About Helen

Helen Brady lives in a small, ancient town in Warwickshire, sharing her house with a Manx cat called Logan. ‘The Fabulous Zoo’ is her debut novel, the first of a proposed series of five about Rag and Boyd and their travels beyond the Veil.

An avid life-long reader of science-fiction, fantasy and history, Helen’s long time influences are Alan Garner, Bernard Cornwell and JRR Tolkien. She has two grown-up children, and when she’s not writing, she’s a volunteer, sorting costumes as Head of Wardrobe at her local independent theatre.

New novel by Helen L. Brady

Hoping to build on the success of last year’s debut; this second novel of the Rag and Boyd series is published on 19th December, available to order as a paperback, and as an e-book.

Rag and Boyd The Elfstone continues the fantasy adventures of brother and sister Morag and Boyd as they travel from their old home in the town of Haverdon Spa… that looks suspiciously like Leamington Spa – moved to a slightly different location to take advantage of the rail links! At the local rail station they meet two other teens, Mackenzie, an American girl, and Penry, concealing the fact that he’s really the youngest son of the Svartalfar Lord of the North.

The four must reach Glastonbury Tor by Midsummer dawn to break the unyielding binding charm that’s holding Mac and Penry together – and being alfar-born means Penry can’t travel in anything made from iron. Pursued by the police, who think Mac has been kidnapped, and Penry’s bodyguard, Galad, who wants to return his charge to Penry’s father, the Dark Lord - they must race south-west across the countryside on foot. Galad cuts the Veil for them to escape into the Otherworld, now they all face serious jeopardy from the strange, unearthly folk who live there.

Helen Brady uses her own broad knowledge of British folklore and her extensive research into the tales that have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Garner and other modern fantasy authors to create an original adventure story that builds on the settings and peoples established in the first book in the series: Rag and Boyd The Fabulous Zoo.

Rag and Boyd The Elfstone – published by The Conrad Press, 2022

ISBN 978-1-915494-23-8

What reviewers said about Rag and Boyd The Fabulous Zoo

“… engaging characters, a captivating storyline and enough suspense, thrills and humour to keep you gripped.”

“An amazing debut novel that I can safely say I cannot wait for the next book in the series.”

“This was described to me as ‘Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Rivers of London’ and that’s a great description! …Looking forward to the next instalment.”

“The plot is familiar – youngsters must brave the portal to rescue a missing parent – but what elevates this is the delightful cast of characters and creatures, vividly realized with marvellous descriptive prose.”

Rag and Boyd: The Fabulous Zoo

Their mother dead, their father missing – Morag and her brother Boyd are packed off to live with Wulfric Kennetson, their parents’ childhood guardian.

Uncle Wulf seems stern and strange. He’s the laird of a remote castle in the far north-west of Scotland; his family retainers are unusually short, his two huge dogs have dark green fur. There’s an enormous, mischievous cat, a tame crow called Duffy… and the animals Rag and Boyd discover in the castle’s secret backyard are even more fantastic.

Beyond the ancient castle walls there’s another strange and beguiling world… There are fabulous creatures from legends, and peoples they’ve only read about in folk-tales, but in this world all of them are real… and many are far more dangerous than Rag and Boyd realise.

ISBN 978-1-914913-33-4
Published by Conrad Press
Available as a Kindle download, from Waterstones or from Krisostomus

Warwick author takes her knowledge from antique dealing and screenplay writing to create her debut novel

‘The Fabulous Zoo’ is Helen's debut novel and the first of a proposed series of five about Rag and Boyd and their travels beyond the veil

By Kirstie Smith, Reporter  

An author from Warwick has taken her knowledge of antique dealing and screenplay writing to help her create her debut novel.

Helen Brady fell in love with writing when she completed her first degree at the University of Warwick as a mature student in 2000.

She discovered she had a talent for storytelling. From there she took a Masters in feature film screenwriting and went on to develop a number of original screenplays with producers.

During this time she was awarded places on three UK Film Council funded scriptwriting initiatives and was given bursaries to work with professional script editors.

One of her favourite scripts was The Fabulous Zoo - and in 2016 her screenplay was shortlisted for the Rockliffe BAFTA Children’s Media drama award.

Having spent time with her characters, Helen decided she wanted to take them further - seeing them with the potential to grow up and have more adventures.

She was invited to join the Writing West Midlands, Room 204 writing initiative in 2019 and took some steps into literature by first writing short stories before tackling the novel.

Helen Brady has been a life-long avid reader, starting with fairy-tales, folk tales and children’s adventures, and progressing through Biggles, her brother’s Superman comics, to science-fiction in every format, and on to historical novels, Arthurian literature, and Tolkien. It is this gradual accumulation of British folklore, fantasy adventures, and history that has come together as The Fabulous Zoo.

Her knowledge of social history comes from a previous 25 plus year career as a self-employed antiques dealer handling all manner of household items from the 18th and 19th century – and a ten-year spell as an English Civil War re-enactor with the Sealed Knot.

Helen said: "I draw my inspiration from the huge panoply of legends and folk-lore available in the English language and is an admirer of the writings of Alan Garner, Bernard Cornwell and J R R Tolkien.

"Since going to university I have a penchant for non-fiction books on a wide range of scientific, cultural, critical and history studies."

‘The Fabulous Zoo’ is Helen's debut novel and the first of a proposed series of five about Rag and Boyd and their travels beyond the Veil.