Meet Helena Dahlgren
Helena Dahlgren’s mission: Turn an online adventure game about horses into a book trilogy. Rewriting a beloved backstory and digging into the inner lives of fan-favorite heroes could have been a minefield, and Helena Dahlgren actually did hesitate before she accepted the challenge – for a whole two seconds.
Helena Dahlgren began writing ghost stories at the age of five and never stopped. When Star Stable reached out in September 2016 and asked if Helena would be interested in developing the popular online game into books, in many ways it was a dream come true for her. Horses were a major part of Helena’s world growing up, as well as a love of fantasy novels.
I’ve always been a bit of a geek, sometimes even preferring fictional worlds to the actual world.
“The story behind Jorvik Calling is an interesting one, because the fictional island of Jorvik, of course, existed before I started writing the book. I’ve always been a bit of a geek, sometimes even preferring fictional worlds to the actual world. I had prior to this won a Lovecraft-themed short story competition and written a YA novel influenced by David Lynch’s cult show Twin Peaks. So the concept of taking an existing world and making it my own is not new to me,” says Helena.
Getting to know Jorvik and the Soul Riders required tons of research. She found the island of Jorvik to be a place both wonderful and strange. And the four friends Lisa, Linda, Alex, and Anne (as well as their horses!) are characters that she has come to know and love to spend time with.
“I knew straight away that if I wanted to avoid being publicly shamed by masses of Star Stable fans, I had to become fluent in all things Jorvik, so I dove headfirst into Star Stable’s IP bible, studying maps, brushing up on hippology, botany, geography, and culture, to name a few things. There is so much stuff to learn! I also spent a lot of time playing the game (although I’m sorry to say I suck at it…), watching Youtube videos, and writing lists and character descriptions about the four main characters so that I could get to know them at a fundamental level,” recalls Helena.
Helena confessed to having a million questions for the Star Stable creative team in those early days of writing the novel in her native language, Swedish. During the writing process, she also worked closely with the team at Swedish publishing company Bonnier Carlsen, who played an important role in the development of the story. In the end, though, all of her hard work paid off. After writing the trilogy about the Soul Riders as well as short stories about each of the heroines, Helena has gotten to know the world of Jorvik and its inhabitants on a deeper level.
“During the last couple of years, I have also had the absolute privilege of getting to know some of the readers and SSO fans out there via social media. Their enthusiasm and insights have been instrumental in shaping the literary landscape for the Soul Riders,” says Helena, who is very active and approachable through her social media channels.
ABOUT HELENA DAHLGREN
Helena Dahlgren began writing ghost stories at the age of five, and never stopped.
She has a BA in English and Literature from Stockholm University, co-ran Sweden’s most popular book blog for three years, and now works full time as a writer and literary translator.
Helena has written both fiction and non-fiction, mainly horror and fantasy, for young and adult readers alike.
A mother of twin daughters and proud cat owner, Helena divides her time between Stockholm and a tiny village in northern Sweden.
Her obsessions include books, horses, coffee, scary movies, and old TV shows from the 90’s.