Monday, March 25, 2024

Meet My Guest, Award-Winning Author and Biographer Dr. Helena Schrader

I met Helena on her blog and checked into her books--I was amazed! No wonder she's won multiple awards. I chose a few to read, and it took a while to decide which ones to start with!

Meet Helena and check out her latest series, Bridge To Tomorrow.

About Helena

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the author of six critically acclaimed non-fiction history books and nineteen historical novels, eleven of which have earned one or more literary awards. She has been an amazon #1 best-selling author in the categories Aviation, Military Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction. She holds a PhD in history from the University of Hamburg, which she earned with a ground-breaking biography of a leader of the German Resistance to Hitler and served as an American diplomat in Europe and Africa.

In Helena's Own Words

Diana, thank you for this opportunity to appear on your blog. Although I’ve been writing since 2nd grade, writing was long a personal passion rather than a profession. I consciously chose not to try to make a living as a novelist because I never wanted to be forced to write what the market wanted rather than what was in my heart. Now, that I’ve retired, writing has moved from the periphery to the center of my focus, which also means I must devote more attention to marketing my books. Guest blogging is a new skill that I am still acquiring!

Over the years, I’ve published novels set in Ancient Sparta, the Crusader States and WWII. My interest in ancient Sparta started when I recognized the sharp contrast between descriptions of Sparta in ancient sources and the depictions of Sparta in modern literature. The archaeological and historical evidence is at odds with popular myths about brutality, militarism and much more. I set to work writing books about Sparta that are more consistent with the ancient sources, and in doing so, I won the acclaim of leading classical scholars. I have been invited to participate in international academic forums on ancient Sparta, and I’m particularly proud that the third book in my Leonidas trilogy has been translated into Greek. The Greek edition was endorsed by the mayor of modern Sparta and well received by Greek scholars and the public.

The history of the crusader states is another area in which popular perceptions are at odds with the historical record. My novels set in the Holy Land during the crusader era seek to show the Crusaders States as they really were: multi-cultural, tolerant, sophisticated crossroads of civilizations in which women enjoyed high status and diverse opportunities. My focus on the crusader states rather than the crusades makes my books quite unique.  

However, I am most “at home” in the 20th century. My first published work in the English language was a comparative study of women pilots in WWII (Sisters in Arms: The Women who Flew in World War Two). This was followed by a comprehensive history of the Berlin Airlift (The Blockade Breakers: The Berlin Airlift). My aviation novels include a novel on the Battle of Britain (Where Eagles Never Flew), and a novel examining the stress of flying for Bomber Command (Moral Fibre). Battle of Britain RAF fighter ace Wing Commander Bob Doe called Where Eagles Never Flew “the best book on the life of us fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain that I have ever seen.” Moral Fibre was hailed by the Foreign Service Journal as a "tribute to those who fought for freedom." 

My current project, Bridge to Tomorrow, is a three-part series on the Russian blockade of Berlin which triggered the largest airlift in aviation history. Although largely forgotten, the Berlin Crisis of 1948-1949 has enormous relevance today. Not only has the invasion of Ukraine demonstrated Russia’s revived aggressive ambitions, but many experts warn that China may seek to regain control of Taiwan via a blockade. Parallels between the incessant use of disinformation to destroy democratic institutions in the Cold War era and the tactics of today’s fascists are all too obvious.

Bridge to Tomorrow conveys the high drama of this crisis where the ideologies and interests of Americans, British, Germans and Russians clashed. It brings to life the men and women who overcame unprecedented challenges to undertake a humanitarian mission — and succeeded in delivering the most spectacular logistical achievement of the 20th century.  In the ruins of Hitler's former capital, enemies became friends because of an aviation experiment that no one — not even its originators — thought could succeed.

The first book in the series, COLD PEACE, which was released in June 2023, sets the stage for the Blockade and Airlift. COLD WAR explores the enormous challenges faced by the Airlift. COLD VICTORY depicts the conclusion of Blockade — and the price paid for Berlin's freedom. COLD PEACE has already won six literary accolades, including runner-up for Book of the Year 2023 from the Historical Fiction Company and GOLD for Historical Fiction from Feathered Quill. COLD WAR is scheduled for release in May of this year.

COLD PEACE: The first battle of the Cold War is about to begin….

Berlin 1948. The economy is broken, the currency worthless, and the Russian bear is hungry. In the ruins of Hitler's capital, war heroes and resilient women struggle in the post-war doldrums. Then a Russian fighter brings down a British passenger plane, and the world teeters on the brink of World War Three. The defenders of freedom must work together to save Berlin from Soviet tyranny. The first battle of the Cold War is about to begin.

Based on historical events, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader brings to life the backstory of the West's bloodless victory against Russian aggression via the Berlin Airlift in COLD PEACE, the first book in the Bridge to Tomorrow Series.

Purchase COLD PEACE on Amazon

Fighting a war with milk, coal and candy bars….

In the second book of the Bridge to Tomorrow series, the story continues where COLD PEACE left off. Berlin is under siege. More than two million civilians in Hitler’s former capital will starve unless they receive food, medicine and more by air.

USAF Captain J.B. Baronowsky and RAF Flight Lieutenant Kit Moran once risked their lives to drop high explosives on Berlin. They are about to deliver milk, flour and children’s shoes instead. Meanwhile, two women pilots are flying an air ambulance that carries malnourished and abandoned children to freedom in the West. Until General Winter deploys on the side of Russia….

Based on historical events, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader delivers an insightful, exciting and moving tale about how former enemies became friends in the face of Russian aggression — and how close the Berlin Airlift came to failing under the assault of “General Winter.”

Regardless of the setting or subject of my books, I am inspired to write by something beyond me. I cannot choose a topic — it chooses me. Most importantly, I do not create the main characters of my books, they already exist; I am merely their voice. When a character requests me to tell his/her story, I am honored by the trust they have placed in me and feel compelled to write. The goal of all my books is to create works of art that do justice to the people and the messages of those who have selected me as their ambassador.

You can find out more about all my books and awards, read review excerpts or sign up for my newsletters here.


Her books have won 31 awards and received a total of 56 literary accolades over the last decade. Highlights include Cold Peace being named runner-up for the Historical Fiction Company's prestigious BOOK OF THE YEAR award, a Book Excellence Award for Envoy of Jerusalem as Best Biography, Hemingway Awards for 20th Century Wartime Fiction from Chanticleer International Book Awards for Where Eagles Never Flew in 2021 and for Moral Fibre in 2022. For an overview of awards please visit my website.

Connect with Helena on Facebook