An Interview with Haylee!
interviewer: D.R Hutchinson
“Can you introduce yourself?”
Hi, my name is Haylee Graham and I'm addicted to writing. I’m 20 years old and the author of the novels, “Flyaway,” “Centaurus,”and “Closer Than We Know.” I like long walks on the beach, making deeply intellectual conversation with hobos, and achieving carpel tunnel while creating imaginary worlds full of my imaginary friends.
“I'm excited to chat! How long have you been writing?”
In all honesty, I have no idea. Ever since elementary school, I would get in trouble in class for writing small laughable stories,silly poems, and hilarious fables for the fun of it. I think that’s why I never got straight A’s through my school years because I prioritized the thoughts and ideas in my head over any classwork. I’ve always wanted to convey messages through writing. When words failed me, pen and paper sufficed. As for novels, I started writing my first one in the first semester of my Junior year of high school. So that was 2011? Or 2010? I’ll have to ask one of my high school buddies because this is going to bug me for the rest of the day.
“But now you primarily write novels, correct? How long does it take you to write a novel?”
Dependson where the story goes. I went a little too crazy with my first novel, “Flyaway.” That one took me a year and a halfand was 500 pages. The next one “Centaurus”took 9 months. And this recent one onlytook about 5 months. I think I’ve justgrown progressively lazy (or more rational) over the years that I’ve cut downon my page count.
“How have you written so many for your age?”
Writing was a necessity for me. It was like breathing. I had to do it or I would lose my mind. I think if I didn’t have it… I wouldn’t be here messaging you right now.
“What do you mean?”
My stories were the only thing I could control when life seemed so out of my control, if that makes any sense whatsoever. See, it was like playing God. I had power over everything. I’d leave the world that was so cruel to me, and find my escape in this world I created—in these characters that I wish I could be. It became something I needed to do to survive.
“Wow, okay, but I noticed you speak in the past tense. Is writing not as vital anymore?”
You caught that! Okay, well, it’s just as important to me as it was back then. Only difference is I don’t need it to survive anymore. Now I just write when I need to escape my own head. But I’m a happier person than I was back then, so I don’t write it to escape the world because,well, I kind of like the world now.
“How’d the sudden change of perspective happen?”
“Speaking of God… you mentioned that you incorporate Christian values and morals in your stories, right?”
Yes. I don’t try to force my beliefs on anyone or theme the fiction novel as “Christian”, but I try to imply that God is close by, that he is in full control, and he is a God of pure love. I am a living testimony of that.
“Right, you mentioned that you’re going to release your testimony in the form of a novella.”
Yep. It’s going to be interesting. I’ve never written anything other than fiction, and this is going to be a Christian-self-help-autobiography-testimony thing. But I’ve had people reconsider their agnostic or atheist beliefs just purely off listening to bits and pieces of my testimony. So, we’ll see how it goes!
“Cool, so how many books do you have in the works?”
Including that one, three that I want to complete this year and a screenplay. I also want to turn my second novel into a web-series. Now that I put it in writing, I just realized I might be way in over my head! haha.
"And they will all raise money for charities?"
Yes. Each novel is assigned or will be assigned to a charity or foundation that is relevant to the storylines. 50% of any proceeds will go to them.
"Wow, half of your proceeds?"
Yeah, it's definitely not the route I would take if I wanted to just get "rich and famous." But I believe God blessed me with the gift of writing (and typing at 105 WPM) for a reason: to help, guide, and inspire others while also motivating them to contribute to charity! At first, I wrote selfishly, thinking to myself that with this story, then I'll finally have enough money to be financially stable and to take care of MY family. But then this past year, I stopped writing for myself and instead started writing for others.
"When did you first have that thought of, "I'm going to do this for others and not just myself?""
Well, it wasn't up until this year that I had this sudden epiphany of "Let me write to give hope, instead of writing just for the therapy of it." I realized that even before this decision, I subconciously had every single one of my main characters struggle with something be it a bad home life, a consuming addiction, depression, loss and grief, or anything that people of this generation really do struggle with on a daily basis. And throughout the story you see them overcome their demons and live better lives. Each of my stories have a pretty good moral to it. And I honestly think we can be so selfish financially. If I can encourage people to indirectly give to trustworthy and incredibly great causes through my writing - then how cool is that?
"So you talk about how your stories help your readers, but do they help you too?"
Yes, I used to read books looking for hope and guidance and escape. Then when I started writing, I found myself thinking, "If my character can overcome this addiction or this circumstance, then I can too! If my character was victorious, then I can be victorious too!" I overcame alot just because my characters did. It was insane. I don't think I'd be alive or where I'm at today if it weren't for my imaginary characters. Crazy, right?
“That's great Well I wish you good luck on that and thanks for answering my questions! I'll keep in touch.”
No problem. Thanks for letting me spill my wisdom!