Please give a warm welcome to my all time favourite author and North Devon friend, talented writer Helen Hollick, and her many page-turning books.
About Helen and her writing.
When The Mermaid Sings is a prequel novella to Helen’s Sea Witch Voyages series telling how Jesamiah Acorne fled his home in Virginia because of his bullying elder half-brother. He’s seeking a sailor friend of his father, but instead discovers much more: the ghost of his father, Captain Morgan, a mermaid, and a new life of piracy.
About Jesamiah Acorne
Jesamiah was born in Virginia; son of an English privateer and Spanish mother. Enjoy the following excerpt from Ripples In The Sand: (I have a signed author copy, ahem. Just saying)
The rain had started to lash down as Jesamiah kicked open the door to the Full Moon and negotiated his way through, taking care not to scrape or bump Tiola enfolded in his arms and wrapped in a swathe of blankets.
The landlady, a homely woman in her early thirties, bustled from behind the counter concern bubbling from her as energetically as the wisps of hair escaping beneath her lace cap. “Oh my, the poor maid looks nigh on exhausted.” She shooed away an elderly man sitting before the fire, ushering him to another seat. “Set ‘er down ‘ere Cap’n. The girl’s lighted the vire upstairs an’ put a pan in t’warm the sheets. It be a nice corner room overlookin’ the harbour, it’ll do you cheerily.” She pursed her lips and tutted. “I suggest you keep them shutters closed ‘cross the smaller side winder though, sir. The view o’ the drang oft’n be not respec’able.”
Grumbling beneath his breath the old man, as bald as a coot but with a great bush of a white beard, took his half empty tankard of cider along with his pipe and baccy pouch, and shambled to a settle near the window. He sat, sniffed disdainfully and wiped his nose on the cuff of his coat, which he ostentatiously drew closer around his chest, then turned the collar up against the draught. “It be goin’ t’snow on them moors,” he predicted. “Prob’ly ‘ere an’ all. Vruzzen in us’ll be.”
“Drang?” Jesamiah queried, not recognising the word and struggling to understand the conversation. Tiola had a slight Cornish burr, but his ear was not attuned to this unfamiliar Devon dialect. He shrugged, guessed he would pick it up soon enough.
The old man chuckled. “Nowt wrong with Cock Lane tha’ an ‘ealthy man can’t be makin’ good use ov.”
Getting the gist of the statement Jesamiah raised an eyebrow, was about to repeat his ‘drang’ question, but let it pass.
In On The Account, Jesamiah’s wife, Tiola Oldstagh; a white witch, spends the night on Exmoor:
An hour after dusk had settled into the star-frosted night, Tiola fed another stick into her meagre fire. The wood was damp and it gave off more smoke than heat, but it was better than nothing up here on the windswept openness of Exmoor’s exposed coast. She was sheltered in the hollow behind the magnificent tor of rocks that separated the valley from the sea, three hundred feet below. A place steeped in myth, legend and mystery. It was said that the Devil had resided in a castle of rock with his many wives, but angered at their infidelity he had blasted the eyrie to pieces. All that remained were the bare, jagged bones; the skeleton rocks piled stone upon stone. Nothing but a story, an old tale to explain the strangeness of a natural glacial formation – the Devil did not exist, but Tiola was aware that something was lurking out there in the darkness, watching her.
The stick flared into flame and the light caught the glint of an eye a few yards off. Tucking a loose strand of her black hair behind her ear, Tiola calmly added more wood to the fire and smiled to herself. This was the Valley of the Rocks, known also for the herds of feral goats that thrived on the coarse sea-salt grass. A huffed snort and a stream of misted breath evaporated into the cold air. A wild pony then, not a goat; one of the distinctive two-thousand-year-old Exmoor breed with their thick, weather-resistant, shaggy coats and light-coloured muzzles. Had she borrowed such a pony from the stables at Tawford Barton she would be at her destination by now, but her mission was secret and she wanted to know who had been watching her these past seven days, and had followed her, this night, up on to the moor.
Helen decided to take a change in direction:
A Mirror Murder is a cosy mystery set in 1971 with the lead character, Jan Christopher, working (as Helen did!) as a library assistant.
A Mirror Mystery:
Eighteen-year-old library assistant Jan Christopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker. It’s love at first sight for the young couple. But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby is taken from its pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, murdered…
Helen’s home – beautiful isn’t it
Helen Hollick and her family moved from London to North Devon in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century farm house. The thirteen-acre property is also home to a variety of animals on the farm, which include hens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and beautiful Exmoor ponies.
Will Helen be writing the sixth Sea Witch Voyage? I, for one, hope so. I’ve enjoyed all of Helen’s books, after all who doesn’t enjoy spending time with an ansum pirut (pirate).
More about Helen and her busy life:
Accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 just a week after Helen’s fortieth birthday, she became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend. She also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure-fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.
As mentioned earlier: Helen is now heading in a different direction. The first in her Jan Christopher Mysteries series, set in the 1970s, is available now. A Mirror Murder includes hilarious memories of her own experiences for over a decade as a library assistant. (All true. And hysterically funny).
Helen is never seen without a gorgeous hat: Not anuff (enough) room for ‘em all on here.
Click the link to order A Mirror Murder in ebook or print: getbook.at/MirrorMurder
Visit her superb website: https://helenhollick.net/
Pop over to her Amazon Author Page: http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick
Subscribe to her newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick
Helen never ceases to amaze me. She has failing eyesight but still keeps churning out page-turning adventures with believable characters. She also helps so many writers. Nothing is too much trouble. I take my hat off to you, dearest Helen. Speaking of hats… Helen has many…always wears a hat…making her easily recognisable down at her local Devon pub! Cheers, Helen!