A Peek at the Creative Space of Christine Hayes
Joining us for Creative Spaces is Christine Hayes, author of the middle-grade mystery, Mothman’s Curse. If you have young readers in your life who love a good spooky story, hand them a copy of this book! Kirkus gave it a starred review and said, “An ectoplasmic extravaganza…tailor-made for reading beneath the bedcovers.”
Here’s a summary of the plot from Christine’s website:
Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but the only strange thing she ever sees is the parade of oddball customers that comes through her family’s auction house each week. But when she and her brothers discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, they are drawn into a mystery dating back over a hundred years. A desperate spirit, cursed jewelry, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life.
This month Christine is doing a giveaway with fantastic prizes called #31scaresandshares. Every day she is posting something spooky or Halloween related to her Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. For every post you share with the hashtag #31sharesandscares, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of her book and a Mothman plushie, or a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card.
To learn more about Christine Hayes and her books, visit her website. Scroll to the bottom of this interview to watch the book trailer for Mothman’s Curse.
Describe your workspace.
The office is my favorite room in the house. It’s where I keep most of my favorite antiques and vintage finds. Vintage shopping is a passion of mine (bordering on obsession!), but it’s also a huge source of inspiration. I don’t always write at my desk, but it’s a really cozy spot with a nice, solid door. Sometimes locking myself in the office is the only way to let the family know that Mom seriously needs to get some writing done.
Describe a typical workday.
Random! I work part-time, so I try to squeeze in writing time on my days off or in the evenings. Sometimes I’ll write in a notebook in the car while waiting to pick up my daughter from music lessons. It’s hard for me to be productive if I don’t spend at least 30 minutes writing (gotta get “in the zone,” I guess), but I also tend to fade after working for more than three hours at a stretch. That seems to be my tipping point.
List three of your most favorite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.
1. A folk-style painting of a woman holding a book. I bought it at the shop where I first started as an antiques dealer. I adore it, but my husband has nicknamed her “Creepy.” Somehow that makes me love it even more!
2. My desk, which we bought on eBay while living in the Philippines. It’s a huge, midcentury monstrosity and when I sit behind it I feel like I’m doing Important Things.
3. A framed series of original artwork from my debut novel, Mothman’s Curse. My husband contacted the artist, James Hindle, to buy the art as a surprise Christmas gift. I cried happy tears when I opened it.
Do you have any rituals in your work habits? If so, describe them.
I prefer to write by hand, and there must always be Coke Zero close by.
What do you listen to while you work?
Movie soundtracks mostly. My favorite modern composers are Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. The music has these cinematic swells of emotion that dovetail nicely with the creative process.
What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?
Coke Zero. Also peanut M&Ms, but I had to give those up because I can never stop eating them!
What keeps you focused while you’re working?
Headphones and/or a closed door. Also deadlines.
Do you write longhand, on a computer, or another way?
Both, but prefer longhand.
How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use an outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?
Once a new idea comes to me, I may take a few notes, but will mostly let it rattle around in my head for a couple of weeks. It will begin to grow organically as different paths open up, as plot twists and characters begin to take shape. Then I like to get a chapter or two down on paper. After that I’ll do a simple outline to help guide the course of the story.
If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?
Wow! Great question! Do they have to be alive? I would choose C.S. Lewis or E.B. White—but I’d probably never get any work done, because I’d be too busy fangirling and asking for writing advice.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?
Follow your own voice. Don’t try to be anyone else. We all have a unique perspective on the world, and our own stories to tell.