Today, I have an interview with Heather Hayden. Why should you care? Heather is the driving force (largely) behind the Just-Us League Anthologies. If you aren’t familiar with them, here’s some cover art for you to see:
Fueled by chocolate and moonlight, Heather Hayden seeks to bring magic into the world through her stories.
A freelance editor by day, she pours heart and soul into her novels every night, spinning tales of science fiction and fantasy that sing of friendship and hope.
Heather’s other publications include Augment, a YA science fiction novel, and several short stories in the JL Anthology series. She is currently working on Upgrade, the sequel to Augment, as well as a gaslamp fantasy series titled Rusted Magic.
I asked Heather to give me some feedback on the newest of the anthologies A Bit of Magic.
Why did you choose to participate in this anthology?
I love writing fairy tale retellings, so when the opportunity came up for another fairy tale anthology, I hopped on board!
What short stories have you participated thus far in the JL anthologies, if any?
I’ve published a short story in each of the JL anthologies (Volumes I through V) so far, and I’m currently working on one for Volume VI, which will be released in October. I’ve written three fairy tale retellings, a superpowered science fiction short, and even a horror story!
This anthology contains fairy tale retellings and you retold the story of Puss and Boots. What inspired your retelling?
I’ve always loved “Puss in Boots”. However, it was Puss who captured my attention every time I read the tale–the miller’s boy always seemed so lazy and boring in comparison to a hat-wearing, sword-wielding cat! So I asked myself, “Why is the miller’s boy so lazy?” That’s when I realized it could be because he’s a daydreamer like me, someone whose talents lie outside the normal sphere of everyday life (I’m a writer; Pip’s a storyteller.) From there, my short story “Monsieur Puss” was born!
Did you stick closely to the fairy tale you rewrote?
Fairly close in some ways. However, there are a few things that are different… For one, Puss is very clear about how uncomfortable he finds his boots and hat! However, wearing them is all part of his plan, so he suffers through it for Pip’s sake (and his own).
Who did you write your story for?
Honestly? Myself. Readers who love a good fantasy story that stars a daydreamer and a cat will enjoy it, but I always write stories that I would enjoy reading.
However, the story is dedicated to Echo, a very sweet kitty who left her paw prints on my heart.
It’s a fun story that I enjoyed, but why should readers choose to read your story? What would draw someone to your retelling?
They should choose to read my story if they like fairy tale retellings, cats, adventure, storytelling, magic, or cats. Did I mention the cats? Puss’s scenes were my favorite when I wrote this story!
Do you prefer a happy ending? Will your readers see a happy ending to your tale?
Yes, I do prefer a happy ending. That does affect my writing, but the fairy tale I based my story on has a happy ending, so I didn’t need to worry about completely changing how the story goes.
Because the story is fantastic, let’s assume people will want to red more like it. If readers like your story, what other stories or novels would you suggest they read?
Other fairy tale retellings! There are so many out there, from novellas to novels to anthologies! The Just-Us League has two other fairy tale anthologies, From the Stories of Old and Of Legend and Lore. I also really like Lea Doué’s The Firethorn Crown and Kyle Shultz’s The Beast of Talesend.
There are also many stories with fairy tale-esque settings, such as Kristen Kooistra’s Heart of the Winterland and H. L. Burke’s Coiled.
Very cool, but what if they want to read more of your writing. Where should they go and what should they expect next from you?
I’ve published a YA science fiction novel, Augment, and also have a short story in each of the first five JL anthologies. All of them are available on Amazon.
Readers can connect with me through my website (hhaydenwriter.com), which lists my works, upcoming appearances, and other interviews I’ve done. It also includes a blog where I interview other authors, review books for my monthly Magic Monday series, share my goal-tracking Month Maps, and more.
I also have a Twitter account and a FB page; I can be found as @HHaydenWriter on both. On Twitter, I co-host the #WIPTruthOrDare Twitter game with Allie May, a fellow JL author. On Facebook, I share fun pictures and occasional snips of my works-in-progress.
I have a newsletter as well. Readers can sign up for it on my website, and I send one or two emails a month with updates, giveaways, book recommendations, etc.–it varies from newsletter to newsletter, but I always aim to keep it short and fun! (Plus, readers receive two free short stories for signing up, one of which is a fairy tale retelling!)