Hello. I’m Helen Johnson, a retired journalist who now writes historical fiction set in Yorkshire.
I live in the village of Appleton Wiske, North Yorkshire. It’s a fantastic village because many residents give their time and effort to make it a good place to live.
Yorkshire is a unique and much-loved region of England. It’s famous not only for its wide range of beautiful landscapes, but also for the character of its people; stoic, hard working, understated, but proud of their achievements.
I have written hundreds of magazine features about Yorkshire and the North-East. I wrote about rural lifestyle, heritage, crafts, nature conservation, farming and food, history and landscape.
The people I met through writing magazine features made me wonder: what was it really like to live here in the past?
I’d love to know, and until a time machine is invented, I think the best way to bring the past to life is historical fiction. So I started writing it.
I was particularly inspired by Yorkshire in the 11th century. It had been strongly influenced by settlers from Scandinavia – so much so, that its laws, known as the ‘Danelaw’, were different to those in southern England. These 11th century Yorkshire folk resisted William the Conqueror after his 1066 invasion of England. William responded brutally, changing the relationship of northern England to its southern rulers forever.
It was a traumatic time to live through. But it’s a story I feel must be told.