Happy day before Thanksgiving. I hope this week finds you thinking of the many things you have in your life that you can praise the Lord for. After you celebrate the day with family or friends, perhaps you'll get the chance to sit down with a good book.
Today I'd like to welcome Celia Hayes. Welcome, Celia. How did you develop a love of story?
A love of story in me, or in the readers? I suppose that comes about because I feel driven to write about people that I can like, or if not really like, at least can respect, or relate to. I try to make my characters as ‘real’ as possible, with foibles and weaknesses. In one or two books, I was able to deal with unfortunate experiences, or what I see as my own flaws. I was also able to call on my own life experience, as a woman of a certain age, as a military veteran, and a hobbyist with many interests. I don’t think I would have been able to write about characters with the same depth when I was in my twenties, now that I am well over sixty. There are just things that I have seen and dealt with at
this age, and have some perspective on it, that I didn’t have when I was in my mid-twenties.
Isn't that the truth? We hopefully gain more wisdom as we grow older. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
Quite early – about sixth grade, I think. Definitely by eighth grade, I already had reams of scribbled fan-fic, based on books that I liked, or historical incidents that intrigued me.
I can relate to wanting to write at an early age. :) Who are your favorite authors?
Rosemary Sutcliffe – not for her juvenile series about the Romans in England and aftermath, although I read and loved those as a kid. My very favorite is Rider on a White Horse, set in the English Civil War, which I think is one of the most beautifully-written historicals ever written. She also had a wonderful take on the Arthurian cycle, Sword at Sunset, which was just as beautiful and evocative. I gave a character on one of my books (The Quivera Trail) her surname, as an homage. Another favorite – Mary Stewart, for those romance thrillers in the 1950s and 1960s. She wrote so beautifully about Greece, that I asked to be assigned there! Finally, the late George McDonald Fraser, for the Flashman series; engaging and real-life characters, and accurate history.
I must admit, I haven't heard of any of those authors. Tell us about your new book.
I actually have two to be released this month – A Fifth of Luna City, co-written with my daughter, Jeanne Hayden. This is the fifth Luna City chronicle – it’s gentle, escapist, rural comedy with dozens of characters, all resident in the small South Texas town of Luna City, which is completely made up, but based on dozens of small towns, with the characters, local history and lore, and the sheer weirdness that only small towns can get away with. It came about as we were watching the old TV series Northern Exposure – and we started to wonder what Cecily, Alaska, would be like if it were a town in South Texas. In short order, we had a cast, setting, establishments, incidents, plots and sub-plots, many based on people we know, and things that we have heard about when doing book events in small towns. The other is Lone Star Glory, a follow-on to my first YA adventure novel (Lone Star Sons) aimed at teen and tween boys. That came about when some writer friends and I were talking about that ghastly recent movie version of the Lone Ranger – and I insisted that the only way to fix the franchise would be to reboot it entirely, and rack it back thirty or forty years, to the time of the Republic of Texas, and make it historically accurate. There were plenty of incidents at the time that would make ripping good Western yarns, and my daughter suggested – make it a book for boys, since there was so very little for them, after the final volume of Harry Potter. So - an old-fashioned classic western adventure for boys of all ages.
Sounds interesting. What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?
More than anything, an affection for, and in interest in history, especially American history. I write – as the motto of Armed Forces Radio and Television Service was, when I was active duty Air Force – to inform and entertain. Strong emphasis on the ‘entertain.’ Historical fiction is a gateway to an interest in history. I believe more people have been drawn into an interest in the American Civil War through reading Gone With the Wind than any number of serious historians, straight off the bat.
I can understand your love for American history. It's why I write what I write as well.
Thanks for sharing your writing life with us. May the Lord bless your writing.