Originally published 2016-03-03: Embracing the Darkness with Katherine Hayton | Author Interview
If you go to her website, Katherine Hayton’s tagline explains it all: Crime. Murder. Death. My Pleasure.
Katherine’s work is dark and mysterious. Such gems as Skeletal and Found, Near Water I devoured and reviewed quickly. Her blog is hilarious, and holds such gems as “Adventures in the Air” (why she’s afraid of chairs), “Scouting for Interest” (on the torture involved in the Kindle Scout program), and “Insomnia” (in which she proves why the internet can do more harm than good.)
I had a chance to catch up with her recently (after winning her first three books in a mystery book giveaway – woo!), and got some amusing answers to the kinds of questions we all have. Or not. I’m not really sure what other people wonder about authors.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
In planes and buses. Staring out windows and not thinking of anything in particular tends to attract new ideas to fill up the empty void. I can sit at a desk and stare at a piece of blank paper without being able to think of a single way out of a plot-hole, or a better way of handling a dead scene, but if I’m travelling somewhere they just come.
Do you write about what turns you on?
If I was turned on by anything that I write about I would need to be locked up for a million years and then some. That’s disgusting, and I resent the implication, although I did mention food a few times in the last one. I’m quite turned on by food. Just eating it, you understand, not rolling about naked in it on the floor or anything like that. Normal food turn-on stuff. I’m normal. Normal.
Would you call yourself a romantic?
Ahhhh, no. I’m a realist. A realist who would actually appreciate it if her partner bought her flowers for her birthday or her anniversary or just because once in a while. But not in a romantic way. In a ‘look at what I got while you received nothing you bunch of losers. In Your Face!’ kind of way. Maybe I’m a competitive romantic?
What part of the writing process do you dread?
Which bit am I working on now? That bit. That bit sucks the bomb.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Breathe and Release is about a woman who wakes in hospital with amnesia, and the parallel story of a woman who is being held captive in an underground cell. Can she remember in time? Can she escape her prison? Can everyone hold their breath long enough to get to the end of the book?
All these and other questions can be answered by purchasing a copy at Amazon.
Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
I haven’t – I spend most of my time alone with a virtual me in my head that I hold debates with and pedantically lecture about stuff I’ve just learned, so there’s no room in there for an imaginary friend.
I did have very strongly held beliefs for a long time that there were imaginary ghosts and evil spirits lurking everywhere in the house as soon as it got dark (which made sleeping a very troubling activity), but luckily I’ve grown up to embrace the darkness as something to hide what I’m getting up to!
Do you have any phobias?
I don’t have any true phobias but I definitely don’t get on with spiders. Why do they have so many legs? Why do they have so many eyes? Why do they always sneak about and hide in corners? I’d rather have the insects, thanks. I’ve got fly-spray.
I don’t know what they think they’re doing, scrabbling across the walls all the time and getting in your face and stuff. Every time I see a spider it’s never full on, I always catch them out of the corner of my eye so they give me a hell of a fright. What’s that about, eh? Stupid things.
What is your favorite quote and why?
It’s never too late to be the person you always wanted to be. – George Elliot
I think I like it because I’ve started again later in life to try to make something of myself, and this saying reminds me that I can keep doing that until I’m dead.
What are four things you can’t live without?
Holidays, reading, writing, WiFi.
Even attempt to take one of those things away from me and I’ll cut your hand off. With a spoon.
What is your dream home?
I always thought I’d like to live in a mansion, and then we rented a mansion (by accident and cheaply because the actual home we wanted to rent was unavailable after we paid for it) and I’ve gone off them since then. They’re just like normal houses, but it takes you far longer to get anywhere and you really have to think before you set off for the other end of the house.
Do I really want to go to the ballroom? Aren’t I better off just staying here in my bedroom suite, with its own walk-in room for a wardrobe and a spa-bath next door to the bathroom, and the small lounge that leads directly out to the pool? Why would you walk 300m across the house to the kitchen when the kitchenette would do fine?
We ended up mainly living in a few rooms close together, and as a result I’m now into tiny houses. I’d need to rent a garage to store all the stuff I manage to accumulate, but they’re so cute.
If you could be any literary character, who would you choose to be?
Patrick Bateman, because I’ve always wanted to stuff a cat into an ATM.
Okay, and maybe one murder just to try it out. Wait, maybe two. What if the first one didn’t work out and I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it? Make it three. I get to change back at the end right?
I’m not sure I’d want to stay like this forever. I’d run out of drycleaners.
What is the first curse word that comes to mind, and how often do you use it?
Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Often. Although I don’t say it out loud nearly as often as my head provides it.
I don’t curse much at all, really. You want to show some sort of restraint with swearing, it gives it much more emotional power when you do let loose. I usually save it up for situations involving far more physical pain than my low thresholds are used to, or when someone scares the shit bejesus out of me. My characters could learn a bit of a lesson from that.
They swear far more often than I do. But they swear far less than I think it.
What is your favorite season and why?
Winter is my favourite season. It starts off all dark and cold, there’s the possibility of the most magical weather such as snow and frosts. We have a lot of cold mornings and beautiful sunny days in Christchurch, so as long as you bundle up tight, the weather still looks good.
Then you progress past the longest day and you have the opportunity to notice that the mornings aren’t as dim when you head off to work, and the evenings don’t get dark as quickly. Then the daffodils will push up from the ground and announce that no matter how cold you are now there’s imminent promise of warmer weather to come.
By the end of August, all the trees will be starting to blossom, and the daffodils will be in full bloom, and the ducklings will start to appear. Forget spring – end of winter is when it’s all happening.
Death and rebirth all in one season.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a novel about a girl who is separated from her siblings and sent to live with her aunt after her mother’s death. While there, she discovers a stockpile of old letters that appear to have been written to her aunt from a suitor one hundred years in the past.
*Spoiler Alert* It involves time travel and drag queens. At least it does at the moment; who can tell what will be left in the end?
Katherine Hayton Online:
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