I didn’t know Hayley Enoch before I interviewed her. The only thing I did know about her was that she was into steam punk and seemed to be passionate about writing, so I had no idea what I was going to discover. I have to say that this lady is cool. I love that she has a clear point of view and opinion on things, is very intelligent, and her other areas of creativity are just…well, let’s say I’d like to hang out with her and her character costumes for an afternoon. Maybe tackle a cosplay competition or two. 🙂 (Read on and you’ll see what I mean).
Anyhow, I’m ecstatic that Hayley and I bumped into one another and after this, I’m certain you’ll be happy you met her too.
1- Hi Hayley, can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m Hayley. I live near Dallas, Texas. I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember. It’s like a type of schizophrenia. If I don’t get the people and places on paper and out of my head, I will go insane.
I’m a history geek, and I also blog about railroad history.
2- Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing? Where does writing fit in, and why are you drawn to it? What keeps you motivated/inspired?
Yes, I am also seamstress. I’ve kept myself in pocket change by making replicas of science fiction costumes. I like to design clothes and costumes for myself and my children.
Sometimes I get a designing bug, and I make a costume that I imagine a character in the story wearing. It’s like a method actor getting in character. It’s a way of entering the world I’m trying to put on the page.
3- What forms of writing (short stories, poetry, novels, essays, etc.) and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?
My instinct is to try to create a unique world–the plot and characters are almost secondary to the world itself–so I tend towards novels. Occasionally I will write a short story, but my heart is in longer stories where I don’t feel constrained by a shorter length.
I don’t think I have ever set a story in our own world–I feel like I already live here, I know the troubles and triumphs, and I’d rather spend my time writing about something speculative.
4- I’ve read books which annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?
This is one of those questions that is bound to be different from person to person. Personally, I hate short, choppy sentances in the narrative, as well as present-tense narration. Neither one is inherently bad writing, but for some reason they both rub me the wrong way.
I also dislike it when an author uses a certain phrase or word over and over again. Throw any China Mieville book at me, and I could get drunk off of the number of times he uses the word ‘pussiant.’
And, of course, I hate Mary Sue type of characters–the ones that never actually display the personality traits, good or bad, that the author tells you they have.
5- As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I think the answer isn’t what elements you include in the story, but how you balance them. A gripping tale has to have the perfect mixture of plot and action, of background information about the world that the story takes place in, of describing the characters’ thoughts and emotions, and creating that sense of anticipation that keeps the pages turning.
6- Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what your write?
I find history books to be the most inspiring to my writing. People might think they are dry or irrelevant, but I pick up themes and subtleties there that inspires me to write. I think I work backwards compared to the way most people draft a story–I like to figure out the setting first, then its conflicts and history, and then fit the characters and their stories into that structure.
7- What draws you to steampunk? Why do you think it’s so popular?
I have a love/hate relationship about the genre!
On one hand, I love that steampunk is such a fan-driven genre. It’s just as much about the costumes that each individual person creates as it is about the stories within the genre. But on the other hand, there’s the curmudgeonly part of me that is very well versed in the history of the Industrial Revolution and railroad history and keeps going, “Steam does not work like that!”
I’ve written stories that involve steam power, but nothing yet that I would personally consider steam punk. In order to earn the ‘punk’ part of it, I think you have to do something fantastic with the steam power, something that didn’t happen in our world.
8- Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
I have finished my first novel, The Cold Gate, which tells the story of a young boy who runs away from a stranded colony ship, and then must struggle to survive the planet’s deadly climate. I am currently trying to find an agent or publisher for this story.
I am currently editing two other novels. The first, The Stars That Wove The Sky, is a space-opera flavored epic that follows the trials and tribulations that befalls a galaxy trying to unite into one political entity. The second is A Bridge Of Vapor, the story of a man who is hired as the bodyguard for a young girl, whom he slowly begins to suspect has the power to turn the tide of the war that has consumed his entire world.
9- What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?
Keeping my ass in the chair is easily the most challenging part of writing. I haven’t figured that one out yet!
10- Who are your favourite writers and why?
I don’t read nearly enough fiction as I should–mostly I’m a non-fiction reader–but lately I’ve really bee enjoying China Mieville and Paulo Bacigalupi.
11- What advice would you give to new writers?
Learn to tell the difference between a story that you’re procrastinating on and a story that you just can’t get passionate about. If you sit down to write and despite your best efforts, nothing comes, it’s time to either abandon that story or radically change your approach to writing it. If you can’t get passionate about the story neither will your readers.
12- How can readers get into contact with you?
They can connect to my Google + profile.
Thank you, Hayley, for chatting with us today. It was great getting to know you and the things you are passionate about. Readers, I encourage you to connect with Hayley on G+. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by once again, dear Readers. Here’s hoping you have an excellent week ahead. 🙂