The Writer’s Desk with Emily Hayse
Emily Hayse is a lover of log cabins, strong coffee, NASCAR, and the smell of old books. Her writing is fueled by good characters and a lifelong passion for storytelling. When she is not busy turning words into worlds, she can often be found baking, singing, or caring for one of the many dogs and horses in her life. She lives with her family in Michigan. Be sure to visit her on her website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for her newsletter.
Q&A with Emily Hayse
TG: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
EH: I’m a careful driver. All the itty-bitty safety laws, I follow them.
TG: Where did you get the inspiration for Seventh City?
EH: It was a mixture of many things. When the idea hit I had just read a story about conquistadors looking for El Dorado (The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell) and the Iditarod had just finished and I was going through the post-race blues. I was working through some things in my life that required a lot of courage from me and I was listening to King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men which is largely about facing fears. Then I had the thought cross my mind that the north had had their own share of gold rushes and mines and that it would interesting if someone set an El Dorado legend in the north. I had grown up with stories and videos of Alaska, so it was very much part of my childhood, and all the pieces just sort of clicked into place: a girl whose life is turned upside down by invaders looking for gold and has to face her worst fears.
TG: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
EH: I like to have music in my ears and coffee next to me when I write. I’ve kind of trained myself to get in the zone when those two things are in place. And when I start a new story I usually create a Word document, a notepad for notes, a playlist, and a Pinterest board and those help me form the story at the beginning and give me something to go back to if I take a break.
TG: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
EH: Find out what system or routine works for you creatively and don’t be afraid to experiment to find it. And set yourself deadlines and learn to stick to them. Learning to write whether or not you’re in the mood will take you a long way in becoming productive.
TG: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
EH: Coffee and La Croix are my go-to drinks and I usually find unique snacks for my different projects. However, cheese and crackers, shortbread, and Oreos are some of my reoccurring favorites.
TG: How do you overcome writer’s block?
EH: Rest, exercise, good movies, good music. Also, I look at the manuscript and see if I took a wrong turn in the plot or in a character arc because I find that many times forcing the story in a direction it wasn’t meant to go is the quickest way to grind it to a halt.
TG: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
EH: A little bit of both. I do just enough to keep the manuscript tidy, I fix typos and tweak wording or will occasionally redo a scene I don’t like, but not enough to slow down my forward momentum. I don’t like coming back to a really messy manuscript.
TG: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
EH: I don’t know about the most common, but something I’ve noticed a lot is rushing the process or expecting results fast. Writing and publishing is a long game and if you don’t take time to really just fall in love with it and enjoy it, you’ll probably get burned out on it pretty quickly.
TG: What is the best piece of writing advice you’re ever received?
EH: Just don’t quit. Authors are always learning and growing and changing in their craft. If you keep going, you’ll probably turn out to be a pretty good writer.
TG: What is coming up next for you?
EH: The final book in my western fantasy King Arthur trilogy, In the Glorious Fields, releases March 29th! I love the western genre and getting to put it together with the King Arthur legends and a touch of fantasy has been a blast.
Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Seventh City.*
*Due to shipping costs, the giveaway for the physical copy is open to US mailing addresses only.
More about Seventh City:
All her life, thirteen-year-old Maki has heard tales of the legendary city of gold, buried deep in the northern frontier. But when her village is burned and her brother captured by cruel invaders, the legend becomes desperately real.
Armed with a wolf-dog and a heart of courage, Maki sets out on a journey that will demand all her strength and cunning. She is determined to bring her brother home at all costs. Yet as her quest leads her deep into a wilderness of ancient dangers, Maki realizes that even for her, some prices are too high to pay.