The Writing Life of: Carrie Hayes
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Carrie Hayes. Carrie Hayes will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her book ‘Naked Truth: Or Equality, The Forbidden Fruit‘, which was released on 29th February 2019 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Over the years, Carrie Hayes has tried a lot of things. She’s sold vacuum cleaners, annuities and sofas. She’s lived at the beach and lived in Europe. She’s taught school and worked in film. For a while, she was an aspiring librarian, but she fell in love and threw her life away instead.
Back in the States, she started over, then met an architect who said, “Why don’t you become a kitchen designer?” So, she did. Eventually she designed interiors, too. And all that time, she was reading. What mattered was having something to read. Slowly, she realized her craving for books sprang from her need to know how things would turn out. Because in real life, you don’t know how things will turn out. But if you write it, you do. Naked Truth or Equality the Forbidden Fruit is her first book.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
I wanted to be an actress, or else, possibly, the U.S. President.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
When I was reading children’s books, it was Laura Ingalls Wilder, then I morphed into loving Anya Seton.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I really wanted to be a writer only about 5 or 6 years ago.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
I used to get up before dawn to write. Now the writing begins in the afternoon, usually around 1.30 or two.
Since publishing Naked Truth, so much of the first hour or so is spent keeping up with correspondence and attempting to get a handle on the to-do list of putting a book out in the world, that the ‘writing part’ usually only kicks into gear after 3 or so….
About word count- I read somewhere that a writer I liked (I don’t remember who) keeps writing until they know what is going to happen next, before they leave their desk for the day. It’s a practice which I find really helpful.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
I have written only the one! And yes, I have tons and tons of unpublished material….
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I really, really try to be a plotter. Invariably though, I end up pantsing. Plotting, like dieting, remains a constant aspiration in my life!
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – HTPH Press
Pages – 324
Release Date – 29th February 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-0578229102
Format – ebook, paperback
From Washington Heights to Washington D.C. comes a true American Herstory. Filled with intrigue, lust, and betrayal, this is the fight for sexual equality.
1868, on the eve of the Gilded Age: Spiritualist TENNESSEE CLAFLIN is smart, sexy, and sometimes clairvoyant. But it’s her sister, VICTORIA WOODHULL, who is going to make history as the first woman to run for President of the United States.
It starts with the seduction of the richest man in America. Next, they’ll take New York City and the suffragist movement by storm, because together, Tennessee and Victoria are a force of nature. Boldly ambitious, they stop at nothing, brushing shoulders with Harriet Beecher Stowe and Susan B. Anthony, using enough chutzpah to make a lady blush.
That is, until their backstabbing family takes them to court, and their carefully spun lives unravel, out in public and in the press.
Told from shifting points of view and using actual news reportage from the era, Naked Truth or Equality is a riveting inside look into the struggle for women’s rights after the Civil war.
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
I discovered my protagonists in a biography called “Other Powers” by Barbara Goldsmith. Their story left me in a state of – well, wonder, is the only word for it, really. So then I found another biography, entitled “Mrs. Satan”, and then from there, it became a question of just finding everything I could get my hands on to start fleshing out the story. A lot of the material on the sisters is surrounded by rumor and innuendo, which made things tricky.
When the story started coming together, I decided to rely very heavily on the newspaper pieces about them from that time. The sisters in my book really courted the press, and became newspaper publishers, themselves. My dad was a journalist and many of the adults I grew up around were also in journalism – so there was an aspect of learning about the family business, as it were.
I so wish that these people whom I had shrugged off while growing up were still alive. It would have been invaluable to learn what they really were thinking while events they were writing about unfolded….
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
Four years and change.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
Originally, it was called Spirited Away. My writing group STRONGLY advised against it because of a much loved anime film with the same name. Then it became The Naked Truth, which is the title of one of Victoria’s speeches – ie The Naked Truth or The Situation Reviewed! Rather naively, it didn’t occur to me that there are a gazillion books with the same title, and that some of them are on the rather racy side, too.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Well, if they find their way into the book, and if they manage to stay there during the countless revisions, it’s because I have a genuine fondness and appreciation for them – even if they do dastardly things. One of those who is closest to my heart is the sisters’ father, Buck. He must have been an absolute rascal, if not a horrible father. But he was also someone who undoubtedly really loved and believed in his daughters. He had five of them. All of them had enough chutzpah to remarry after their first marriages fell apart. This is at a time when divorce was very, very controversial. That they had the faith and optimism to have second marriages, is pretty extraordinary, I think. It also says a lot about the environment which they grew up in.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I went through a process of elimination, often referred to as the rejection process. I first finished the book in 2016 and sent it out, spending the next two years trying to take in feedback, rewriting it and then sending it out again. I pressed the ‘publish’ button on Amazon’s KDP on February 29th of 2020. Because it is based on electoral politics, I felt that it should be out in the world for this election, which is happening right now. When it appeared that no one wanted it, I asked myself what my protagonists would do. They would have published it themselves, no doubt about it. So I did.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
I am working on their sequel, which is called A Well Dressed Lie. It is about their lives in London, after they left the United States.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
To grant the world comfortable shoes for everyone’s feet, family tables filled with delicious bountiful feasts, farms with abundant harvests, animals with land and forests to roam, icebergs re-frozen and pure drinking water wherever needed.
2) Do you have any pets?
The dog always shows up to write. The cat prefers going further a field.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
“In spite of myself”
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
I would play either Mrs Roosevelt or Mrs William Vanderbilt (two snooty women)
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Bermuda, right now today – I am visiting with my daughter here, seeing her for the first time since the pandemic!!!! And it is so beautiful here, it’s SHOCKING.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
“Have you got any corn?”
I would like to say a big thank you to Carrie Hayes for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.