Name Hayley Barrett
Where are you from
I live in Rolleston, New Zealand – just south of Christchurch for anyone who knows about New Zealand, with my husband, three children (two boys and a girl), cat called Tyler and dog called Lexi.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My new novella in the Darkness series, In the Cool Light of Dawn, was released on 22 January. It’s a prequel to Into Darkness. The third book in the series, A Silhouette in the Night, will be released in September this year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote a bit while I was at high school – even won a couple of short story competitions, but once I left school life got busy and I stopped writing. In 2010, there was a major earthquake – magnitude 7.1 – centered very close to where we live. That was followed by thousands of smaller quakes (I’m not embellishing, there really were thousands more quakes over the next couple of years). It was so scary I can’t even begin to put it into words, but basically, I started writing to get away from the earthquakes – to escape the feeling of being constantly scared of when the next “big one” would hit.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmmm. My first novel was published last July and since then I haven’t yet called myself an author when I’ve had to list my occupation anywhere. I guess I started to think of myself as a writer when I’d almost completed that first novel, but until recently it’s been something I’ve always kept to myself.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was just something I wanted to do and something I enjoyed. There was nothing that inspired it as such (unless you count the earthquakes!), and the way I envisioned it when I started writing was completely different to how it ended up.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure – perhaps it’s a little early in my writing career to say…
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
There is a line in the novella about the night fading away and the cool light of dawn taking hold. It just seemed right for a title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t write my novels to present a message. I’m sure there are things that people can take away from my writing, but my main objective is to write an engaging story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Ha! It’s a dystopia so hopefully none of the reasons things happen are too realistic. The places the characters find themselves are fairly realistic. And I would hope the friendships portrayed seem real.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, it’s all come from my imagination!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
My favorite ever book is Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. I read for four days straight to get it finished and although I never usually read a book twice, I’ve read that one a second time. I wish as a writer that I could write something as engaging as that book, something that a reader can’t bear to put down.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Cinder by Melissa Meyer. I’ve heard good things about this series, so I’m hoping it’s an enjoyable read.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m writing another young adult novel that would fall into the historic fiction category, although I’m currently wondering if I’ve taken on too much! I should be finishing my Darkness series, but the historical fiction characters kept calling to me, so I’ll finish the series once this one is done.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have some good friends who always want to read what I’ve written. Plus I have a couple of beta readers who are writers themselves who are also really encouraging. Writing can be quite lonely so having people tell you how much they enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) your novel before it’s published is a necessity.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes – I hope so, anyway.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It was something I’ve always enjoyed, and to be honest (until I started writing novels at least) always found easy.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure – this is from the start of my currently untitled historical fiction. It includes some time travel, so this part is set in the current day.
Carrie slammed the car door so hard I was surprised it didn’t smash right out the other side. She bent and adjusted her hair in the wing mirror, then turned on her cork wedges and stomped down the path towards the Visitors Centre, her face like thunder. I climbed slowly out after her, shoving my phone into my pocket, my face probably an exact replica of hers.
There hadn’t been an option of not coming here today. Dad had been firm. Carrie and I were not going to spend the day sitting in a stuffy hotel room, listening to him, Mum and Josh throw up.
For the first time in, like, ever, Carrie and I agreed with each other. We both wanted to get this visit over as quickly as we could so we had to spend as little time together as possible. Only difference was, Carrie planned to go to the nearest mall when we were done while I wanted to go anywhere but.
“Carrie.” She turned at the sound of her name, walking backwards. She was way overdressed for a walk in the forest. Her light turquoise sun dress clung tightly to her waist and breasts, falling loosely from her hips. The designer sunglasses that she probably couldn’t afford, were pushed up on her head, and a tiny turquoise purse hung from one shoulder. Anyone that looked at her would realize that coming here wasn’t what Carrie had planned to do when she got dressed this morning.
“Let’s just…” I shrugged. “Let’s just go back to the hotel.”
She shook her head and turned around, calling over her shoulder. “No way am I sitting around there waiting to catch the ‘flu. Plus we’ve paid for parking.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
At the moment, all of it. Somedays the writing just flows, comes so easy I hardly have to think. At the moment that ain’t happening. Every time I sit down to write is a struggle and I’m constantly second guessing myself. I know it will pass. I just have to keep writing.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
As I mentioned earlier, Sara Donati. Her books make you feel as if you are there with the characters, living in a time and place you’ve never been before. In my own genre (young adult) my favorite writers are Cassandra Clare and Lauren Kate – I love the escapism of their novels.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Deron Douglas from Double Dragon Publishing designed the cover for Into Darkness and Rachel Bostwick designed the cover for In the Cool Light of Dawn.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing, editing and more editing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That once I set my mind at something I keep going until I’m finished. It would have been easy to stop half way through, but by then I’d decided I wanted to be a published author, so I kept going.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Write every day and don’t give up. If you’re not sure about something, write it anyway – you can always change it in editing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for spending your hard earned money on my books! I love to hear from my readers so if any of you want to talk to me, please get in touch.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember reading and loving Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables books, and books by Judy Blume and Cynthia Voight and I can’t wait to share those books with my daughter.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids (sometimes at the same time!)
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why
Ummm, I’ve never really thought about it. Bestselling novelist perhaps? 😀
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading (don’t all writers say that?), playing squash, spending time with my kids.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much TV but I do love Game of Thrones. I like musicals, used to love watching Glee.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Chinese. Color: Pink. Music: Ed Sheeran
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Nothing. This is my dream job!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
In the Cool Light of Dawn
Amazon author page