Haley Despard

Author-Pic-Haley-DespardBio: Haley Despard was born and raised in small, yet ever-expanding Simpsonville, South Carolina. She discovered a love of writing at age fourteen and hasn’t been able to turn off the motor fingers since then. Today she lives just a stone’s throw over in the country side of Greer, SC with her husband, son, and Boston Terrier. Her hobbies include amateur photography, designing teaser graphics for her novels, and composing piano music.

Haley’s current project is a YA Contemporary Fiction series, but she also loves writing fantasy, romance, and occasionally horror fiction. Defying standards and norms and thinking outside the box is Haley’s strong suit, and she plans to write something that makes it big someday. Until then, she’s content with her growing author family and a head full of ideas.

1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I started writing when I was 14 years old because I was taking an English class and found out I was good at it. I started out by writing my own version of a screenplay (very poorly formatted) and went from there, penning a variety of fiction works and even some poetry.

2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?  Unfortunately, I never get a day dedicated solely to writing. I wish I did! As it stands right now, I’m lucky to get two hours in at a time after my little one goes to sleep and sneak in bits of writing at other parts of the day. Occasionally, I’ll get several hours on a weekend if I have a strict deadline and get a babysitter. At that point, there’s no structure, it’s just a race against time.

3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Usually music helps, and imagining the story like a movie in my head. I need quiet for either of those to do the trick.

4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story? Plotter. Like, ridiculous plotter. I have notebooks full of planning for books. What’s funny is that I usually end up winging it in the end, but the plotting helps me get a general idea of where I’m going.

5.Are you traditionally or self-published? I am published through Limitless Publishing. 

6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? My advice is to thoroughly weigh out your options before deciding how you want your book published. I made the mistake of self-publishing too early, and my first edition ended up being far from what it should have been as a result. Take your time, weigh out the pros and cons, and do what’s right for you after all options have been considered. Also, save up a “publishing fund” for book marketing. That would come in handy for me right about now.

7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? The highlight of being a published author is finding that one fan that just goes nuts over your book. It’s one of the best feelings in the world for a writer.

8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience?  My debut novel is a YA Contemporary book called “Diary of a Rocker’s Kid.” It’s the first in the DORK series which follows Madison Daley’s story as she discovers her parents are famous and adapts to celebrity life. 17-year-old Mads faces many obstacles on her way to changing her public image, which was marred by the way her mother left her as a baby. She has big dreams of her own, too, and gets the chance to go out with one of Hollywood’s most eligible teenage actors. I recommend this book for older teens and young adults. 

9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) As I said before, make sure to save up a marketing fund. Blog tours, cover reveals, and book blitzes are essential to gaining followers and marketing books. Also, find your target demographic and figure out where they are on social media. Then build an audience by following other people who follow back.  

10. How long on average does it take you to write a book? Writing the book only takes me about a month once I get a rough draft that sticks. Rewriting and editing takes two months, at least.

11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc.  I contributed a sample blurb and an idea of that I wanted my cover to look like. I also sent some information about what my character looks like and who she is personality-wise. The cover designer (Ashley of Redbird Designs) took care of the rest, and she did a fantastic job. 

12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I play piano/keyboard, compose music, take amateur photography, go on long walks in the country, go to the mall with friends, and spend time with my extended family who live nearby.