Helena was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the daughter of a professor, and travelled abroad for the first time at the age of two, when her father went to teach at the University of Wasada in Tokyo, Japan. Later the family lived in Brazil, England and Kentucky, but home was always the coast of Maine. There, her father’s family had roots, and an old, white clapboard house perched above the boatyard in East Blue Hill.
It was the frequent travel and exposure to different cultures, peoples and heritage that inspired Helena to start writing creatively and to focus on historical fiction. She wrote her first novel in second grade, but later made a conscious decision not try to earn a living from writing. She never wanted to be forced to write what was popular, rather than what was in her heart.
Helena graduated with honors in History from the University of Michigan, added a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and International Commerce from Patterson School, University of Kentucky, and rounded off her education with a PhD in History cum Laude from the University of Hamburg, awarded for a ground-breaking dissertation on a leading member of the German Resistance to Hitler. She worked in the private sector as a research analyst, and an investor relations manager in both the U.S. and Germany before joining the U.S. Foreign service. She served as a professional diplomat in multiple posts in Africa and Europe before retiring in December 2018.
Helena published her first book in 1993, when her dissertation was released by a leading academic publisher in Germany; a second edition followed after excellent reviews in major newspapers. Since then she has published three additional non-fiction books, starting with Sisters in Arms about women pilots in WWII, The Blockade Breakers about the Berlin Airlift, and Codename Valkyrie, a biography of General Olbricht, based on her dissertation. She is currently working on a non-fiction book which will pull together recent academic research about the crusader states into a single volume aimed at the interested but non-specialist reader; the book will be titled Beyond the Seas: The Story of the Crusader States and should be released in 2020.
Helena has also published historical novels set in World War Two, Ancient Sparta and the Crusades. St. Louis’ Knight won the Bronze in both the Historical Fiction and Spiritual/Religious Categories of the Feathered Quill Literary Awards 2014. Her Jerusalem Trilogy, a biographical novel in three part of Balian d’Ibelin, won an astonishing 12 literary accolades including “Best Biography 2017” from Book Excellence Awards, “Best Christian Historical Fiction 2017” from Reader’s Favorites and “Best Spiritual Religious Fiction 2017” from Feathered Quill Book Awards. Her current series exploring the struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor and the barons of Outremer got off to a good start when the first book in the series, Rebels against Tyranny, took Silver (2nd) in the Feathered Quill Book Awards 2019 for Spiritual/Religious Fiction followed by winning Gold (1st) in the Readers’ Favorites Book Awards 2019 for Christian Historical Fiction. The second book in the series, The Emperor Strikes Back, won First Place (Gold) for Historical Fiction and Second Place (Silver) for Spiritual/Religious Fiction in the Feathered Quill Book Awards 2020. Both books were also recipients of the a B.R.A.G. medallion.
Helena grew up sailing on the Maine coast and served as a petty officer on the sail-training schooners Sir Winston Churchill and Malcolm Miller. She has owned four horses over the years and remains a resolute horsewoman. She has retired to the house she built in what was once Lacedaemon.
To find all of Helena's work, check her books out on Amazon