Some of you may remember that I interviewed my friend and writing soulmate, K.A. Reynolds, last week. (She’s the author of one of the most beautiful middle grade books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, THE LAND OF YESTERDAY (coming on July 31, 2018 from HarperCollins)!
Well, this week, I am interviewing myself. No, not really. Kristin is interviewing me! But I’m posting it here, on my own blog. (Is this a weird thing to do? I don’t know. This is basically the interview equivalent of a selfie.) Anyway, Kristin asked me some really interesting questions and I couldn’t resist sharing them, so HERE WE GO.
Kristin: If the world were on fire and you could only save one book (not your own!), which would it be and why?
Hayley: THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION. (At first, I thought you meant if my house were on fire—but the whole world?! What are you trying to do to me?!) Okay, if I had to answer, I would probably choose THE FOLK KEEPER by Franny Billingsley, because it’s really beautiful and delicate and it’s about courage and gender and love—and a world burnt down would be a world in need of things that are beautiful and delicate (about courage and gender and love).
Kristin: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Hayley: I actually don’t. But I’m always surprised, reading over my work, when I see something in there I didn’t intend―a connection I didn’t make consciously. I’m always surprised by how everything I have ever seen and heard and been ends up on the page. So I suppose I kind of leave secrets for myself?
Kristin: THE TURNAWAY GIRLS has a very feminist message. As a middle grader, was there a moment when you felt especially oppressed as a girl? How did you react then? Is that different from how you’d react now?
Hayley: There were lots of little moments, and most of them involved being objectified by older men. For instance, I had a music teacher who used to pat me on the legs or bottom, and who once looked up my shirt. At the time, I reacted by moving away from him/ignoring him. I also never told anyone about it. If I could go back, I would leave the room and call my mom to fetch me. I would also tell my mom about it.
Kristin: If you could go back in time and give your middle grade self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Hayley: Ditch the emotionally abusive friends. Write something all the way to the end. It’s okay (and possible) to happy and not “popular.”
Kristin: What is your favourite scene in THE TURNAWAY GIRLS?
Hayley: My favourite, favourite, FAVOURITE scene is too full of spoilers to describe. So I’ll tell you my favourite scene from the first part of the book: when Delphernia sneaks out in the middle of the night to sing and discovers the magic that opens her eyes to her own power. I adore that scene.
Kristin: If you could spend time with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during the day?
Hayley: I would spend time with Linna, because she knows so much about the history and legends of Blightsend. We would probably snoop around Sorrowhall and discover secrets we have no business knowing, which would be PERFECT.
Kristin: Who are you favourite authors and why?
Oh, so many! Laini Taylor, because her writing is dazzling on every level―sentence, world, plot. Roshani Chokshi, for writing lyrical books about girls who go to war with lipstick on. Claire Legrand, because her characters always have the biggest, clearest hearts. Franny Billingsley, for writing books about girls with desire. Jessie Burton, because she’s a genius who writes about creativity unlike anyone I’ve ever experienced. Dhonielle Clayton, for writing about being a girl in such a deep, rich, tangled, complex way. Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, because her writing is so surprising and poetic. Jhumpa Lahiri―her short stories are so beautiful they give me chills. Toni Morrison, because she writes like words are music. Anne Michaels, because she writes with such vividness that she makes time travel seem possible. Sarah Crossan, for writing characters I instantly and irrevocably fall in love with. And Louise O’Neill―her writing is so true and brave. There are so many more, but I’ll stop there!
Kristin: Did you ever feel like giving up as a writer? If so, how did you push through?
Hayley: Yes, about a month ago! I sent my agent a revised version of my WIP and she told me (very gently) that it wasn’t working. She was right, and I’ve since rewritten that book, but at the time it felt like the end of the world. I usually let myself wallow in despair for a day. I’ll spend some time crying in the shower and watching Netflix in my pyjamas. And then I'll get back to work. I might feel like giving up, but I’m not prepared, ever, to actually give up. I love writing too much and I know this is what I was born to do.
Kristin: Hogwarts house?
Kristin: Favourite movie?
Amélie. I’ve loved it since I first saw it in my teens. I watch it once a year! It encapsulates so many of my values as a human being―the way I want to see the world and the way I want to be in the world.
Thanks so much for Kristin for interviewing me! I really hope I never have to choose one book to save during the Apocalypse.
PS. If any of this has piqued your interest, you can add THE TURNAWAY GIRLS on Goodreads, pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram.