For the third Saturday in our Inkitt Icons Interview Series, we interviewed 21-year-old haleystaurt2, author of indulgent dark romances Torment and The Blood King. She isn’t afraid to push boundaries when it comes to romance, and her creative rebelliousness certainly pays off.
Hi Haley! We’d love to hear about the method behind the magic! What is your ideal writing set up?
I like to be somewhere with atmosphere. I usually write in my bedroom with the curtains drawn and a candle lit, or in my kitchen because it has a large window that lets me see the woods behind my house. I even write on the front porch sometimes, because my hometown is in the country. I always have my background music playing, which consists of a variety of classical and themed music.
This explains why your novels are so immersive—it must be exhilarating to keep changing perspective from expansive, eerie woods to the flickering light of a candle! What is it that attracts you to your chosen genre?
I love dark romance because it’s a huge leap from cheesy and clichéd romance with happy endings. It shows a side of romance that people are afraid to explore—a side that is very real. I love pushing the boundaries with my writing and encouraging people to explore outside their comfort zones. I help them realise that they don’t have to adhere to societal guidelines or expectations, which can include their reading choices.
We really respect your daring approach! Fiction is a powerful and provocative medium through which to challenge societal norms. In terms of the writing process itself, do you write spontaneously or are you a meticulous planner?
I definitely let the words flow. I start my stories with a general idea of what I’m going to write about and maybe a few key scenes, but as I write I just let it develop in my head. It’s like I’m watching a movie in my head, and I make sure to thoroughly describe what I see.
That’s cool, it’s exciting when literature competes with cinema in its vividness. As a writer, are you a night owl or an early bird?
Both. I stay up as late as 3 in the morning finishing chapters, and I wake up as early as I can to get started on them, which is usually around 6 or 7 in the morning. I sometimes even set aside whole days to get chapters written.
It’s impressive commitment like this that led you to become a successful Inkitt Icon! What are your top tips for authors who are just starting out?
Stick to who you are, and never try and change your writing style for what you think “will sell”. You’ll never succeed that way, and you’ll end up hating what you do. Be patient, and write about what you truly enjoy because readers will be able to distinguish the effort put into a story. Believe in your ability!
Some inspiring words there, thank you! Authenticity and self-belief are so necessary to any creative process, it’s true. What is your writing motto?
“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
Such a fantastic quote, Toni Morrison is a literary hero. What has been the most important aspect of Inkitt for you?
Leaving reviews has been the most important aspect for me. I can see what readers thought of the story once they finish reading it, and that’s been a huge help. It’s also very rewarding hearing what others think of my writing and seeing them encourage others to read my work.
That’s great to hear, reader-writer relationships are so important here at Inkitt. Communication is key and we strive to create active and inspiring communities. You should check out our Readers and Writers Community Groups here for more feedback and literary friendships! And to finish up, which genres would you like to try out in future?
I want to try Demon/Angel writing. But for that to be possible, I would have to do a lot of research to have a solid storyline that makes sense. I like having some sort of factual information in my stories.
We wish you luck with that! It’s such a fascinating genre and we’re sure you’ll do a great job. Thanks so much for chatting to us and keep up the spellbinding work!