Friday, April 20, 2007

L.C. and R.L. Hayden

Earlier this year Julia Buckley interviewed the writers L.C. and R.L. Hayden. Part of the exchange:

L. C., you’ve written many books, and the latest is called Why Casey Had to Die. That’s a catchy title. Why DID Casey have to die? Is it because he came to bat and struck out?

Cute! I like your answer — so much more original than mine. I’m taking the fifth in here. The answer to that is an integral part of the story and the answer is revealed at the very end. All I can say is, read and find out.

How did you get started in the mystery-writing biz?
Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I feel life is a mystery, so I’m fascinated with the concept of mysteries. Naturally, when it came time to write the novel, I chose the mystery genre — haven’t regretted it at all. But before I wrote mysteries, I freelanced for magazines. There’s an interesting story as to how that came about.

While in college, I had two term papers to do. One was for a professor who was known for his strict rules. I spent all my time doing the paper for him. I finished the paper four days before it was due. It was then that I remembered I had another term paper to write. I grabbed my finished paper, along with its note cards and bibliography cards. I dashed off to the library. I began by re-reading the paper. I found two typing errors (days before computers, sigh.) I made a mental note to retype those two pages.

I set everything to the side and began the research for the second paper. At 2:00 AM when the library closed, I grabbed everything and headed home. The next morning I reached for the finished term paper so I could retype those two pages. It was then I remembered I had set the paper to the side and left it there. I ran to the library, but it was gone: the paper, the outline, the thesis statement, the note cards, the bibliography cards. Everything. Just like that. Gone.

I knew if I approached the professor and told him what happened, he’d say “Tough luck. Paper is due Friday.” I had no choice but to redo it. Somehow in the next three days I redid the entire paper and finished the other paper.

When I got the papers back, on the paper I had to redo I got a C and it only had one comment: And you want to be a writer -- ha! On the other term paper, I got an A+ with the comment that this was publishable if I took off the footnotes and revised it. I went to the professor and he showed me the ins and outs of magazine writing. That was my first published work -- and I got to be a writer -- ha!
Read the entire interview.

Read the Page 69 Test: Why Casey Had to Die.

--Marshal Zeringue