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Author Interview | Meet Carrie Hayes and her brilliant debut novel Naked Truth #bookish #herstory

I’m so pleased to bring you one of the most interesting author interviews I’ve ever conducted. I first met Carrie Hayes in July. She approached me asking for my assistance with her upcoming release. After reading it, I found myself wanting to know more about her and her writing journey. I asked for an interview and she agreed. So grab your favorite beverage and join us. Carrie, take it away…

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?

My current inspiration is found in the work of (in no particular order) Taffy Brodesser Akner, Elizabeth Gilbert, Danielle Dutton, Julian Fellowes, Gail Godwin and Andrew Sean Grier…The list changes and evolves as the reading journey progreses. What I love, love about these writers is the direct yet elegant gentleness of their approach.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Well, my book is about sisters, so naturally, I gravitate towards sisters…. Elle and Dakota Fanning, natch, but then again, I was so bowled over by the performances in Little Women, that any of those actors, from Emma Watson, to Saoirse Ronan, to Florence Pugh- in the hands of a great performer, I know the characters would shine.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully with another 2 books at least under my belt and out there in the universe.

Have you always liked to write?

That’s a tricky one. There are days when writing might be the last thing I’d want to do, but when I’m in the zone, I can think of almost no better way than to spend hours and hours with the work.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Read more and read with more discernment.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I try to be a plotter, and always nearly end up as a pantser.

Do you read your reviews?


Do you respond to them, good or bad?

I do thank people for the good ones.. maybe I shouldn’t? I don’t know. I know you’re supposed to say nothing when confronted with the bad ones. I only have the one book to my name… and I’ve received a fair number of bad reviews, too…. I’m surprised at how visceral my reactions are to reviews, though…. It’s like an intense discussion from the heart, even if I have no part in the conversation! There are certain good reviews that have moved me to tears, I’m so grateful that the reader gets it…

Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Deep breaths and walking right away from them is what I advise. Part of this business is allowing people to react to your material. The reviewer who is a hater doesn’t start out that way… It’s probably MUCH harder to write a negative review than one can imagine. There’s a good website with examples of negative reviews for books that are considered blockbuster classics, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Stephen King’s Carrie, and a couple others. It’s good to take a peek at those. It puts things in perspective.

What is your best marketing tip?

Start BEFORE you are ready to press ‘publish’.. WAY BEFORE and also reach out to Mr. and Mrs. N 😊

Aww, thank you for the praise. What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

My fear of imposter syndrome. When I am alone and writing, I don’t have those fears. When other people become a part of the mix, particularly people I don’t know, I am sort of afraid that they’ll say, “You wrote a book?! Ugh! Whatever made you think you could do such a thing?” So I have to wrestle with my imposter syndrome neurosis…. That and looking for typos… I am really bad at proofing my own work.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Guys together doing guys together stuff. It’s just not my scene.

Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?

At my desk! It was a gift from a friend, and it’s burled oak veneer with cabriole legs. It’s super feminine in a way that I am not. I love my desk and where it’s currently located. It’s at the top of the stairs in a small room, overlooking the street. My dog usually sleeps on the bed across from the desk, and there’s an adjacent wall, stuffed with books on a rickety shelf. I’ve put pictures of my past and of things that are important to me on the walls. It’s very cozy.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Almost all important scenes are tough for me because you want to do them justice. I think the hardest are those which are just male-oriented, because as indicated above, I’m not really into that, so lots of male action doesn’t come naturally.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

This is my first book.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I’ve been writing essays and am also into the sequel for Naked Truth.

Do you write naked?

I always wear at least one article of clothing when I write.

What is your biggest failure?

I failed at mounting a production of “How to Succeed at Business Without Really Trying.” I was a drama teacher and had enjoyed a great run over a period of years at the school, which sort of gave me carte blanche. I loved this show, but the complexity of the music, compounded by the disintegration of my marriage at the time became a recipe for disaster. So, it's rich with irony.

What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?

It was a lie by omission. The first time I got married, I neglected to tell my husband that the car we were driving had a suspended registration and that my license had also been suspended because (this was way before the internet) I failed to insure the vehicle… or something…. You can imagine that when we were pulled over for a taillight that was out, my heart just STOPPED. The cop didn’t say anything, but when I finally told my husband, he was not pleased AT ALL this was the above mentioned marriage….I’ve since rehabilitated my relationship with the DMV.

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

See above.

Have you ever gotten into a fight?

Screaming matches, yes. Brawls, no.

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

There are few vices I haven’t enjoyed at one time or another.

What is your biggest fear?

A world filled with indifference.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Here lies Carrie Hayes. She was still a work in progress.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The power to mitigate grief in others.

If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

Am unsure what my name would be, maybe something like Maude.. my costume would be a simple longish dress, cut on the bias.

Thank you, Carrie, for taking the time to sit down with me for this insightful interview. Readers, to learn more about Carrie’s book and to enter to giveaway, scroll down…

Title Naked Truth or Equality, the Forbidden Fruit

Author Carrie Hayes

Genre Historical Fiction

Publisher HTPH Press

Book Blurb

Following the Civil War, from Washington Heights to Washington DC, comes a true American Herstory. Filled with Intrigue, Lust and Betrayal, this is the fight for sexual rights.

“Divisiveness. Chutzpah. Seduction. Politics. Oppression. Spirituality. Gender relations. Betrayal. Healers -vs- scam artists. Fortitude. Dismay. Against-all-odds battles. Fighting the good fight. Just like the plight of humanity today, the historical and excellently well-crafted novel, NAKED TRUTH: OR EQUALITY THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Carrie Hayes has it all. ***** Indie Reader


Hyde Park, January 1869

Floor to ceiling books run the length of the room and are accessible by means of a ladder. Two winged chairs face the fireplace, their backs to the rest of the library, in the center of which is a round table with a large bowl of oranges. Whistling under her breath, Tennessee begins to search the Roosevelt collection and climbs a few rungs up the ladder.

“Ah, Miss Claflin, fancy you’re being a reader.” He does have the same voice as the Commodore. She turns to face William Vanderbilt. If she descends the ladder, he will loom over and put her at a disadvantage. She descends two rungs and puts herself at his eye level.

“Yes, I always strive to learn things should the opportunity lend itself.”

“Really, to what end, pray?”

“Well, if I learn enough, perhaps I might become a writer.”

At this, he throws back his head and laughs. With some dismay, she observes it’s very much like his father’s laugh.

Wiping at his eyes and nose with his handkerchief, he answers. “Miss Claflin, are you familiar with psychology?”

“Please, enlighten me.” Tennessee smiles, noting how Cornelius Vanderbilt’s jaw is chiseled and strong, while his son William has lambchop sideburns to augment a weak chin.

“It’s a science concerned with one’s character. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with psychology, you’ll discover that the nature of your association with my father indicates you have a licentious susceptibility. Whilst you may refrain from the expression thereof, it is nevertheless in your character and is immutable, making you forever enslaved thereof as well. A very unfortunate position from which a woman, such as yourself, might struggle to be a writer, Miss Claflin.”

“I so wish you’d call me Tennie, as your father has insisted that I do call you Billy.”

His nonsense is impossible to follow, so she says again, “Billy.”

Does he recognize her from the street outside the apothecary?

“Ah yes, Tennie.” He clears his throat. “So, as to your becoming a writer and whether my father might support you in such endeavors, I have it on good authority, he doesn’t give much thought to you doing anything other than seeing to his comfort. That’s certainly the consensus of my sisters.”

She waits for him to leave, but he makes no sign of moving, so she says, “I must continue in my search for a book. Heaven forbid someone mistake me for being an illiterate from Red Light Lizzie’s.”

She catches the faint glimmer of recognition on William Vanderbilt’s face. “Perhaps I’ll read something to do with psychology. Billy.”

Tennessee turns to face the bookcase and climbs a few rungs so her bustle will be at his eye level. She moves her backside just so, wiggling it for good measure. She looks over her shoulder at him. “Oh! Excuse me, I thought you were gone.”

Having been caught in the act, the scarlet William Vanderbilt beats a hasty retreat.

“HA!” Another male voice laughs. Oh, no, she realizes someone else had been in the room. Slowly, she turns around. The ginger-haired man from the balloon stands up from the winged chair. “He is such a horse’s ass!” he exclaims.

Unnerved, Tennessee wonders why her heart seems to be fluttering. The ginger haired man had not been present at lunch nor the previous day. He adds, “Well, I’ll say this. There’s nothing worse than the repressed lust of a God-fearing bully, what.”

“That’s quite true.” Tennessee descends the ladder.

“You want to write?” He hands her a large magazine. “Give this a gander.”

“I am afraid I do not know—”

“James Gordon Bennett.” He bows. Now her heart is hammering. She can sense that his is, too. She says nothing.

James Gordon Bennett straightens himself up and adds softly, “Junior.” He helps himself to an orange, then bites into it through the skin. He says, “If you want to make someone like Billy Vanderbilt feel it in the balls, just write about him. That’s how you get them.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)


I’m one of the authors participating in the Spooky Halloween Bookish Giveaway and you can win a print copy of Naked Truth by Carrie Hayes (US only).

Runs October 1 - 31 and is open internationally for most prizes.

Winners will be drawn on November 2, 2020.

Author Biography

Over the years, Carrie has tried a lot of things. She’s sold vacuum cleaners, annuities and sofas. She’s lived at the beach and she lived in Europe. She’s taught school and worked in film. For a while, she was an aspiring librarian, but she fell in love and threw her life away instead. Back in the States, she started over, and met an architect who said, “Why don’t you become a kitchen designer?” So, she did. Eventually she designed interiors, too. And all that time, she was reading. What mattered was having something to read. Slowly, she realized her craving for books sprang from her need to know how things would turn out. Because in real life, you don’t know how things will turn out. But if you write it, you do. Naked Truth or Equality the Forbidden Fruit is her first book.

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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Oct 08, 2020

Thank you, Carrie, for the fabulous interview. I loved getting to know you better.

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