An interview with LC Hayden

lcbig1L. C. Hayden is an award winning author.  Her Harry Bronson series have been the finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Novel (Why Casey Had to Die) as well as finalist for Left Coast Crime‘s Best Mystery (What Others Know).  In addition Why Casey Had to Die is a Pennsylvania Top 40 Pick.  She has repeatedly captured First, Second, and Third place status for her works at the annual El Paso Writers’ League, and even won the coveted Best of the Best Award.  She also won a gold medal at the Senior Olympics Writing Competition and garnished a Second place for Tallahassee’s Writers Association’s Seven Hills Writer’s Contest.

PJ: How long have you been writing?

LC:     I’ve been writing my entire life, but professionally, I began with nonfiction while I was in college. A term paper that I did for a professor was the first thing I ever got published.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LC:     Unfortunately, that moment hasn’t come. Soon as I accomplish a goal, I move on to the next one. There will always be one more step to take in order for me to really be a successful writer.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LC:      You dream of writing and selling. Hitting the big time. Big money. Big deals. Then reality hits. You’ve got to promote. If you don’t, you don’t sell. Wish we could go back to the days when authors wrote and the publishers promoted. Uh, was there ever such a day?

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LC: It’s now beginning to do that—although it’s still a long way from reaching my dreams. You’ve got to realize that my first book was published in 1998 and just now my income is finally something to be proud of. That’s a heck of a long time.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LC: It’s not just getting published that counts. It’s how many books did you sell? Publishers are only interested in how much money they make, not establishing a struggling author’s careers. The focus in writing has switched to selling—otherwise, your publisher will drop you.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

LC:  A nice even number would be 10 years. I wrote, revised, submitted. Rewrote, revised, re-submitted. Over and over. I was caught by a scammer—too late I realized that and that held up the production of the book. Finally, ten years later the book Who’s Susan? came out and it became a Barnes & Noble Top Ten Best Seller.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LC:  I would avoid the scammer. My problem is that I’m too trust worthy. What a twirp I am!—but a trusting one!

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LC:  I set deadlines. By such and such time, I will have written five chapters, contacted so-and-so for promotion, I’ve edited this much, etc. If I don’t meet those goals, I beat myself up with a wet noodle and get back to work!

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

LC:  Dang, that’s a hard one. I’m not sure if I should choose being major awards finalist for my books, being selected to be a speaker at major cruise lines and travel all over the world for free (and I still get paid!), or when a reader tells me how reading my books helped them either spiritually (like for my angel book series) or by keeping them glued to the edge of their seat or having to stay up all night to see how the book ended. All of those experiences are so special.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LC:  Book sales. I pour my heart and sweat into my novels. Then they’re released and bang! The sales just trickle. Eventually, they pick up but they have slow starts. Wish they began with a bang!

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LC: As far as my mysteries go, I’m known as the writer of edgy books. By that I mean a plot full of twists and turns with bang-up endings that will surprise the readers.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

LC: Believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up. Make that dream come true. Don’t let anything or anyone ever discourage you.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

LC: My ability to do great presentations. God gave me the ability to speak on just about any subject and amuse and hold the audience. When I do presentations, I normally a lot more books than when I do just a signing.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LC: Finding the money to pay for the book promotion!

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

List of L. C. Hayden’s books

Aimee Brent Mystery Series

ILL ConceivedIll Conceived

Coming soon: Vengeance in My Heart

Throw Away Children (working title)

Harry Bronson Mystery Series

When the Past Haunts You

When Death Intervenes

Why Casey Had to Die

Novels featuring Harry Bronson

What Others Know (Part 2)

When Colette Died (Part 1) (Bronson not featured)

Where Secrets Lie

Who’s Susan?

Inspirational

Nonfiction: Angels and Miracles Abound (coming Fall 2013)

Angels Around Us

When Angels Touch You

Fiction: Bell-Shaped Flowers

Children’s picture books: What Am I? What Am I?

Puppy Dog and His Bone (coming soon)

Paranormal: The Drums of Gerald Hurd

Writing Advice: Help! I Want to Write

Contributed to

A Second Helping of Murder (a cookbook)

Haunted Highways (collection of haunted places in Texas)

Edited and compiled Breaking & Entering: The Road to Success (a Sisters in Crime how-to guide)

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

ILL Conceived: Grandma Louise hears a scream in the middle of the night. When no one else does, the police dismiss it as an old woman’s ravings. Aimee Brent, an ambitious, dedicated reporter for the North Shore Carrier, the Lake Tahoe newspaper, sets out to prove Grandma right. In so doing, she’s forced to face her past, a past filled with so much darkness that it threatens her very existence and leads her down a twisted, dangerous road from which she may never return.

Where can we buy it?

Best place is as a Kindle through Amazon, although it can be ordered from any store (if you live in PA, Mystery Lovers Book Shop, stocks it) or various places on the Internet. You can also order it directly through me.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

LC:  I still write longhand. I revise longhand. Then I enter it into the computer, making revisions as I go along. I print out the manuscript and revise it again in longhand. I’m old fashioned, eh?

Thanks so much for the interview! Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Thank you for joining us LC. I really love your work and know our readers will too! PJ

An interview with Joann Smith Ainsworth

JoAnn sittingJoAnn Smith Ainsworth experienced food ration books, Victory Gardens and black-out sirens as a child in WWII. These memories help her create vivid descriptions of time and place, which put you in the middle of the story as a participant in a fast-paced journey through paranormal realms as U.S. psychics hunt down Nazi spies.

Ms. Ainsworth lives in California. She has B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English and has completed her M.B.A. studies. Her agent is Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

PJ: How long have you been writing?

JA: I started writing novels in 1998 when approaching retirement. I needed a way to supplement my Social Security. I had a Bachelors and Masters in English and my MBA studies. I decided that “author” was the way to go since, as long as you write a great story, no one cares how old you are.

Little did I know how difficult it is to create a novel. Just having a story in your head isn’t enough. You have to know how to present the action on paper—how to evoke images in the mind’s eye of your reader to bring the story alive.

It took me four years of online classes to learn the craft techniques to create today’s fast-paced, commercial novel. The result was my medieval romance, Matilda’s Song.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

JA: I felt successful as a writer (and switched to calling myself an author) when I completed my first manuscript. A first manuscript is no small feat.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

JA: I didn’t realize that creating and selling today’s novel would be so difficult and so time consuming. Authors have to wait months and years to know if their submission resulted in a sale or a rejection. I have a file of rejection letters.

In the end I sold all five manuscripts to mid-level publishers and I’m under contract to an agent (Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency).

Your readers can follow my writing life by visiting Twitter @JoAnnAinsworth. To learn about my experiences during WWII and about writing a novel where the U.S. govt. recruits five psychics to locate Nazi spies on the East Coast, visit Facebook at JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Fan Page.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

JA: I met a few wealthy authors, but most of us need a day job. My day job is Social Security.

At about 90 cents a book, an author needs a large readership to make a comfortable level of income. For most of us, this is a slow climb with Word of Mouth being our best marketing tool for building a solid readership base.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

JA: No change in my focus.

Each manuscript must be submitted to stand or fall on its own.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

JA: Ten years almost to the month after I started writing novels.

My first sale to Samhain was Out of the Dark, a medieval romantic suspense novel with a sight-impaired heroine.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

JA: I don’t think so. Everything was a learning experience. The setbacks made me a stronger author and a more targeted marketer.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

JA: I am disciplined to the point of being annoying about it. My mind separates tasks into categories. Stubborn determination will not let me slack off. Each category must be completed on schedule, if humanly possible.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

JA: The most exciting thing was opening the box of author copies and holding my first book in my hand.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

JA: Finding that there is no “coasting” for an author. There is always something to do and these days the competition is greater. Each year, my books must be brought to the attention of readers despite the millions of other published novels in bookstores.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

JA: The most memorable is that what started as a business proposition turned into a passion.

I write stories of self-awareness and self fulfillment in historical settings. The heroine becomes empowered as she tackles each story challenge and transforms into an indomitable woman. Even if I never sell another manuscript, I will continue to write these stories for the rest of my life.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

JA: My historical settings are so detailed that readers become immersed in the time period. My novels have a moral tone:  good eventually triumphs over evil. My stories entertain, inspire and keep the reader in suspense.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

JA: Never give up and never believe you’re too old to succeed. Keep getting up every time you get knocked down.

My fifth novel will release when I am 75 years old. It’s been a fifteen year journey, but I have touched my dream.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

JA: I believe we authors are our most effective tool in promoting. What we write comes from our hearts. We want to share our experiences and hope these experiences will inspire readers.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

JA: PINTEREST. I can keep track of 90,000 words, but I’m not visual. It’s difficult for me to think in terms of interesting graphics.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

JA: Many of the booksellers where I had signings and was on panels went out of business during economic downturn. For my recent release, POLITE ENEMIES, an historical western romance, I have author event invitations from Books, Inc. in Alameda (an independent bookstore) and from Barnes & Noble in Antioch.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

MATILDA’S SONG (978-1-60504-195-7)MatildaSong200x300

OutDark72webOUT OF THE DARK (978-1-60504-277-0)

POLITE ENEMIES (Book 1) (ebook:  978-1-61160-636-2; paper:  978-1-61160-590-7Polite-Enemies-COVER21

THE FARMER AND THE WOOD NYMPH (Book 2) (ebook ISBN:  978-1-61160-660-7) release Dec. 2013

EXPECT TROUBLE (print ISBN:  978-1-61009-074-2) release April 2014

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title, Polite Enemies:

IDA OSTERBACH survived range wars and the murder of her husband. She’s kept the farm going through sheer grit and determination. The last thing she has time for is romance.

 

JARED BUELL was never particularly charitable to farmers, even eye-catching ones like Ida. When an old nemesis comes to town and threatens both of them, he has no choice but to get involved.

 

Experience this action-packed romp through 1895 Wyoming where Ida and Jared find love when they least expect it.

PJ: Where can we buy it?

JA: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Nook and from independent bookstores which used Ingram as a distributor.

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

JA: I awake each morning with energy and excitement because I have a new day to craft another novel.

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and my writing to your readers.

An Interview with Liz Schulte

MeLiz Schulte is a fairly new acquaintance of mine, and I love what I see! I love her website, her tenacity and her sense of humor (let’s face it, all of us mystery buffs can be a little weird). I hope you enjoy “meeting” her here today and will rush right out and buy one of her books!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

LS: I have been officially writing novels since 2006, but my first book wasn’t published until 2010. However, I used to write short stories in junior high and high school.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LS: I felt successful as a writer when complete strangers began to find me on social networks and tell me how much they loved my books. That always brightens a cloudy day.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LS: I don’t know that I really had any expectations when I started. I mostly took writing up again because my mother kept telling me I should write a book. Finally, I had a really good idea and just tried it. I had no idea where it would go, if anywhere, or what it would be like once I got there. I have recently become a full time writer. It is a little different than I thought it would be. I thought I would be swimming in extra time, but I seem to be just as busy as I was before.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LS: My writing income has exceeded my expectations, no doubt. I never really believed I would be able to make a living just doing what I love. I am very fortunate to be in that position now. I know a lot of great authors who also have to have day jobs.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LS: My focus is always on my next book. I want each book I put out to show my growth as an author and to engage the readers.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

 LS: I published my first book three years after I wrote it.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LS: Yes! I would have self-published it and not waited so long.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LSTime management is definitely the hardest part of being a writer. Being a writer is like having three separate jobs. You have to write the book (job 1), edit the book (job 2), and then you have to market the book (job 3). I don’t know that there is a perfect formula for handling this. Writing is always my top priority so I set word count goals for myself every day and once I meet those, I will work on the other two jobs as needed.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

LS: It is pretty hard to choose only one thing. I think being named as one of Apple iBooks Breakout Authors in the UK was pretty exciting.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LS: I honestly can’t think of anything. There are always disappointments in life and careers, but I never let them get me down or stay with me. When I have a setback, I push forward to better the next time.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

LS: I went to a writing conference in Florida. A fan of mine who lived in Minnesota wasn’t able to come, but her parents were vacationing there so they came by to meet me and get pictures for their daughter. I thought that was pretty great.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LS: I think it is the same things that set books apart before. You need an eye-catching cover and a great jacket copy.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

LS: Don’t get discouraged and keep trying. The market is evolving and always changing. If you can’t find a publisher that works for you, then there is always self-publishing. If you want it bad enough, you can take control of your career and make it happen.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LS: It is pretty easy for an area of promotion to become over-saturated. So I think the most challenging part of promotion is constantly finding new avenues to meet and engage readers.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Dark Corner (The Ella Reynolds Series)- 2011

Liz - Easybakecoven (2)Secrets (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1)- 2011

Choices (The Guardian Trilogy Book 2)- 2012

Consequences (The Guardian Trilogy Book 3)- 2012theninthfloor2 (1)

Dark Passing (The Ella Reynolds Series)- 2012

Easy Bake Coven (Book 1)- 2013

Hungry, Hungry, Hoodoo (Book 2)- 2013

The Ninth Floor– 2013

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

The ninth floor of St. Michael’s Hospital was shut off to the public, staff, and administrators in 1984. The doors were welded and chained shut, the stop was removed from the elevators, and the no one talked about what happened there—ever.

Ryan Sterling knew her life was going to change forever the day she found out her aunt needed a transplant, and she agreed to return to a home she never wanted to see again. Spending the vast majority of her time in St. Michael’s hospital, she soon notices peculiarities: her aunt’s roommate rants about evil, the nurses whisper about hauntings, and no one will tell her why the ninth floor is locked. Ryan thinks all the rumors are ridiculous until two nurses die right after she speaks with them about the floor in question.

Ryan never wanted to go home again, now she may never leave.

Where can we buy it?

Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony.

Thanks for visiting with us Liz! I hope you’ve found some new readers here and I know I’m looking forward to seeing what your next books will be!

An interview with L.C. Hayden

lchaydenAuthor Elsie “L.C.” Hayden has been a friend and colleague of mine for many years and it’s been exciting to watch as her career has grown and her work has evolved. I never know what she’s going to do next!

PJ:  How long have you been writing?

LC: Not too sure, but I think I was born with a pen in my mouth and a piece of paper in my hand.  Then I grew up and became one of those who wrote page after page when the teacher assigned a composition. Teachers hated me because I made their grading harder. When I was in college, I had my first piece, a folklore article, published.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LC: Not quite sure I’m there yet. For every goal I achieve, there’s always twenty million more to accomplish. I’ve had some highlights, though: when I signed my first royalty contract; when the first fan told me how much she enjoyed my books; the first time I was nominated for a major award (Agatha Award for Best Novel,) and so many more memorable times.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LC: I never knew that being an author meant being a salesperson. Two completely different hats the author has to wear. Also, I probably had a glamorized picture. You know what I mean. You do a book signing and people actually show up.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LC: It’s finally beginning to. When I first started, there was no such thing as a monthly income. I was lucky to claim a few thousand a year. But now that my books are steadily selling, I have a nice monthly income that surpasses my early yearly incomes.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LC: I concentrate on writing a better novel. If my current novel receives twenty five-star reviews, I want the next to receive twenty-five five-star reviews because it’s that much better.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

LC: A whopping ten years. That’s the one thing about writing: you should never give up.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LC: I feel that my early novels, while basically good, are not excellent. I wish I knew then what I now know. I would have made those novels so much better.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LC: When I’m writing, I devote the majority of time to writing. After that first draft is finished, I set it aside and work on something else—usually promotional stuff. After a few days of that, I go back to writing or editing. This switching back and forth works well for me.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer???????????

LC: I received a call asking me to speak at a major cruise line during their days at sea. In return, I and guest of my choosing (which has always been my husband) would receive a free cruise and the ship would carry my books. At the end of the cruise, I would pick up a check. How can anyone refuse an offer like that? So far, I’ve done the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera several times, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, and the Panama Canal two times, each time with a different cruise line. I love this part of promoting!

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LC: I flew to Alaska to do a presentation. I knew someone would be at the airport to greet me. Soon as I stepped off, two ladies approached me. “You’re L. C.,” they said. I was instantly flattered. They had actually recognized me. I was coming up in the world. “Yes,” I answered. “How did you know?” Their eyes indicated my attire. I wore a parka, a wool hat, snow boots—after all, this is Alaska. Then I looked at the other passengers. They wore light to medium jackets, no head cover, and normal shoes. So much for being recognized. Sigh.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

LC: While researching my novel set in Las Vegas, I sat back stage with the impersonators of Legends in Concert. Elvis Presley” looked at his watch and told me it was almost time for the show. Since they had gotten me front row tickets, I asked them for directions back to the stage. I was told to go down the corridor, turn right at the second turn, then go left, up a flight of stairs and make an immediate right. Go through the door at the right. Then . . .  He hadn’t even finished and I was already confused.

I tried to follow the directions but got desperately lost. I opened the door I believe “Elvis” said I should. A tiny village expending several yards greeted me. It immediately captured my attention. The lights twinkled, the car wheels rolled. I could almost hear the children’s laughter. From behind me, I heard some noise. I turned and the audience began to clap. I had walked right into the stage.

Someone thought it was cute as they put the spot light on me.

I curtsied and ran down the stairs.

So you see, folks, I have been an opening act to a Las Vegas show.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LC: No matter which mystery is being reviewed or by whom, the reviewer seems to make the same comment: “filled with lots of action and a surprise ending that you never expected.” Therefore, I’d say that what sets my books apart is that each work promises an edge of the seat read with a surprise ending.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

??????????LC: Never, ever give up. Have faith in your writing and in you. Write the best book possible, get it professionally edited, and be proud of your work.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

LC: Speaking. If I do a normal signing, I sell X-number of books. But if I speak, I sell an X-number-plus books. That’s one reason I love doing the cruises. I do presentations and get to sell a lot of books.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LC: Asking people to buy my books. I hate asking people to spend their money. Consequently, I leave it up to my readers to choose if they want to buy them or not—but I hope they do.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

LC: Unfortunately, I live in El Paso, TX, and we only have two Barnes and Nobles and no independent bookstores. I wish we were a more literate city. However, although I have a lot of non-local mystery bookstores that I absolutely love, I especially like Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA. They hold a yearly Book Festival that is one of the very best.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Mysteries: from latest release to earliest release:

Harry Bronson Mysteries: When the Past Haunts You (2013 LCC Watson Award Nominee)when the past

                                                    When Death Intervenes

                                                    Why Casey Had to Die (Agatha Award Finalist)

                                                    What Others Know (2009 LCC Best Novel Finalist)

                      (please check for my website for earlier titles: www.lchayden.com

Aimee Brent Mysteries: Ill Conceived

                                                 Vengeance in My Heart (coming soon) 

Children’s Picture Book: What Am I? What Am I?

Inspirational: Nonfiction: Angels Around Us

                                             When Angels Touch You

                        Fiction: Bell Shaped Flowers

Writer’s Manual: Help! I Want to Write

                               Breaking and Entering: The Road to Success (edited)

Paranormal: The Drums of Geruld Hurd

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Did you ever wish you were given a second chance to correct past mistakes? This happens to Harry Bronson in When the Past Haunts You. His estranged sister calls him, begging for help. What follows is a hair-raising journey full of sharp turns and rocky terrain. The refrain Don’t leave me weaves through the book and echoes our deepest longings for connection, for family, and for correcting past mistakes. Goodreads hailed When the Past Haunts You as one of 2012 best reads. Pick up a copy and find out what happens When the Past Haunts You.

 

Where can we buy it?

If you’re looking for the e-book version, go to www.tinyurl.com/LCHayden  If you want the traditional book you can buy it from Amazon or from me. Or you can check with your favorite book store and see if they’ll order it for you.

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

LC: As an author, I get asked a lot of questions, but the one I get asked the most is “What exactly does L. C. stand for?”

The answer goes back to way before I started writing my novels. Before writing mysteries, I freelanced for several magazines. I looked at the various ones and decided I’d like to write for the treasure magazines. I researched, wrote the article, and since this happened before the invention of computers, I typed the piece. I used my real name as my byline: by Elsie Hayden.

My husband, Rich, took the pictures, printed them (told you it was before computers), and I sent the package in. It came back. “Thanks, but we’ve just bought a similar piece.”

I was devastated but did not give up. I researched another buried treasure and eagerly sent it out. It, too, came back. “Thanks, but we’ve just assigned this to someone else.”

Hmm…I wasn’t liking this trend, but I must be from Missouri. I wouldn’t give up. I sent a third, a fourth, a fifth . . . They all came back.

By this time, I felt like a high school dropout. I picked up a copy of the magazine and slammed it down. Talking to myself, I said aloud, “This is exactly what they’re looking for. Why are they not publishing me?”
Rich picked up the magazine and pointed to the title page. “Look at the articles. They’re written by John, by Steve, by Mike. There’s no Marys, no Susies, no Elsies.”
Being a smart cookie, the light dawned on me. I took out the first rejected manuscript and retyped the first page. The only change I made was the byline. I changed it from by Elsie Hayden to by L. C. Hayden.
The article was immediately accepted. So were a second, and a third. . . I got used to using the initials and when it came time to write my mysteries and other novels, it felt natural to continue to use L. C. instead of Elsie.

And thus, L. C. Hayden, the author, was born (or was I created?)

An interview with L.C. Hayden

I’ve known L.C. Hayden for more years than I dare say, and I truly enjoy both her person and her work! I hope you do too…

PJ: How long have you been writing?

L.C.:  I’m afraid to answer this one, because you’re going to find out that I’m … well, old. Seriously, I was one of those kids who wrote all the time. Others would turn in compositions a few sentences long. Mine were pages long! Professionally speaking, got my first novel published in 1998, but before that, I freelanced for magazines and newspapers.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

L.C.: Every minor step I take pushes me forward, but I still wonder if I’ve reached the successful writer status. Some of those steps include the first time an editor sent me a contract with an advance, my first royalty check, when I won in a contest, the main one being Agatha Award Finalist for Best Novel of the Year for Why Casey Had to Die, when I made the Barnes and Noble Top 10 Best Seller List—and gosh so many more.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out?

L.C.: Not at all. I thought I was supposed to write.

PJ: If not, how is it different?

 L.C.:  A writer must also be a full time sales person and promote his/her books. How many books you sell is the bottom line for a publisher—not the quality of the work.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

L.C.:  I am indeed wealthy. Wealthy because I’ve met so many readers who have become true, good friends. The value of these friendships: priceless.

Monetarily, since the advent of e-books, my writing income has more than tripled per month. But then, I also spend a lot on promotion bringing me back to the poor house. Oh sigh!

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

L.C.:  My focus is on producing a really good book. My early works are good or okay, as you see fit, but my latest ones show that each book is an education to me and the books get better and better.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

L.C.: Sit down for this answer, my dear friends: 10 years. Nope, that’s not a typo. Ten years!!

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

L.C.: Wish I knew then what I know now.  I’d spent more time developing characters, setting up the work, and creating an atmosphere.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

L.C.: I’m super lucky. I retired and became a full time author. But even with that, time just gets away. But now I’ve learned discipline. Set time limits I spend on the Internet, time limits for the time I spend promoting. Then write, write everyday and always read.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

L.C.: One of the most memorable things is doing “working” cruises. Major cruise lines invite me to be their Author in Residence. I’m allowed to bring a guest (for free and that’s always my husband.) We cruise around the world, and during the days at sea, I give a one-hour max presentation on writing and/or my books. The ship’s store carry my books that travelers can buy and I have some available after my presentations. Last day of the cruise, I pick up the check and that’s my job. I just returned from a Princess Cruise sailing to the Panama Canal.

PJ: That sounds fabulous! What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

L.C.:  Since I’m published by small, independent publishers, my books are not automatically sold in all stores. Even the paperback editions of my books that Harlequin publishes—and they’re a huge publishing firm—are not on the stores shelves. Sigh.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

L.C.: One day the principal called me over the intercom and told me he wanted to see me during my prep period. That was 6th period, I remember so well. I was a good little teacher, so I didn’t worry. When I walked into his office, instead of the principal being there, there was a man dressed in a suit, tie, vest. He reached behind him and locked the door. Okay, what do I do now? He reached for his back pocket and showed me his badge. “I’m Detective So-and-So from the police department.”
My first thought was oh no, one of my students must have really done something bad.
He asked me to sit down. I did and once again he reached into his back pocket, took out a card, and said, “You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to have an attorney present. . .  and he continued to read me my rights.
What’s going on? I thought. I don’t even speed! He shoved a piece of paper between us. “This is what it’s all about,” he said. I looked at the paper and nodded. My first book Who’s Susan? had just been published and I had been talking to my editor. He said, “Now, L. C., if you want people to buy your book, you’ll have to come up with a brilliant campaign. If they go to the bookstore and say they want to buy. . .and they forget the name of the book, you’ve lost that sale.”
So I thought and thought and came up with a brilliant campaign. I would send out three different mailings to a select group. The first would have no return address and the paper inside the envelope would simply say, Do you know who Susan is?
I knew that as soon as people received this first promotional piece, they would be wondering, what’s all this about? Who is Susan? They’d start talking and word would spread.
Two weeks later the same people would get the second mailing. Again, there would be no return address and this time the paper would read: Did you find out who Susan is? Check your mailbox for a future answer.
       Again, tongues would wag. Word would spread.
Two weeks later, the same people would receive the final advertising and this time the envelope would have a return address and the paper inside would explain that Who’s Susan? was my first novel and I was inviting them to the Barnes and Noble signing I was going to have. That was how it was supposed to work out.
This is how it actually turned out: after people received the first mailings, they called the police because someone was sending them an antiabortion campaign through the mail. How they got that out of the flyer, I have no idea. Naturally, the police ignored it because they have more important things to pursue. But the callers insisted that the police do something about it.
My problem is that I’m basically a lazy person. The post office was two blocks away from the high school where I taught. But did I choose to go to the post office? Nope. I mailed the letters from the school’s mailbox. That made it a federal offense. They had to call the FBI.
Now the FBI knew it couldn’t be an antiabortion campaign. They knew it was much more. It was a new drug, called Susan. So they brought in an undercover agent to ask the students about the new drug. The students simply shrugged and asked, “What new drug?”
When that didn’t work out, they knew they had made a mistake. It wasn’t a drug at all, but a gun movement, code name Susan. Again, they brought in another undercover agent to come investigate. Again, the students shrugged and asked “What gun movement?”
“So who’s Susan?  the frustrated agent asked.
“That’s Mrs. Hayden’s new mystery novel,” one of my students answered.
In the meantime, I was in the principal’s office, having my Miranda Rights read.
Sometime, it doesn’t pay to advertise!

PJ: Oh no! That is unbelievable! I wonder how fast your heart was beating that day?? With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

L.C.:  The fact that I give everyone a $100 bill when they buy my book! That would be cool, eh? Actually, what people find appealing about my detective in the continuing series is that Harry Bronson isn’t a drunk, loves his wife and his daughters, has a stable life filled with good friends. If you haven’t met Bronson yet, you’ve got to. Guaranteed: you’ll love him.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

L.C.: Whatever you do, don’t give up. This is a hard business but believe in your books, because if you don’t, nobody will.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

L.C.: Doing the “working” cruises. I meet people from all over the world and they help to pass on the word. Also, any time I have a speaking engagement, I tend to sell lots of books.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

L.C.: The part where I say, “Buy my book, please.”

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

L.C.: I live in El Paso, TX., and there’s no independent booksellers here. We only have two Barnes and Nobles and that’s it. So sad!

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

From most recent to oldest:

Harry Bronson mysteries: When the Past Haunts You

When Death Intervenes

Why Casey Had to Die

What Others Know

Where Secrets Lie

When Colette Died

Who’s Susan?

Inspirational books about miracles and angels: Angels Around Us

                                                                           When Angels Touch You

Bell Shaped Flowers (fiction, young adult)

Horror: The Drums of Geruld Hurd

Writing: Breaking and Entering (editor, published by Sisters in Crime)

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Retired police detective Harry Bronson is forced to face a painful, secret past when his estranged sister begs him to help her. What he learns about her life over the past decades leads him on a serpentine path in unfamiliar territory. This mystery will keep the reader guessing until the very end as Bronson follows the trail of his lost sister through the corrupt underbelly of the rich and powerful

Where can we buy it?

Best place is at Amazon or directly through me.

What last thing would you like to share with us?

Befriend me on Facebook at Lc Hayden and check out my website at http://lchayden.com Thanks for your time! Now, go read!

Wow, she’s had an interesting time with her book promotion efforts, hasn’t she? Kudos to you L.C. and thanks for sharing! Now, like she says, “Go read!” But I’ll add a little – Go read a book by L.C. Hayden!