Julia interviews L. C. Hayden

Aclaimed author L. C. Hayden has written five mystery novels to date. Hayden’s most recent release, WHY CASEY HAD TO DIE, is garnishing great reviews. The first, WHO’S SUSAN?, made the Barnes & Noble Top Ten Bestseller List. Learn more at the author's web site.

You have contributed so much to the crime fiction world. How do you feel about WHY CASEY HAD TO DIES’s Agatha nomination for Best mystery?

It is definitely a dream come true, an honor beyond honor. I definitely want to thank all the readers who nominated this book. You all made my world! Just knowing that the readers appreciate Harry and Carol Bronson makes me want to shout. The series—actually, WHAT OTHERS KNOW—was also nominated for the Left Coast Crime Best Novel award and now with CASEY, an Agatha. Thank you, thank you so much.

What's your writing process? Outline or organic?

In this modern day of technology, I still do all my writing longhand. I revise and transfer to the computer, revising once more as I do. Since this is the old fashioned way, it’s no wonder that I also chose to do the writing process the hard way. I don’t outline. I know what’s going to happen at the beginning and at the end. Everything in between is a total surprise to me. This often leads to mild writers’ block (where-do-I-go-from-here type of thing) and lots of revising (got to go back and foreshadow) but I really have a blast writing this way.

Let's talk short stories for a moment. I haven't finished a short story because they keep evolving into novellas. What's your secret to crafting a short story?

Thank God someone else has the same problem. I’ve tried the short story and it just seems to be beyond me. Like you, I turn out novellas. A Sisters-in-Crime anthology has asked me to write a short story so I’ve got from now until summer to try to solve this problem. I wonder if they would mind the installment plan?

You are helping MWA blaze new frontiers with your radio show; how did that come about?

One day the phone rang and it was Cindy Daniel, MWA TASK Force Committee member, asking me if I would host their proposed talk show. I carefully considered it for less than a second before I blurted out, “Yes!” At the time, I didn’t realize how much work this entails, but I haven’t regretted it. I’ve been having a blast.

What's next for L. C. Hayden? What projects are occupying you at the moment? In the near future?

I am currently writing the next Harry Bronson novel but have also started a new mystery series which, when complete, will need to shop around. I’m also collecting angel stories for the sequel to my nonfiction, inspirational book, WHEN ANGELS TOUCH YOU. I’ve also written two children’s picture books but I haven’t submitted them to anyone yet. My grandson just turned two and when he’s in school, I’d like to visit his classroom and promote the books. So I’m holding on to these books for a little bit longer. Dumb idea, eh?

Maine’s tremendously popular Independent ex-governor, Angus King, took a jaunt around the entire contiguous 48 states in a motor home with his family. I like the idea, but WITH my family? Your thoughts?

I absolutely love it. Then again you’re talking to someone who owns a motor home and is used to traveling. As far as traveling with the family, there are only three of us now. My husband (we just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary!) and our dog, Killer, who will turn eleven on April 5, and me. We have two sons but they’re married and working and can’t go out traveling like we do. However, this summer, I’ll be one of the guest speakers at Murder on the Grove mystery conference. After the conference, we’ll drive our camper to Yellowstone where we will meet our son and his wife. We’ll tour Yellowstone and the Custer State Park area together. Cool!

Horror novels and traditional mysteries are not exactly identical twins. What inspired you to write THE DRUMS OF GERALD HURD?

Not twins? Oh, no. No. No. Kidding aside, DRUMS actually started out as a mystery novel about an extortionist. However, something was wrong and the novel wasn’t coming together. I talked to the bad guy, Gerald Hurd, and he told me that he had powers I wasn’t tapping into. I listened to him and the book developed into a horror novel. It was neat scaring the heck out of me (and I didn’t even know I had a Heck!) but this will be a stand alone.

To what degree has your faith influenced or informed your writing?

Faith has touched every aspect of my writing, but perhaps more so with WHEN ANGELS TOUCH YOU, true accounts of miracles and angels. It was as if a voice was saying, “Put it down. Let the world know.” That book will always remain very special to me. However, my faith has also influenced my mysteries. When I write something, no matter what it is, I interject a little bit of me. It’s impossible not to do so. Consequently, it’s only natural that my faith—my views—influence my writing.

L.C. Hayden

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Faith has touched every aspect of my writing, but perhaps more so with WHEN ANGELS TOUCH YOU, true accounts of miracles and angels. It was as if a voice was saying, “Put it down. Let the world know.”