Helena P. Schrader
“The telling of good deeds is like alms and charity;it is never lost labor but always has its return." Chandos' Herald ca. 1386
Helena was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the daughter of a professor, and traveled 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, after time in Ann Arbor, 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 would sell, 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 as an investor relations manager with a German bank, an American internet company and a German venture capital fund before becoming a career diplomat.
Helena published her first book in 1993, when her dissertation was released by a leading academic publisher in Germany; a second edition followed the following year after excellent reviews in major newspapers.
Since then she has published three 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 has also published historical novels set in World War Two, Ancient Sparta and the Middle Ages. St. Louis’ Knight won the Bronze in both the Historical Fiction and Spiritual/Religious Categories of the Feathered Quill Literary Awards 2014. Her latest project, a biographical novel of Balian d’Ibelin in three parts, got off to a great start with “Knight of Jerusalem” earning a B.R.A.G. Medallion and selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. The second book in the series, “Defender of Jerusalem,” was also a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, took the Silver for Spiritual/Religious Fiction in the 2015 Feathered Quill Literary Awards, won the Chaucer Award for Medieval Historical Fiction and is a finalist for the M.M. Bennett Award for Historical Fiction.
Helena was awarded the “Dr. Bernard LaFayette Lifetime Achievement Award for Promoting the Institutionalization of Nonviolence Ideals in Nigeria” by the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria in June 2010.
She grew up sailing on the Maine coast and served as a petty officer on the sail-training schooners Sir Winston Churchill and Malcolm Miller in her youth. She has owned three horses over the years and remains a resolute horsewoman. She owns property in what was once Lacedaemon, which she visits regularly and where she and her husband Herbert intend to retire.