For this weeks spotlight I got in touch with the lovely Casey Hays, She is the author of the dystopian sci-fi series Arrow's Flight and I was honoured to have her take up my offer of the spotlight and take part in our author interview.
Q: For those that are new to Casey Hays, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?
Casey: Sure! I am a former high school English teacher turned author. I now work full-time for a District Judge, so finding time to write is a real treasure for me. I have been married since I was 19 years old to an awesome guy. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last month, and we have a 19 year old son and 15 year old daughter. I live in Clovis, New Mexico, USA. I sing with our praise team at church, go to Zumba two to three times a week, snow ski every winter, and spend every summer vacationing at a beach.
My most popular work is The Arrow’s Flight Series: Breeder, The Archer, and Master. This is a unique YA Dystopian with a crossover element into Science Fiction and Christian genres.
Breeder: Arrow’s Flight 1, is set a little over 100 years after a world war decimated the earth. Specifically men are blamed for this, and the only remaining village has created its own way of preventing something so horrific from ever happening again. They turn their men into “stock” and use them for one purpose: to breed. When 16 year old Kate comes of age, her fate has been chosen: breeder. But Kate has never quite resigned to this duty that will force her to sacrifice her body for the sake of the Village. Thus, her own private rebellion against Fate, the brutal council leader, and the Village itself begins. Readers will meet a strong-willed protagonist, an unlikely love interest, and numerous other endearing characters to fall in love with. The series touches on friendships, love, heartache and spiritual awareness, and balances action-packed scenes against calm touching moments that, I hope, make my readers teary-eyed.
Q: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Casey: Since being inspired by my third grade teacher, I’ve always been a writer and a teacher of writing. But I didn’t become truly serious about making a career of in until my mid-30s when I decided to leave education. Believe it or not, what really sparked my desire was the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I love her first and third books especially, and also her stand alone The Host. After I finished reading New Moon, I thought “I could do this!” And so… I did.
Q: Do you need peace and quiet to write or do you have a playlist to keep you going? If you do, would you share it with us?
Casey: Depending on my mood, I need both. There are times when too much noise in my head prevents me from connecting with my characters’ voices, so I have to shut everything down and just listen in the quiet. But most of the time, I need music, as many authors do. And fun fact… I’m a hard rock and metalhead girl, so my playlists are filled with bands like, Skillet, Disciple, Papa Roach, Bring Me the Horizon, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Demon Hunter, Hinder, Nothing More, Disturbed, and the list goes on. I will say that last year I came across a band called Secondhand Serenade that blew me away with its beautiful love songs. Not hard rock by any means, but I’m versatile. The lyrics are amazing, and I’ve since used that band to help with certains scenes where love is showcased. Here’s an example of some of their lyrics:
~Take a look at me so you can see how beautiful you are.
~Hold your breath, because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you.
~I was born to tell you I love you.
~You make it hard to smile because you make it hard to breathe.
These touch my romantically inclined heart!
Q: Are you characters always a complete work of fiction or is there an element of someone you know to start the idea rolling?
Casey: A complete work of fiction, but I’m sure many of them are more than likely based on some preconceived notion I have about people I know. Mostly, they just crop up in my imagination and start talking.
Q: What are you experiences of being an Indie Author, do you find that social media is a help of a distraction to your writing?
Casey: It’s both really. One of the reasons I have been somewhat successful is because of my social media contacts, mostly through Facebook. I met you, for instance through a Facebook group. I’ve built a following of readers due to my involvement with Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans. I attended two years of Utopia Con and made lifelong friends with Indie authors and readers because I heard about the Con through social media. I’ve met so many wonderful authors and editors and PAs and graphic designers because I stay connected.
When it comes time to write, however, I have to be diligent to stay off my phone and my tablet, because the constant connection is very distracting. When everything is just a push of a button away, it’s hard to concentrate if I don’t force myself to stay focused.
Q: What are you currently working on or is it a secret?
Casey: No secrets here! I just finished revising The Scent of Lilac, the first of three novellas planned for The Arrow’s Flight Series. This one is told from Mia’s point of view. She is a supporting character and Kate’s best friend in Breeder. So… my readers will get to return to the Village to find out what’s been going on. They will also get a more intimate look at Mia. Many readers didn’t care for her before. This is her chance to redeem herself. :) Molly Phipps, author of the Project W.A.R. series (M.A. Phipps) is designing my book cover which will release on August 27. I can’t wait to see it! And the book releases on September 17 with Band of Dystopian hosting my book launch for anyone who would like to come! I’d love to see you there!
Q: You took part in the Anthology Prep For Doom, what was it like working with so many other authors in that way, especially as there were crossovers in some of the stories?
Casey: That was probably one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I’ve had as an author. And to be included among such talent was quite a privilege. I had the honor of collaborating my story with Myra Lang (aka Kate Corcino). I wrote my story from a teenaged girl’s perspective, and Myra took on my character’s boyfriend’s story. We had a great time working to blend our details together. And then we got the surprise of having our characters appear again in another author’s story. Myra and the editing team were the only ones I closely worked with on the project. But we did get to Beta read all the stories once they were revised, and we had a private group on Facebook where we interacted with each other, guessed who wrote what, and had many laughs. Since then, I’ve personally met seven of the 20 authors, and I consider many of them good friends now.
Q: If you could be any character you have written, who would you choose?
Casey: Hmmm… I think I’d have to say Claudia. She is introduced in Master: Arrow’s Flight 3, and she is a real gem. She’s one of the most forgiving characters I’ve ever written, and she truly is amazing.
Q: What are you currently reading?
Casey: I’ve been between reads due to revising, but I’m planning to pick up book two in the Ren series by Sarah Noffke this weekend. That is an amazing series about a snarky Dream Traveling Brit named Ren Lewis who you can’t help but fall in love with. It’s brilliant! And to think that a girl from Texas was able to capture his voice right down to the accent is mind blowing. I highly recommend it!
Q: Fictional Dinner Party - give me 5 fictional characters or authors who you would have as dinner companions!
Casey: I love this question! I think I would invite Justin from my series to be my escort. He’s hunky and kind of brooding and super sweet. Katniss Everdeen would be there. It wouldn’t be a party without Ren Lewis to insult us all. And Sarah Noffke would have to be his date to keep him in line… hehehe! And finally, I would ask one of my favorite authors of all time, Anya Seton, author of Katherine and The Green Darkness. But we would have to hold a seance for that to happen, because she’s dead… haha!
Thank you so much Casey! I'm excited for your next book, so I will be sure to see you at the release party!