(H) An Interview with Mindy Hayes

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter H!

Mindy HayesFor today’s post, I decided to interview my newest client, Mindy Hayes! Mindy has written a great variety of books so far, with some wonderful projects coming down the pipeline. She’s originally from San Diego, California, but now resides in Summerville, South Carolina.

Hi! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview for Livre It To Me. Let’s start out with something easy. What have you written?

Hey Hey! I’ve written the young adult fantasy series, The Faylinn novels, as well as the contemporary romance series, The Willowhaven series. And I just finished the coming of age romance, The Day That Saved Us, which will be available SOON!

What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
Well, I’m working on a few projects right now. One that’s being referred to as the #secretproject with Michele G. Miller that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I’m very excited about! I’m also in the middle of a collaboration with Veranda Kuhar who is illustrating a children’s book I wrote called, I Could Be A Monkey. And finally, I’m working on a psychological suspense that’s been in the making for over a year about a rock star that is accused of murdering his fiancé. And that’s all I’m going to say about that last one!

When and why did you decide to become a writer?
I think I’ve always had a little bit of a writer in me. I used to write little stories in notebooks and pretend I’d written novels. But, I didn’t actually start writing novels until 2007 after I got married. I’d just finished Twilight (I know. That’s what they all say, but it’s true. Haha.) And I thought to myself, ‘I want to write a book, so why the heck no?’! My husband wanted to know what I did with his wife because I wasn’t even much of a reader before we got married.

What is your favorite genre to write in and what draws you to this genre?
You know…I can’t pick one genre. I love anything that surprises me, and my stories surprise me all the time…haha. I honestly think it depends on what I’m writing at the time. I’m a big believer in writing for myself, so I write what I want to read, and I love reading an assortment of things. I loved fantasy when I wrote The Faylinn novels, and I’ve loved writing contemporary for the last couple years. My psychological suspense is definitely a change in genres, but it’s just as exciting, if not more because of all the twists and turns and mystery. Most things I’m still in the dark on that one!

Out of all the characters you have created, who are you most drawn to?
I’d have to say Sawyer Hartwell (Me After You) from my Willowhaven series. I wrote that book when I was going through a serious low period in life. I’d recently lost some close family relationships that seemed irreparable. I was recovering from a miscarriage after years of infertility. Sawyer Hartwell became my therapy and my heart. I think she’ll always be my favorite because she helped drag me out of the darkness when I needed it most.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing your first book?
Well, if we’re talking about my first published book, Kaleidoscope, I’d recently finished a YA faery series that I DID NOT like. I wasn’t a fan of how the author depicted the faeries, so I decided I was going to write faeries how I imagine them. And that’s the beauty of writing. It’s up to you to create a world you believe in!

What/who are your muses?
MUSIC. I always have music when writing. I have a playlist for each book before I start to write and add songs to it as the stories progress. And people, of course, anyone and everyone! Watch out! My husband, ex-boyfriends, actors, musicians, friends, ex-best friends. I also go to Pinterest for a lot of inspiration. Paintings, scenery, sweet couple love photos, etc…

What is your writing process typically like?
Every book has been different. I’m very much a pantser. I can’t outline. It’s pointless. I’ve tried, but I veer from it almost immediately. I write what comes to me, and I figure out how to make it all come together. Sometimes I write the end and go back to the beginning to figure out how to get there. Only once have I needed to write a book chronologically and that was Luminary because I was wrapping up The Faylinn novels, and wanted to make sure nothing was left out or unanswered. It was the most difficult book to write. Writing chronologically stumps me. I need to be able to write whatever I’m inspired to write whenever I feel like it.

What goes into your cover selection process?

It depends on the designer and the cover. I designed The Day That Saved Us cover and asked my designer to put it together. It went through a gazillion mockups before one felt right. While some of my previous covers were custom shoots, and I simply handed them off to the designer and asked for her to work her magic! I want to make sure my covers stand out in the sea of novels. You’ll never see a naked man chest on my covers (No offense to other writers! Just not my style.)

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I honestly think writer’s block comes when the story isn’t going in the right direction. So, I take a step back and rethink what I’ve already written and go back to when it was going smoothly to figure out where I went wrong. I also plug in my headphones and blast music sometimes to clear the cobwebs. I’ll probably go deaf at an early age. Or I read. Read, read, read. Words inspire me.

Do you personally prefer to read e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?

I prefer traditional paperbacks, but the only time I really get to read now is right before bed while my husband is sleeping next to me and I can’t turn on any lights, so I have to read on my phone. Also the convenience of e-books is undeniable. I can’t always carry around a book in my purse, but I’ve got hundreds on my phone.

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh goodness. Tarryn Fisher, Gayle Forman, Colleen Hoover, Melina Marchetta, Jenny Han, Katja Millay, Tahereh Mafi, Paullina Simons. Just to name a few…haha

What books are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone and loving it!

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to edit it or do you prefer to finish it all at once?

Well, I’d prefer to finish it all at once. I’m a culprit of self-editing. I can’t leave a scene alone, so I’m constantly going back to the beginning, reading forward and then moving on with whatever scene I decide to write next. So, if I think the book is done, it’s probably not, so I won’t leave it alone for more than a couple days before I go back to it. I can’t leave it unfinished for long.

What’s your favorite quote?

Well, fetch. I can only pick one? Umm…probably a Tarryn Fisher quote. This one is from her book, Mud Vein.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings. Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soulmates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them though their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”

It’s 1am and you’ve been writing all night. What three items are on your desk?

My water bottle, my phone, and snack of the hour (goldfish, popcorn, chocolate, anything unhealthy most likely) And technically it’s my couch. I’m not cool enough to have a desk yet…haha.

When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?

Working. Fun, right? I’m an office manager for a few chiropractic offices that take up most of my time, so when I’m not there, I’m writing. I try to squeeze in time with the husband, of course…haha. We have our shows (Blindspot, Castle, Quantico, New Girl, Mindy Project, Arrow, The Flash, Criminal Minds, Limitless, Undateable, Life in Pieces, Baby Daddy, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, Second Chance, Mysteries of Laura, The 100, Scorpion, etc… Clearly we have a problem) that we watch together every night before he goes to bed and I stay up to write. It’s turned into our nightly ritual. My life is pretty glamorous.

Tell me a joke.

Why don’t you ever see hippopotamus hiding in trees? Because they’re really good at it.

Haha…I only know corny jokes.

What is your favorite book and why?

Oh geez. Favorite book. I have several. Don’t make me choose! Mud Vein by Tarryn fisher, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Sitting on my couch writing. Most probably. Haha. But hopefully I’m happy and still loving what I do.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t let your feelings of inadequacy keep you from pursuing your dreams. That feeling with never goes away. Only you can keep you from reaching your full potential. Just keep writing what you love. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Thank you so much, Mindy, for taking the time to do an interview with me!
For anyone interested, Mindy’s books can be found here:
Kaleidoscope (Faylinn, Book 1)Amazon Link
Me After You (Willohaven Series, Book 1) Amazon Link

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