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Indie Author Spring Festival: An Interview with Hayley Anderton (Part II)

Hayley Anderton is back today with another amazing book discounted at 99p/99c from the 14th until the 21st. Homebound is a contemporary YA novel that I can't recommend enough. Find the second part of our interview as well as my review below!


How did your passion for horror and dystopian genres begin? Why the change to contemporary for Homebound? What did you enjoy and/or struggle with during the transition?

I think I’ve always seen myself as a multi-genre writer. In my Wattpad days, I started out with fanfiction, which was really how I got back into writing around 2012. I wrote a Hunger Games fanfiction called Silence which is still posted there now and has close to a million reads. The characters I created for that book can now be found in The Last Girls on Earth, a series that has been ten years in the making.

Around the same time, Laura and I started writing the Apocalypse series. We were both big fans of The Walking Dead, and Apocalypse was always a kind of ‘what if?’ thought process of how things would go if we were suddenly overrun by zombies. It was a fun way to escape college work, and to be honest, I spent more time in the college library working on my Wattpad books than I did studying!

I don’t think I would’ve ever seen myself sticking solely to those genres, though! Contemporary fiction has always appealed to me, and I have several other projects on the back burner to complete when I have time. I tend to avoid thriller as a genre because I write thriller novels for work, but I do have an idea in mind that I’m hoping to write next year. I’d also love to dabble in fantasy someday! I don’t like the idea of limiting myself. Writing is meant to be fun and I just want to follow my thought streams wherever they take me!

As for Homebound specifically, it’s heavily inspired by my own anxieties and issues, and I think it was kind of therapeutic to write it. It got a lot off my chest, and I think many people will be able to relate to Lori’s story in some way!

Is there a reason you often stick to the YA genre? What do you enjoy most about writing younger characters?

I think for me, my passion has always been with YA fiction because that’s where I found my love of reading. I’m not opposed to writing adult fiction, but on some level, I think the only thing that separates my work from adult fiction is the age of the characters. The themes can apply very much to adults too!

Having said that, there’s so much to explore in the mind of someone coming of age - the angst, experiencing love and frustration and fear properly for the first time…I guess that’s just something that has always stuck with me from the books I loved growing up and made me want to write about it.

I think I also am drawn to YA fiction because there’s no expectation for there to be romance, or at least not heavy-handed romance. The market currently is very much crowded with explicit romance, which is fine, but it’s just not for me. I feel that I fall somewhere on the asexual spectrum at this point in my life, and I don’t like to read a lot of the stuff on the market right now. I guess I’m just writing the stories I would want to read myself!

Your latest release, Homebound, is out now. Tell us about the book and what inspired you to write it.

Homebound is perhaps one of the most personal books I’ve ever written. I wrote it several years ago when I was battling with anxiety and struggling to balance it with my ordinary life. I was living in a flatshare with some very lovely people, and I still really struggled to leave my room, to go beyond the four walls where I felt safest. I took all the rawest feelings inside me and instead of reaching out to anyone about how I was feeling, I wrote a book. I think this is also my most unpolished book, because everything I wrote felt so painful to read back over more than a few times. But in some ways, I like that the book turned out this way. I think it makes it feel more real to me. The main character is just trying to get by, and everything about that process is messy, a little like this book!

Do you have any advice for indie authors who are new to self-publishing?

I think a lot of indie authors make the mistake of just throwing a book out into the world and stopping there. Indie publishing only works if you make connections, if you support the others around you and if you love reading indie books as much as you love writing them. If you’ve never read any indie-published work, then why should you expect readers to take a chance on yours? It’s about understanding the playing field you’re on, but it’s also about showing the world that indie books are just as good as traditionally published ones!

I also see a lot of people on Instagram playing the followers game, following everyone in sight and expecting them to immediately be interested in what they have to offer. It’s hard to stand out on platforms such as Instagram, but that doesn’t mean that every book lover is going to be interested in your content! I find it hard when I see people complaining publically when others don’t interact with their posts and don’t immediately want to read their books. You have to stop thinking that you’re the center of the universe and find a place in the community. And as rewarding as it is to get reviews on your books, to have people read your stories and to get a paycheck, there’s nothing more rewarding than the friends you’ll make in the indie author community! That should be the focus.

Our podcast focuses on media we’re currently loving. Are there any books, shows, or movies you’re enjoying at the moment? Any recommendations for our audience?

I would be missing a trick if I failed to mention all of the incredible authors who are taking part in the Indie Author Spring Festival! There’s so much talent on show and I’ve discovered so many new queer writers and books through this event. I really enjoyed The Blight of Blackridge by RP Dunwater, which features a sapphic main character. I also really loved Fire at Her Fingertips by Rebecca Crunden, which is extremely short but sweet!

I also am crazy about The Last of Us, for obvious reasons as a zombie writer! I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity to play the game soon!

Hayley Anderton is an author, reader, baker and crazy cat lady, born and raised in the North West of England. She strives for diversity in her writing, and believes that books can change the world. She graduated from John Moores University in 2017, and is now searching for her next adventure.

I finished this book in tears. I’ve fallen in love with every one of Hayley Anderton’s stories but this one was a special one and I’ll keep it close to my heart for a long time. As a sufferer of mental and chronic illness, I identified all too well with Lori’s fears and struggles, especially with the feeling of entrapment, and seeing that represented here, so authentically and without diluting the worst, rawest parts, felt like a massive yet gentle hug.

There are so many aspects that make this story a moving one. Lori’s background. Her grief. Her illness. The way that, through it all, she still grows without this being the old “and then she lived happily ever” narrative. She loses so much, but she also gains a lot, and it was so heartwarming and at times devastating to watch the dynamics of her grieving family change in such a realistic way, with each of the characters bringing something new to the tale. There is also a story of romance in these pages — and it is so special to see someone who doesn’t feel whole realise they’re worthy of love anyway, especially as a queer woman.

Another thing that I’m always so impressed with in Hayley’s writing is her ability to capture the voice of a teen/young adult. Where most YA works are often just adult stories, this author’s characters are believably young, especially in voice and action.

If you’re searching for your next five-star read that will make you laugh, cry, mourn, and cheer, this is the one for you. I feel a little bit more loved and seen after this story, and I’m certain any queer/young/struggling reader will too.


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