Helen Walsh Folsom was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on a beautiful snowy morning the day after All Hallows Eve on the second floor in the house of her great-grandmother, Lizzie Walsh Smith, Irish immigrant. The evening before had been so warm that the window was open, and in the morning there was a soft dusting of snow on the floor at the foot of the bed.
Helen knew she was partly Irish as she grew up, being both Irish and Scots-Irish, but she never fell in love with the idea until she gained more access to the lively chortling of the Irish music, Irish dance, and Irish actors and characters in movies and theater. Some of her favorite Irish tenors have been Dennis Day, Ronan Tynan, and John McCormack.
When she left community-service work several years ago, Helen knew there was one thing she most definitely wanted to pursue: studying and writing about the Irish and Ireland. The more exhaustively she studied, the more enchanted she became with Ireland's legends, tales, and whimsical characters, as well as the isle's most prominent figure, Saint Patrick.
Helen published her first book about Ireland, St. Patrick's Secrets: 101 Little-Known Truths and Tales of Ireland, in 2002. She said that at one time or another, nearly every author writes a book with 101 items on a topic, and since she had found so many quirky and fun-filled little facts about Ireland, she definitely wanted to share them.
However, as charmed as she has been, Helen also understood the fight against injustices that the Irish people have had to endure for more than seven hundred years. It is not surprising that her next book was Ah, Those Irish Colleens!, published in 2003, which helps to explain the history of Ireland as seen from the women who affected it. The book covers two thousand years of Irish history and features thirteen women who, whether deliberately or for a lark, created the destiny of the tiny isle and its people. The book was listed for several years on the best-seller list of the former Irish Books and Media.
Not surprisingly, when Helen visited Ireland, she remained enchanted with the country, its ancient history, the charismatic people, and the many rainbows that daily appeared in the sky. Many times she met friendly, down-to-earth people who loved her American heritage and were not too shy to inquire, "Are you spending all your money?" She also met nice little ladies with rosy cheeks, sweet smiles, and helpful attitudes that endeared themselves to Helen's heart.
With her book, Fianna: The Dark Web of the Brotherhood, Helen developed characters that, to her, represent the different types of Irish people--strong and knowledgeable, smart and stubborn, but always with a flair of independence. She also reflects this strongly in her most recent book, Brandeen, In the Shadow of Captain Moonlight, where the heroine has to be independent, strong-willed, and brave to save her family and not reveal the true identity of Captain Moonlight even though it might mean her life!
One of Helen's favorite limericks about the Irish is from G. K. Chesterton:
For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad.