Monday, July 22, 2013

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Magic Crystals' Series Stephen Hayes

Stephen Hayes lives and writes in Melbourne, Australia. Having been born partially blind in 1986 and lost his limited vision in 2000, he started writing stories at the age of eight, winning the Harold Dickinson Memorial Australian Literary Competition for a short story about a haunted house at the age of eleven. He completed his first novella in Braille at fourteen and by sixteen, had completed the first draft of ‘The Seventh Sorcerer’.
Since 2002, Stephen has allowed his imagination to run wild with The Magic Crystals saga; sometimes pushing boundaries that today’s somewhat moral society deem to sweep under the carpet. Although classified as fantasy genre due mainly to the prominent magic component, Stephen’s writing also includes a good balance of drama, mystery, romance, humour, and he isn’t afraid to address controversial moral issues.

His latest books are The Seventh Sorcerer and Rock Haulter from The Magic Crystals Series.

Visit his website at

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

Because I love writing, I’m good at it, and I want to be doing something I love. What’s the point of wasting my time plodding away at a dead-end job that I don’t enjoy? Time is too precious to be whiled away like that. Writing is my passion, it’s one of a very small number of things I can do quite well, and I don’t have to depend on employers taking a chance on a blind bloke in order to get by. When you look at it like that, there was really no decision to be made.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I’m not aware of there being any perks; let me know what I’m missing out on, won’t you? As for the demands, I suppose it comes down to everything about the publishing process that isn’t the writing itself. It takes away from time I would rather spend writing, but since I’m going through a bit of a writer’s block at the moment anyway, I’m making the most of it.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I had a go at the old send-the-manuscript-around routine a couple of years ago, but only got a couple of responses and nothing to get excited about. Self-publishing is more appealing to me because rather than sitting back and hoping someone will take a chance on me and my work (I’m sensing a theme here), I can instead go out and make things happen for myself. Of course, I still need people to go and have a read of my books, so what are you waiting for? Oops, I’m getting off topic; don’t mind me and my shameless self-promotion. Anyway, the downside of self-publishing is obviously the amount of extra work required by the author, and the amount of money I needed to invest in the books. I don’t mind though, because if I do it right, the more I put into it, the more I’ll get out of it. I’m optimistic about it.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

The ones who read books are very supportive, while the ones who don’t probably won’t consider what I’m doing any kind of accomplishment until my books are made into movies. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but even so, sometimes I think that people around me don’t realize the amount of time and work I’m putting into making this happen. Again, I don’t mind, because it’ll be worth it eventually.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

My guide dog has a way of sticking her nose under my arm and giving it a nudge when she wants my attention, but unfortunately for her, I have become expert at ignoring her when she pesters me while I’m trying to concentrate. I can make typing rather difficult when my arm is being moved around by an external source, though. Actually, she gets it pretty good really.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

That can be frustrating, but I deal with it the only way I can: I just go with it. The world doesn’t revolve around me and my writing, after all. I just make sure to finish the sentence or the paragraph, save my work and return to it at another time. I do have a little secret to minimizing interruptions, though: Work in the middle of the night. I’m a bit of a night owl, and I love how quiet the place is when I’m the only one awake. It’s a great way to free up the mind and let the ideas flow.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

This is more ironic than anything else, but a couple of years ago, when I first attempted to have The Seventh Sorcerer edited, it had to be canceled because the editor had a baby a couple of chapters in. I eventually got it edited by someone else a year later. Now, that’s something, but it gets better: Last year, I started having The Seventh Sorcerer produced as an audio book, but the process got interrupted a couple of chapters in because ... the narrator’s wife had a baby. No kidding! So, if you need to induce your labor, come and work with me for a bit and I’ll see what I can do.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I’m not very good at being active on social media—I’ll be the first to admit. I have a Twitter account which I never use, but feel free to follow me anyway because it gets updates from my Facebook page, which I do update from time to time. There’s also Goodreads, which although I haven’t worked out yet how to get the most out of it, is probably going to be the most useful for publicity. There are links to all of them on my website:

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

“Help! I’m stuck on the bloody roof again! Someone get a ladder!”

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

(Insert monosyllabic response here, LOL.) No, seriously, I guess it comes back to what I said earlier: It’s all worth it because I get to spend a good amount of my time doing what I love doing. It’s also worth it whenever I get positive feedback about my books, and it’s always great to hear people speculating about what might be coming next in The Magic Crystals series, or talking about the characters as though they’re real people, and knowing that I quite literally created all of those things. We all like to create something, whatever it is, and I think we all get a thrill to see it take shape.

Thanks for having me on here. I hope I was snarky enough for you. ;-)

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