I’d like to welcome author and poet Sandra de Helen as a guest for the first time here at Women & Words! Her collection of poetry, Desire Returns for a Visit, was recently published by LaunchPoint Press. <———-Click on that there LaunchPoint link and check it out! I had the pleasure of virtually sitting down with her for a quick chat about her new book. Sandra and LaunchPoint Press are also throwing in a free book (Print or E-Book in the US and E-Book Internationally) to one lucky commenter! So drop your comments, and next Monday I’ll do a drawing and notify the lucky winner!
Here’s the official summary of the collection:
Desire Returns for a Visit covers all phases of a lesbian love relationship from coming out as a lesbian to falling in love, grappling with relationships, living and ending them. This work is accessible. de Helen allows readers to connect to their own lives and feelings through her expert use of metaphor, symbolism, and choice of words.
So here we go!! You are a fascinating person, Sandra! I cherished the time we had to do some talking at Lori L. Lake’s Writing Retreat a couple of years ago and heard you read some of your poems. I was totally blown away. I’m not what anyone would call a poetry fan, but the way you read and the words you crafted made it really accessible for me. What got you into doing poetry?
Both my mom and dad wrote poems. They were the rhyming kind mostly, and my dad’s were always love poems. Mom wrote poems for special occasions for friends and family. I published my first poem when I was fourteen.
At fourteen! Holy cow. Can you tell us a bit about your writing background? Didn’t you do some mystery writing as well as poetry?
In some circles I’m best known as a playwright. I’ve been writing plays and having them produced since 1976. I wrote my female Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson mystery series and a lesbian thriller (all published and available) and was madly writing poetry on the quiet at the same time.
You are quite the cross-genre writer. Your poetic topics are far ranging. How did you settle on the theme(s) for Desire Returns for a Visit?
I wanted my first collection published to be lesbian love poems. The poems in Desire Returns for a Visit track the love life and relationship cycles of a lesbian from coming out to maturity.
You are a voluminous poet. How did you pick the poems for this collection?
Yes, I’ve written a lot of poems. In preparing for publication I went through all of them and sorted them into categories, deleting more than a thousand poems along the way. My publisher Launch Point Press plans to publish at least eight collections. The next two categories are humor and politics. Other categories are life, childhood, parenting, work, gardening, nature, animals, aging, and more.
I know the ins and out of editing a regular book, but editing poetry has to be a real challenge so the poems don’t lose the flavor of what you’re trying to convey. What was it like to work with your editor(s) in the creation of this collection?
They were delightful and helpful. Editors can provide a critical eye which helps the writer to create her best work. Poetry lends itself to tweaking and shaping.
What would you like readers to pull from your poems?
I want readers to see themselves in my poems. To laugh and cry at scenes they recognize or relate to.
And I know you can create those scenes very vividly. To wrap things up, let us know what’s on your writing horizons?
I’m writing a new full-length play, and always writing new poems. With two new collections on the horizon, I’m always available to do readings and/or workshops.
Sandra de Helen’s work appears in Artemis Journal, The Dandelion Review, The Medical Journal of Australia, Mom Egg, Lavender Review: Night Issue, The Dramatist magazine and other journals. Her collections of poetry are published by Launch Point Press. Desire Returns for a Visit was released November 9, 2018. Check out Sandra’s website as well!
****If anyone is interested in a review copy, please click here to contact LaunchPoint Press.******