Interview by Tehani Wessely.
Erica Hayes writes dark, gritty paranormal romance and urban fantasy, as well as romantic science fiction. Her latest UF series, beginning with Scorched and continuing with Scarred, features a kick-butt super-powered heroine. Erica also writes edgy steampunk/romantic murder mysteries under the pseudonym Viola Carr.
You publish under two different identities – what made you decide to do that?
Different genres, different styles, different names. As Erica Hayes I write steamy urban fantasy/romance, whereas Viola Carr does steampunk/historical mystery with romantic elements – more murders, but a lot less sex and violence!
It’s about managing reader expectations – you want readers to know what they’re getting when they choose your book from the shelf, or they could be disappointed, even if they like the book. So much reader criticism/analysis boils down to ‘this is (or isn’t) what I thought it would be’ – appropriate author branding is really important.
When you look back on yourself starting out as a proto-writer, are there any tips you would give past-you?
Don’t panic. It’s all going to be fine. Oh, and that thing where you write everything out of order, doing the ‘fun’ scenes first and leaving the rest for later? Don’t do that. ‘Later’ never comes!
Can you tell us what are you working on at the moment that we might see in the next year or so?
I’m finishing off The Dastardly Miss Lizzie, the third book in Viola’s steampunk mystery series. Murders and mayhem in alternate Victorian London. I’m also working on a new space opera story for Erica.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
The most recent Australian book I read was The Spring Bride, a lovely Regency romance by Anne Gracie. I’ve also re-read The Dig Tree, by Sarah Murgatroyd, a terrific book about Burke and Wills. Oh, and I enjoyed the TV series Cleverman. A refreshing take on all sorts of themes. Highly recommended.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
The late great Christopher Hitchens. He would never be boring, not in a hundred long haul flights. Or, if we’re talking fantasy authors: Janny Wurts. I want to pick her brains about her writing style. No in-flight movies for you, Janny!