L. 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
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
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
A Second Helping of Murder (a cookbook)
Haunted Highways (collection of haunted places in Texas)
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