Interview with Casey Hays, author of Arrow's Flight!

December 29, 2015

Why did you become a writer?

 

I'd wanted to write a book since I was a little girl, but I chose to become a teacher first. I was a high school English teacher for many years, and when the YA genre came about I fell in love with it! I introduced it to my students, and I suddenly realized I could do this. I could write a YA novel. And so.... I did. And then I wrote another and another... 

 

What inspires you to write?

 

Good writing inspires me to write. I read something worth reading, and I want to give back the same quality. 

 

When did you find yourself taking your craft seriously?

 

I left the classroom in 2008 to find a job that would allow me to pursue my writing. I wrote my first book in 2008, but it wasn't published until 2012.

 

How many books have you written, and what are their titles?

 

My debut novel, which came out in 2012, is The Cadence. It is a YA supernatural romance about a girl who can feel people's emotions with a single touch. Very fun to write. Then, I have my favorite project : The Arrow's Flight series. So far, it contains three novels: Breeder, The Archer, and Master. Master is scheduled for release on January 15. This series is a YA Christian Dystopian, which is really something to write, let me tell you! But... mission accomplished. The story follows Kate, a breeder from the only village left on Earth after the Fall, a war that decimated the world. My short story, Edge of a Promise is featured in the Dystopian anthology Prep for Doom, which released last June. It features 19 other authors, many of whom I got to meet at UtopYA Con this year. That was a fun project! I plan to write a couple novellas in my series to round some things off. I'm also working on my next supernatural romance which is based on the legend of the Phoenix. 

 

 Who is your favorite character from your book(s), and why? 

 

That's a tough one. They all kind of become my children, but I'd have to say Kate is probably my favorite with Ian a close second. I've lived with both of them in my head for the the past three years. They're like friends! 

 

Can you give us a picture of your writing journey, from the beginning to now? 

 

Well, when I first began seriously writing, I had great ideas and didn't quite know what to do with them. So I just wrote my first book. A straight plot with very little character development. It was like a skeleton that needed meat and muscle and ligaments and a heartbeat that was missing. I learned so much from my first publisher about "beefing up" my writing. So I took my first book and did just that. The second book was easier because I had begun to understand my craft; to see that the skill of writing was an art form and a piece of writing was a sculpture. I slowed down, and I enjoyed the experience of unfolding a story with all the components from the very beginning. The more time I take on a piece of work, the more beautiful it is. That was what I had to learn. So unlike many self-published authors, I have only about one piece of work released per year. I wish I was faster, but I'm just not. So I've decided to just accept what kind of writer I am and take my time making one piece of artwork at a time near perfect. 

 

What genres do you write in, and what would you like to write in the future? 

 

YA, Dystopian, Supernatural Romance, Christian Sci-Fi. I plan to write a modern day David and Bathsheba. In fact, 10 rough chapters are already written. I would love to write a Steam Punk novel. We'll see...

 

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

 

Probably learning how to make my characters come to life for my readers. If not my greatest accomplishment, it has been my greatest joy. I love when people tell me they feel like they know my characters like real people. 

 

Biggest challenge? 

 

Writing the final book in a series. That's tough because you want to follow your gut, but you have all these worries about satisfying a majority of your readers. So many people hate how a series ends. I'm sure I'll catch some of that criticism. That's scary! Plus, you can't make any consistency mistakes. You have to remember every detail from every book before this one and make sure they line up. It was truly one of the most difficult experiences of my writing career. 

 

How do you deal with writer's block? 

 

I stop writing and start thinking. For me, writing is only 10% of the job. The other 90% is thinking, talking to your characters, letting ideas stew in your head. I sometimes have to have a nice heart to heart with a character to get the ball rolling again. My characters tell the story, not me. So if they stop talking to me, I can't start writing again until they have more to say. Thinking... that's the key.

 

How do you handle marketing? What has worked? 

 

A huge support of my writing has come through the Facebook group, Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans. That is an amazing marketing tool. They are so supportive of Indie authors, and I have come to know many of them personally. I also follow Nick Stephenson's newletter, and he has great marketing tips, one being to start your own newsletter and always be ready to give away something in return for support. That is a tremendous tool. Goodreads is somewhat helpful along with Facebook, ebooklister, Choosy Bookworm, etc. 

 

What hasn't worked for marketing? 

 

Well, doing nothing has been my biggest stumbling block. I'm so busy writing and have no time for marketing. That will change with this final book coming out soon. I've also learned that free promotions are better than 99 cent promos. People want FREE. So I've learned to shove down my pride and give them one book free. Generally, I make sales off the sequels because of the generosity. :)

 

What's next for you? 

 

I plan to read a lot this next year. I've had very little time for that because of deadlines for the Arrow's Flight series.  

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

 

Thank you so much for this interview. Please check out my series: Arrow's Flight, and look for the final book in the series, Master, available in print and ebook on January 15. You can find out more about me and sign up for my newsletter at www.whisperingpages.com Thanks again! 

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