, when I so regularly struggled with the thought that I was just kidding myself, that all this effort was a waste of time, that I had absolutely no talent as a writer, and that no one would ever read my silly little story or care about it.  Sigh.  It's enormously difficult to fight through four drafts when those are the thoughts that plague you.

Can you share something about what you are writing right now?
Yes!  I'm writing the prequel to Shiloh right now.  This book, called Seeker, tells the story of Evander and the Lost Clan.  It's a sad story, but it's beautiful.  Oh, I'm so excited about it.

And to go along with our blog theme, Can you tell us about a time you or your characters made a Mistake that taught you a life lesson?
In Shiloh, Amos faces terrible loss, and it is in the very heart of his pain that he begins to question everything that he held to be true about his world.  We all do it.  We allow transitory circumstances to shape our understanding of the world.  We make impulsive decisions based on feelings of rage or grief or desperation or fear.  It's almost never a good idea, and Amos has to walk a very hard path to find his way back to what he knew to be true all along.


Day or night?

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate.  Easiest question ever.

Coffee or Tea?

Favorite movie?
The LOTR Trilogy.  I also love A&E's version of Pride and Prejudice.  

What are you reading right now or what was the last one?
Just finished Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, and now I'm working on Elizabeth Wein's A Coalition of Lions.

Thanks so much for stopping by today Helena! We hope to see you again soon ;)


t started with those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. My mother would take us to the library when I was in elementary school, and I would check out several at a time. I would read every possible option, making every possible choice, sometimes jumping from the train, sometimes going with the mysterious stranger, sometimes returning to camp, until the book made absolutely no sense.

Then, in fourth grade, I read The Chronicles of Narnia, and I was hooked. Every book in the series seemed better than the last, and I understood how much joy could be found in stories. That year my teacher read Where the Red Fern Grows to our class, and I cried. There again was the power of words, of story.

Later, my father read The Eyes of the Dragon to my brother and me. We were swept away, wondering at the fate of the boy in the tower and fearing Flag’s devices.

Then came Little Women, and Gone with the Wind, “The Most Dangerous Game,” Wuthering Heights, Brave New World, and Sense and Sensibility. Tragically, I didn’t discover Tolkien until I was almost an adult, but I made up for my late arrival to the party by reading most of his published works.

It is only in recent years that I’ve discovered how deep is my love for epic fantasy. In preparation for writing Shiloh, and as part of my independent education in literature, I have read scores of books: books for children and young adults and adults, National Book Award Winners, and Newberry Honor Books. But I always come back to the fantasy novels. I love the idea that anything is possible in the world of fantasy. There is no limit to the imagination, and I can choose to embark on any kind of adventure.