IndieView with Christy Hayes, author of The Accidental Encore

I love to write and put the stories in my head on paper, but nothing about the process is what I’d call easy.

Christy Hayes 21 July 2012

The Back Flap

Long after crushing heartbreak turned Craig Archer away from women, he calls on beautiful piano teacher Allie Graves when he’s left for two weeks to watch his niece and all hell breaks loose. Their unlikely friendship fuels an attraction they both attempt to stifle.

Optimistic Allie continues her search for love despite a disastrous relationship and a string of bad dates. She never expects to be tempted by a guy like Craig; he’s rude, crude, and his rough edges are sharp enough to draw blood.

The sparks from their smoldering attraction threaten to ignite a tortured past Craig has worked hard to smother. Allie’s fears that a relationship with Craig will end in heartbreak are about to come true when their passion forces an encore that could make or break their chance for a future.

About the book

What is the book about?

Long after crushing heartbreak turned Craig Archer away from women, he calls on beautiful piano teacher Allie Graves when he’s left for two weeks to watch his niece and all hell breaks loose. Their unlikely friendship fuels an attraction they both attempt to stifle.

Optimistic Allie continues her search for love despite a disastrous relationship and a string of bad dates. She never expects to be tempted by a guy like Craig; he’s rude, crude, and his rough edges are sharp enough to draw blood.

The sparks from their smoldering attraction threaten to ignite a tortured past Craig has worked hard to smother. Allie’s fears that a relationship with Craig will end in heartbreak are about to come true when their passion forces an encore that could make or break their chance for a future.

When did you start writing the book?

I started this book in January 2012 after the release of The Sweetheart Hoax.

How long did it take you to write it?

Five months.

Where did you get the idea from?

My daughter takes piano from a beautiful (happily married, mother of two) piano teacher and watching her with the kids at the recital sparked an idea.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I’m not a plotter and I always know the beginning and end of a story. The middle always causes a few moments of pause.

What came easily?

I love to write and put the stories in my head on paper, but nothing about the process is what I’d call easy.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

As I mentioned before, I based the piano teacher slightly on my daughter’s teacher.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I read a variety of authors and genres, but I do love Nora Roberts. She has a way with description that is unmatched and her heroes are very manly and very human. Two other favorites are Maggie O’Farrell and Marisa de los Santos.

Do you have a target reader?

Women who crave romance in a realistic setting. All romance has a HEA ending, but I try to examine all facets of my characters’ emotional arc in a way that doesn’t make the reader roll their eyes.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

My life revolves around my kids’ schedules. I’m a mom first, a writer second and that never varies. I have an office at home and I write whenever I get the chance—usually when they are in school or early in the morning.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I’ll jot down a few notes, usually while I’m working on another book. If I had to do an outline, I’d stifle my creative process.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Because there are hours between my writing sessions, I tend to go back and reread what I’ve written to get back into the story. I typically write pretty clean the first draft. I let it sit for a week or two before going back over the finished product and then send it off to my editor for hire.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t dare publish a book without using one.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

No music. I have to listen to the words in my head.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I had just finished my sixth manuscript and was about to begin the agent quest for that manuscript when I decided to self publish. I always queried agents and editors while writing the next book. I usually ended up querying around 50 agents before I had another book ready to query. The process was necessary and yet very frustrating.

What made you decide to go Indie? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I read an article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch where she said the only person who can define success is you. That hit home for me and I decided to take a chance on self-publishing. My only interest in writing was to get the stories out to readers and hopefully strike a chord.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?

I’ve done one myself, and used three different cover designers for my books. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find the images and then let the designers work their magic.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Totally winging it. I’ve collected names for a newsletter, I do some blog posts, and query reviewers. Then I start the next book.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

I never traditionally published, but the process of querying agents and editors was invaluable. You need to have tough skin and be able to take criticism and advice in regards to your work. I’d never recommend any writer to skip that process.

About You

I’m a stay-at-home mother of two with a wonderful husband and two rough and tumble dogs.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up along the East coast.

Where do you live now?

My husband and I call Atlanta home.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I donate a portion of all proceeds to the charities listed on my website homepage. I’m proud to support these wonderful organizations.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just started a three book series. The first book will feature the son from Shoe Strings as he becomes a fishing guide in Colorado and catches more than he bargained for in the Wild West.

End of Interview:

For more from Christy visit her website or blog. Be a fan on Goodreads or follow her on twitter.

Get your copy of The Accidental Encore from Amazon US (eBook or Paper), Amazon UK (eBook or Paper), Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

2 responses to “IndieView with Christy Hayes, author of The Accidental Encore

  1. I was interested to hear you say not to skip the agent process. I haven’t done that, but I always heard you didn’t get a lot of feedback merely from querying. So why is this an important step? It seems quite time-consuming, so I wouldn’t want to do it without a good reason. Good luck with the book! A rough around the edges hero sounds great.

    • Carly,
      This step was crucial for me in toughening my skin and in learning patience. If you have any thoughts of pursuing a traditional publishing contract, you need to become familiar with the pace with which the industry functions. I was fine with the pace when I didn’t have options. It was my training ground for publishing on my own. If new writers jump into self publishing without vetting their work, they may be disappointed. However, in reading my response, you are right. I’m not sure I gave the correct advice. I would instead recommend for new writers to pay a developmental editor or enter contests for feedback and skin toughening. Thanks for calling me out, Carly. What worked for me a few years ago doesn’t necessarily apply in the wildly changing publishing environment.

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