Interview with L.J. Hayward

Published 2014-08-18.
What do you read for pleasure?
Okay, serious answer... good books!
All right, real serious answer... My all time favourite pleasure reads are anything by my favourite authors, including Jim Butcher, Nick Harkaway, Manna Francis, Mike (M.R.) Carey and Richard Kadrey. My favourite genres are urban fantasy, fantasy, action, a bit of science fiction, some crime and, lately, a bit of MM.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on my iPad Mini. It's a great size and if the book isn't grabbing me, I can always flip over to a game of Shark Dash!! Bit harsh on the fingers on a cold winter night, though. ;)
Describe your desk
Pine, four legs, three draws... It was given to me by my mum, who stencilled cats on it for me.
But I guess that's not really what the question is about, huh? I think it's prompting me to describe my writing environment, which would be spot on if I wrote at the desk. Sometimes, very rarely these days, I do write at the desk, but more often than not, I'm on the couch with the lap top. Gives me the option of several sitting positions, is much more comfortable for long sessions and is close to the remotes for the TV and various attached devices. ;)
I'm going to digress here for a moment and mention that Sharknado is currently on telly. What a crazy movie. Did it come before Prometheus or after it? The whole donut spaceship/ferris wheel bits are too similar to not be a homage, right?
Back to the question, which isn't really a question, more a prompt. Okay! So, I'm on the couch with the lap top. Generally I have music playing, my iPod on endless shuffle, sometimes I select an artist (Muse or Eskimo Joe or Incubus), whatever, so long as there is something playing in the background. All things going swell, there'll be some sweet creativity going on.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about four or five At least that's when I think I learned to write. Spelling good came a lot later.
As for writing fiction, that came later than grade one, but well before I learned to spell. I always enjoyed a creative writing exercise in high school. Hated scientific writing in uni, though. Not enough room for drama or humour or unicorns. But even before I began writing stories down on paper (oh yes, kids, I'm THAT old) I was writing them in my head. Serious writing started around the mid-twenties. Good writing started around the early thirties. Even better writing is still in progress. ;)
What's the story behind your latest book?
So, Sharknado is still on. I think my favourite bit is the superlative special effects. Surprisingly, my latest book has a bit in common with Sharknado. No, seriously! Sharknado has sharks and "Demon Dei" has sharks! For a bit, right at the start. They're in the ocean, not falling out of the sky, but still, sharks!
On to the serious answer, though... "Demon Dei" is the sequel to my first book, "Blood Work", an urban fantasy about a rather normal guy and his vampire sidekick. The idea behind "Demon Dei" was how people deal with the consequences of the decisions they make. A kid who doesn't understand the consequences of what he does and the person he grows up to be. A guy whose ability to make rational decisions is taken away by a force beyond his control but leaves him with the results of them all the same. A demon without the freedom to make her own choices. It's also an urban fantasy and a bit of a murder mystery, with some action and fun bits thrown in for good measure.
Having to deal with the consequences of our decisions is something we can all relate to, especially the dudes behind Sharknado. Am I right??
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting the voices in my head to shut up.
Believe it or not, that is the serious answer. While there's a story percolating in the brain, it writes itself in my head in those times I'm away from the computer. I'm always racing ahead of the written/typed word, imagining scenes well before I get to writing them. Putting the words on the screen is like exorcising the demons.
Running a very close second, is learning that I've entertained someone and given them a bit of pleasure.
What are you working on next?
This interview. Honestly, it's like an exam.
I'm also working on not laughing at Sharknado. "Six people went into the water. One little girl came out." That's not a homage, that's a rip off!
Right. Currently I'm working on Night Call #3. It's a bit of a slog with wily characters thinking they're real, with real lives and a right to a say in how I use and abuse them.
Oh dear. "We're gonna need a bigger chopper."
Anyway, there's this BFF (big fat fantasy) I have that I'm trying to decide if it's worthy for public consumption, as well. What do you think? Would you like to read about a crazy Bone Mage (think doctor) in the middle of a war he has an ethical and moral objection to. To heal with his magic, he has to suffer his patient's wounds and pain, so what can he do when confronted with a man who can't die and the possibility of using his skills to kill? There's magic and guns and swords and dirigibles, too. Sound interesting?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah. I believe I wrote it while staying with my grandmother. It was about Easter and was written in crude pictographs. I was three, I reckon. Stapler-binding was the format of choice (way, way, way before the advent of the ebook).
First story with words (and pictures) was about a trip to the moon (I included the exhaustive research I did on the matter by saying it took three days to get there). Sadly, the trip was cut short when a puddle of blood was discovered on the moon, so the characters had to leave before the murderous aliens found them. Nail bitting stuff!
What is your writing process?
Here's an answer I prepared earlier...
Sorry, apparently I can't do a hyperlink here. Or I'm not smart enough to know how to do it.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order...

#1, "Storm Front" - Jim Butcher. Why? It introduced me to Butcher and the idea that urban fantasy didn't have to be all tough, sarcastic chicks kicking butt and taking names. It could also be tough, sarcastic guys kicking butt and chewing gum.

#2, "The Wasp Factory" - Iain M Banks. Why? Because! Seriously, that's really all that needs to be said. A freaky, cool, terrifying, funny (don't admit in polite company you found it funny in places, though) romp through the psyche of an under-aged serial killer. Seriously. Because, dude.

#3, "The Little Prince" - Antoine de Saint Expurey. Why? Because! Seriously, that's really all that needs to be said. The perfect cure for "The Wasp Factory". Heartbreaking, pure, beautiful.

#4, "Lord of the Flies" - William Golding. Why? Because there has to be one classic, right? And I didn't like Lord of the Rings or any of the Brontes. Honestly, though, this was the only book I read for school that I really enjoyed.

#5, "Pawn of Prophesy" - David Eddings. Why? Yeah, it's dated now and rather juvenile in content and execution, but for a first ever fantasy, it's perfect. It introduced me to the genre and it's safe to say without Eddings, I wouldn't be writing this interview now, and you wouldn't be reading it and hopefully contemplating reading something I've written. So, thank you, David Eddings. I'll always cherish those days I first fell in love with your books.
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