Helen Johannes

Helen C. Johannes

Author of the Series: Crown of Tolem


Release date: Dec. 18, 2019 – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Editor: Claudia Fallon – Cover Artist: Rae Monet


Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.


What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

British literature: I’ve visited the UK several times to experience Shakespeare performed in his birthplace at the Royal Shakespeare and in the new London Globe Theatre, plus visited sites related to Jane Austen, Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, among others. I’ve also done a 3-week graduate course on British mystery writers, visiting with 13 contemporary authors in and around London.


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Let’s see, four contemporary romantic suspense novels (three finished), one finished romantic suspense novella, one unfinished fantasy novel, two fantasy romance novellas (one unfinished and one in progress), and one finished children’s fantasy chapter book awaiting self-publication efforts. Some of these were learning experiences and should never see print.


If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

What I did for 24 years, teach English composition and creative writing to high school and college students. Teaching is all I ever wanted to do and is part of my basic nature.


What is your favorite childhood book?

I don’t remember the title, but it was a 9 x 12 illustrated collection of European fairy tales. I wore out the binding, and somewhere in our many moves as a military family, the book disappeared.


What made you want to become a writer?

I honestly don’t know; the desire to tell stories has always been with me, in me. No one in my family is in the creative arts, so I wrote for myself, school assignments, and trusted friends for years until the urge to see my words in print for a wider world overwhelmed me and I joined Romance Writers of America. My family still doesn’t know what to make of me, but thankfully my husband and daughter are my biggest fans and supporters.


What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Writing the story, mostly, plus staying connected with my closest writing friends by email, phone, and monthly meetings. Without making progress on the story, one can’t claim to be a writer.


How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

All of a sudden I couldn’t simply concentrate on the writing; I had to do marketing and publicity, all of which took time away from what I loved most, exploring the world I’d created on the page.


What was your hardest scene to write?

Anything involving a large cast of characters, especially a pivotal near-the-end-of-the-book scene, is a challenge. While I am telling the event from the point of view of one main character, each person present has an agenda that I must be true to, and I dare not lose track of anyone or the scene fails to fully deliver. Such a chapter-length scene may take me a week to draft, just making sure all the necessary actions and reactions are present for all concerned.


What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Well, see, I write fantasy romance and that enables me to create my own worlds. As long as they work within the parameters I lay out, I don’t need to do the kind of research required of those who write about real times and places. That gives me the creative freedom I crave and lets my imagination play all kinds of what-ifs. Time isn’t a constraint because the world (the atmosphere) layers itself around the characters and their situation as I write. Obviously, I’m a pantser.


What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I judge writing contests and the #1 issue I encounter is the writer not making sure the character is properly motivated on the page to do whatever he/she is doing. New, aspiring writers often don’t see their work through the eyes of a stranger, someone who isn’t inside their own head. Consequently, they fail to put necessary information on the page. #2 is a related pet peeve from my teaching days: the overuse of he, she, and it without clear reference to a name or object. The writer knows to what the pronoun refers but, again, it’s not on the page.



Speed Dating…

(answer in ONE or  TWO words)


Would you prefer living in the city or country?

20,000 population town

What color best describes your personality?

Thoughtful blue

What are you most passionate about? BESIDES family!


What do you consider your best attribute?


What’s your favorite beverage?


What song best sums you up?

Bridge over Troubled Water

What does your desk look like right now? Clean or messy?


Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Early bird

What book are you reading at the moment?

City of Scoundrels by Victoria Thompson

What would you take with you to a desert island?

(three items)

Supplies, friends, books

If you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to dinner, who would it be?

Robin Williams

What would be your ideal holiday destination?

Caribbean cruise

What time in history would you have liked to be born in?

Star Trek future

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

Helen Hunt

DIY or call an expert?


What is your favorite fruit?


What is your favorite thing to learn about in your free time?


What is your favorite time of day?

All day

Are you a pantser or a plotter?


Music or silence?





Give Us An Excerpt!

     “Raell, now is not the time—”

     Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.

     “Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”

     The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—

     “Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”



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Author Bio:

Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.



5 Replies to “Helen Johannes”

  1. Enjoyed getting to know you better, Helen. I’m with you on movies too! Really enjoy’em 🙂 Best of luck with your latest release.

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