Helen Garraway is the USA Today Bestselling author of the award-winning epic fantasy Sentinals series which was first published in 2020, followed by the first book of the fantasy romance SoulMist series, SoulBreather, released in 2022 as part of the Realm of Darkness boxset.
An avid reader of many different fiction genres, a love she inherited from her mother, Helen writes fantasy novels and also enjoys paper crafting and scrapbooking as an escape from the pressure of the day job.
Having graduated from the University of Southampton with a degree in Politics and International Relations, she remains an active member of their alumni.
You can find out more at www.helengarraway.com.
You can buy Sentinals Destiny here.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I never thought I would ever write a book, though I have always been a voracious reader, a gift I learnt from my Mum. I devoured all genres, but fantasy is a love of mine. I’d had a few ideas bubbling in the back of my mind for a few years, but they crystallised one day when I was walking through an ancient forest near where I live. I was thinking about how old these trees were—for hundreds of years they had stood there. What tales they could tell if they could speak! That thought progressed to “What if…there was someone asleep in the tree who awoke? What tales they could tell!” And so was born the idea of the Sentinals series. Sentinals Destiny is the sixth and final book of the series, released on October 11th, 2023, three years to the day I published my debut novel, Sentinals Awaken.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I have always worked in the technology industry from High Performance Computing to Video Conferencing. I started my career in marketing (words) and progressed to Product Management (numbers!). Writing is a release for the intense day job, analysing pricing.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
The name Sentinal came from the need to have a word for guardian or protector. I liked “Sentinel” but spelt with an “e” always makes me think of technology and computers, whereas my world is more medieval. So I changed the spelling to an “a” instead of an “e” and created my own word. “Sentinal” is close enough to “Sentinel” to keep the meaning, but it is specific to my world. “Sentinal” with a capital is the person, “sentinel” lowercase is the tree. The series titles have progressed through the lifetime of the Sentinals from Awaken, Rising, Justice, Recovery through to Banished and Destiny.
You can download a free prequel novella called Sentinals Stirring if you sign up to my newsletter via my website: www.helengarraway.com.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
The first time I held my book in my hands was overwhelming. The sense of joy and accomplishment that I had written a book and I was holding it in my hands…absolutely amazing. I smiled for days. Still do every time I see a new cover or hold the next book for the first time. It amazes me when I stop and realise I have published ten books in three years, been involved in three anthologies, and have completed my epic fantasy Sentinal series.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
My perfect reader loves to immerse themselves in a new book, suspends reality and gets carried away with the characters, and lives through all the emotions, trials and tribulations, and moments of success and joy. My books are an emotional roller coaster set against a backdrop of an ancient magical world, which is a character itself, and populated with characters who will tug at your heartstrings. I hope my readers enjoy a moment of fantastical adventure away from the stresses of daily life.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
When I first started writing, I had no thought to publish. But then I got fed up with reading my book on my computer—I wanted to hold it as a book. So I started to investigate how to publish a book, and chose to self-publish. I wanted to retain control of my story and characters. Seeing the final book, all that work and effort come to fruition, is the most meaningful part of publishing. I can now cosy up and read (or listen on audiobook) my books whenever I want, and so can everyone else!
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I have so many writing projects. The challenge is knuckling down and focussing on only one. I am halfway through writing the third (and I think final, we’ll see!) book in the fantasy romance SoulMist series; I have a standalone dystopian novel in editing; and I have the prequel to the Sentinals series to finish! I also have a brand-new epic fantasy series bubbling, and the main character has a very loud voice—I keep having to stop and capture these ideas while I can. So there is plenty more to come! You can follow my progress and get my book news first if you sign up to my newsletter at www.helengarraway.com, or you can follow me on social media via Linktr.ee/HelenGarraway.
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