Marlon S. Hayes is the author of seven books. This stories have also appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines. He resides in Chicago, Illinois.
His most recent book, 11:59 is being published by Motina Books in August 2022.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book came about because my wife complained that my stories and poems were slowing down our shared desktop computer. I came up with a theme and I put together “The Colors of My Mind,” a collection of short stories and poems. I keep telling myself I’ll rewrite it someday because I’ve evolved as a writer a lot since then.
How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title “11:59” before I ever wrote a word of it. The idea for the story was in my mind and the importance of that one minute before midnight led to the title. At first, it was the words “Eleven Fifty-Nine,” but as I wrote the book, the actual numbers appeared in it more than once and I switched numbers for words.
What books have most influenced your life?
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café,” “Great Expectations,” “Lonesome Dove,” and “The Outsiders.” I guess the commonality of them would be there’s much more to the world and life than what we are surrounded by.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Elmore Leonard would be at the top of the list.
What book are you reading now?
“Ananzi Boys” by Neil Gaiman
What are your current projects?
I just finished writing an erotic novella today, which took me three weeks. I am working on several short stories for an upcoming conference, and two novels at the moment, “The Girl from Yesterday,” and “My Country Auntie.” If I hit a wall on a project, I switch to something else and return later.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Once upon a time I treated it like a hobby and it showed in my work. When I started treating it like a job, the results showed my determination. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be writing full-time in the next year or two.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My grandmother read poetry to me as a child and I started writing my own. My mother still has a poem I wrote her when I was six. I wanted to tell stories and paint pictures with words.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I love traveling and I find influences and ideas in other places which influence the stories I write. I feel as if visiting certain settings lends an authenticity when I add them to a story. I’ve visited all of the places mentioned in “11:59.”
Every place I visit shows up in a story, blog, poem, essay, or novel, from Alaska to England.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
To not give up and to find their own path, because what worked for someone else might not be the blueprint for them. Keep writing and continue to evolve.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
London, without question. The history, the weather, and the everyday experiences there would make it a great place to spend a year.
What does being a successful author look like to you?
Being able to live and thrive on consistent royalty checks while writing for magazines, television, blogs, as well as continuing to create novels and short stories.
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