Release Day Blitz & Author Interview
A warrior, a prince, a legend…
Helena: We’ve known each other since 2008 and over periods of being in and out of touch, we eventually became best friends. Rayna is the kind of best friend everyone has always wanted. I moved in with her and her daughter in 2012 and they’ve become my family. We were just talking one day about Vlad and it ended up sparking this idea for a book. We had no idea then that discussing our personal thoughts on the death of his first wife and rumors of another lover he had before, during, and after her would end up turning into this at the time. It has been a wonderful experience though to take someone that historically infamous and create this captivating story about an unknown side to the man. Plus, the whole always making him a vampire can get rather old. We wanted to tell a story of the real man behind all of the legends.
Rayna: A random conversation spawned a book we are both very proud of.
Q: Have you always known that you wanted to be a writer or was it a recent development?
Helena: I’ve written most of my life. I’ve always enjoyed it and no matter what other career goals and dreams I’ve pondered, writer was always a part of it. So having a writing career to me is essentially fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was probably seven. The decision however to focus my future, education, and career goals on writing has definitely been more recent. I do have to say Rayna had a big part in making me “see the light” so to speak by telling me I was insane to pursue anything else.
Rayna: This is very recent for me! I never had the dream to be a writer like Helena has. Even though I have written in some for or fashion for over 20 years, it was for purely cathartic. Just a way for me to release my inner demons and feel better for a time.
Q: What’s next up for your writing career?
Helena: After Hearts on Fire: The Story of Vlad the Impaler and the Women He Loved releases, Rayna and I will be hard at work on the next book in The Passion of the Dragon Saga. I will also, be releasing my second collection of poetry to be titled Phoenix from the Ashes: Poetry from Personal Struggle, Rebirth, and Triumph this November. My first poetry collection Behind the Mask was released on February 15, 2015. I have some other novel projects in development for the future as well.
Rayna: For me, I will be focusing on book 2 of The Passion of the Dragon Series. I have another book idea that I have been toying around with for a few years, but that is way down the road. I know that I will have a poetry anthology coming out in the next year or so.
Q: What or who has influenced your writing both in style and content?
Helena: My influences as far as writers go would have to be Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Laurell K Hamilton, Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Kim Harrison, J.R.R. Tolkein and Philippa Gregory. History, mythology, lore, dreams, and even music influence me, as well. I’m a bit of an eccentric super nerd to be honest so there are many things out there that end up sparking some crazy idea in my head that I am dying to turn into a full-fledged story.
Rayna: I really don’t have any direct influences for my writing. I have writers and poets whose works I love to read. For that it would be Edgar Allan Poe, Chelsea Cain, Nora Roberts, Charles Baudelaire, and Patricia Cornwell to name a few. My writing comes from within, I guess.
Q: When you have down time and all you have is a world full of possibilities and yourself, what is your favorite thing to do?
Helena: If I had absolutely nothing to do, I would read! I rarely get to read just because I want to these days. I’ll be honest it kind of sucks sometimes. I’m behind in my favorite book series and my reading list is just getting longer and longer.
Rayna: I have to agree with Helena. I would read. Between work, homework, and writing, reading is the last thing I get to do. I miss being able to fall into someone’s imaginary world and live among their characters for a time.
Q: Do you have a soundtrack playing in your head (or for real) as you write? If so, what kind of music are you listening to? If not, what gets you through the writing process (silence, your partner, your cat whispering to you… just covering all the bases here)?
Helena: I typically write to music. It does help me focus and I can see emotions in my characters through it. My typical writing playlist is bands like Within Temptation, Evanescence, Delain, Epica, Nightwish, Depeche Mode, Kamelot, Lacuna Coil, the Goo Goo Dolls, and quite a few others. I have a big preference for symphonic rock, progressive rock, techno, and synth pop. My taste is pretty varied. Plus, if I have headphones in I’m not driving Rayna nuts by my inability to not talk! However, there are times when the headphones come out and discussing what we are writing or where the story is going with each other really helps.
Rayna: I do not usually write to music. I do better writing to sounds around me. But when I do write to music, the genre is usually rock/metal. I have a playlist on my computer of bands like the 69 Eyes, Alestorm, Breaking Benjamin, Muse, Godsmack, HIM, Motley Crue, The Cure, 3 Doors Down, Turisas, The Rasmus, KISS, and so many more. While I am grateful for Helena’s headphones, since what I may hear in a conversation could accidently end up in my writing, there are those times we need to discuss what is happening in the book.
Q: Five years from now: you’re a well-known, best-selling author, what’s the name of your hot new release?
Helena and Rayna: Our best guess is that would be Volume Six of The Passion of the Dragon Saga that we don’t have a title for as of yet.
Q: What was the toughest part of the writing process so far?
Rayna: The toughest part has to have been the arguments Helena and I got into as we were writing. There were many times we could not agree on how a scene was going or where it needed to go. The phrase “I’m done” was said way more than once.
Helena: The fights were hell, but I’m grateful we got through them.
Q: While we’re on the subject, what was the easiest part of the writing process?
Rayna: Oh the easiest part was how the book just flowed out of us! We sat down and wrote out a time line for what we wanted to accomplish with the book and before we knew it, we had 90% of the book written. Our poor cover artist, Erin, was told she had until April to finish our cover. Since the book came out so fast, she had to finish the cover much earlier than planned.
Helena: I agree with, Rayna, it was definitely actually writing the book. We would send our pieces back and forth, as we wrote them, causing us both to get completely engrossed in the story. There were nights when we would have to stop to go to bed and we would be telling each other, “ok you have to write that next section ASAP because I’m dying of anticipation!” I think the second easiest was creating the characters. They came out almost as if they were a part of us already.
Q: If you could say one thing to your future fans, right now, before they even get to read your book, what would it be?
Rayna: We really hope they enjoy our book! I never expected to become a published writer. So I say, chase your dreams. What could be just a hair brained idea could turn into a dream you never knew you had. And don’t let anyone judge you for the dreams you do have.
Helena: We hope you enjoy the book as much as Rayna and I enjoyed writing it! Your dreams can come true so don’t ever let them go because you or anyone says that you can’t. Dreams are worth going after. There will be people out there that will try to squash them and turn you in a different direction but never let them. Go after them and do what you love to do because you live your life, no one else lives it for you, and you should do what makes you happy with it.
If you would like to learn more about Rayna, Helena, or the book, you can track them down here:
Author & Publisher links:
Publisher link: www.kclpublishing.com
Publisher Blog: http://kclpublishing.tumblr.com
Rayna Kingston Twitter: http://twitter.com/rayna_kingston
Rayna Kingston Blog: http://raynakingston.tumblr.com
Rayna Kingston Goodreads
Helena Lancaster Goodreads
Helena Lancaster Twitter: http://twitter.com/helenalwrites
Helena Lancaster Blog: http://helenalwrites.tumblr.com