Helena Lancaster: I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I've always had a very wild and active imagination and I actually won my first writing award at the age of 7. I also placed top in my 8th grade class for an essay contest and 3rd in the entire school.
Rachel: Behind the Mask is your first professional publication, correct? I can only imagine how excited you are! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Helena: Yes, this is my first professional publication and I am really excited! I've had the inspiration for the title since the 10th grade and I have close to 400 poems that I've written since 2002-2003. After choosing 75 of them for Behind the Mask, I went through those to pick out the recurring themes for the 4 different sections Behind the Mask is broken down into. I also already have some ideas for my next poetry collection, which I hope to release by the end of 2015 or early 2016 with KCL Publishing, as well. The title will be Phoenix from the Ashes. Behind the Mask is 10 years in the making as I’ve included poetry from years ago.
Rachel: What was the hardest part about writing the poems in Behind the Mask?
Helena: The hardest part is the experience they came from. The majority of the poems are my inner workings out of some of the hardest things I have ever felt….there’s a lot of pain behind them. It’s how I work through difficult emotions in my life.
Rachel: What’s the driving force in your writing? What makes you write?
Helena: I really enjoy the things that I create: my characters, my settings, my stories. I've always loved making up stories. That’s the reason why I started writing in the first place. I become a part of what I’m creating. I feel really connected to the story and the characters I create.
Rachel: Do you write outside of the genre of poetry?
Helena: Yes I do. I mainly write Historical Romance and Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Rachel: What authors have inspired you and your writing?
Helena: Sylvia Plath, most definitely. I really have identified with her work. It helped me to not feel so alone. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe, too.
Rachel: Whose writing do you most enjoy reading?
Helena: Laurell K. Hamilton, especially her Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. It’s one of my favorites and I absolutely recommend it to everyone. I also like Nora Roberts.
Rachel: What would be your advice for aspiring writers?
Helena: Well, I definitely advise anyone who wants to write, write. Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t. Don't let anyone tell you that you can’t. Because a lot of people can be very discouraging to people who say they want to be a professional writer. If you want to do it, then chase it. Chase your dreams. Follow your heart. If that’s what you want, go after it. Write it out. You never know, you could be the next big thing.
Rachel: Where can people buy Behind the Mask?
Helena: Behind the Mask releases February 15th, 2015 and will be available to order in eBook through Smashwords, as well as paperback through CreateSpace. Behind the Mask will also be available on Kindle on February 18th and Amazon sometime between February 18th and the 20th.
Rachel: Are there any promotional giveaways taking place for Behind the Mask?
Helena: There is a KCL Publishing Tumblr Giveaway that will offer 1 signed paperback available to win, along with 3 eBook copies. This giveaway ends February 14th and winners will be announced on the 15th. There is also a Goodreads Giveaway offering 2 signed paperback copies. This giveaway will end on February 15th.
Rachel: Do you have any other projects in the works?
Helena: Yes I do! I have a historical romance novel that I co-authored with Rayna Kingston (raynakingston). It’s called Hearts on Fire: The Story of Vlad the Impaler and the Women He Loved and is aimed to be released in the Spring of 2015 by KCL Publishing (kclpublishing).
Rachel: Where can people stay up-to-date on your current and future projects?
Helena: I have a tumblr blog (helenalwrites) where I do most of everything, although I also have a Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads as well as a Biography page on KCL Publishing’s website.
*This is a reposted feature. Behind the Mask is now on sale and can be purchased through multiple avenues. For more information visit the "Our Titles" section of KCL's website. You can also click here.