With Rope  & Wire

Can you point to any one person in particular who has had a major influence on your career as a writer?

Two people, out of a fairly large crowd! First, one of my blog-fans, Oren W. He liked my blog entries so much that he sent me a box of CD media and asked for me to copy my files to it, so he could read my stuff at home, where he didn’t have internet. I thought – wow! People like my stuff that much? And Craig Lockwood – he is a writer out in California who happened to see an early treatment of “Truckee” that I did for another blog-fan who wanted to show it around as a movie. He loved the whole concept, and loved my writing, and hand-held me through the proposal and the final draft.

Complete interview here.


With Kindle Author David Wisehart
David Wisehart: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
Celia Hayes: In a sense it was fairly easy for Truckee—because the characters were real people; and for the major characters there was just enough known that I could take those two or three elements know for sure, and spin a character from that. And all of them were from really different backgrounds, which helped: the old mountain-man with an Indian wife, the relatively cosmopolitan and cultured doctor, an Irish patriarch…for the ones that I just couldn’t tease much out, I had to do what I used to do in writing performance reports on people who worked for me, when I was in the Air Force. My guide was to work out—what is the one thing that comes to your mind when you think about this person? I used that in creating a persona; what is the first quality that comes to mind when you think of them? It builds from there. In the case of the doctor, who is the main hero and narrator, one of the things that I knew about him was that he had a copy of Lord Chesterfield’s Letters (it was a best-seller late in the 18th century and into the 19th, as a sort of manual of manners, conduct and character)—what sort of man; educated and professional—would have valued that book, and would he have modeled himself after Lord Chesterfield’s advice.

With Bobby Ozuna on Blogtalk Radio’s Indy Author Show – December 21, 2009
Bobby Ozuna, ” Drawing Stories … With Words”

Q: How much of your personal psyche, your struggle and your insecurities are hidden within the characters of this particular story?
A: I have been kind of amused by the irony that I have written very movingly about happy and loving marriages, but was never married, myself. Kind of like Jane Austen, I guess – never married, never seriously courted, but wrote so charmingly and endearingly about it all. I also have had a very strong relationship with my father, and with my brothers, so some of that comes through, I think; father-son, father-daughter, and brother-sister relationships are a very strong element in the Trilogy. And I write about strong women, who still have to deal with having responsibility thrown onto them, who sometimes don’t feel quite up to the challenge of it, who do have doubts about themselves, feel their own limitations, or feel a little resentful because they are not conventionally pretty, or perhaps don’t conform to the expectations that they think others have of them.
(Complete interview here)

Kay Past, at mysoutex.com (Beeville Bee-Picayune)
San Antonio author Celia Hayes described the background for writing her Adelsverein Trilogy about the German settlement of Fredericksburg to the A.C. Jones and Friends Reading Discussion Group June 8 at the home of Al and Kay Past.
(Complete story here)

Glenice Whitting at “The History Bookshop”

GW: What inspired you to write The Adelsverein Trilogy?
CH: I was casting around for what to write about, after I finished Truckee. I liked writing about the frontier, and felt comfortable dealing with the 19th century, so I was casting around for another relatively unknown and unexplored story – and then I realized that I was living just down the road from one! The German settlements in the Texas Hill country – were unique, even by frontier standards. It is still a beautiful little town, Fredericksburg – a little piece of Germany plopped down in Central Texas; tidy little stone houses, orchards and gardens. Here is a whole district, which was settled all of a piece and in a short time, by European immigrants… which was completely German-speaking until well after World War I. No one outside of Texas has ever heard of this, and as far as I can tell, it’s never been done in fiction in a major way, save for James Michener’s Texas about thirty years ago. This whole matter of such a large, cohesive community is just not what everyone things of, when they think of Texas.

Gary Dobbs at The Tainted Archive:
“So what is it that compells her to write about the West?”
“Not sure about that, really – I was just drawn to it. Why do you fall in love? You just do! I’ve always loved history, and my mother had a subscription to American Heritage, when I was growing up. This was when it was a fairly serious and scholarly publication, about all sorts of interesting events. But I had always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, and reading about adventures on the emigrant trails – covered wagons and all that. Why I am particularly attracted to the 19th century? I think that is because it was absolutely key in developing what we think of as our national character, for better or worse, and because so much changed for us during the course of it. Think on it – in 1801, the United States was a relatively poor, struggling little nation, just barely filling up the area between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachians. The way that everyone lived looked back more to the previous century, people lived by candle-light, they never went farther from where they lived – and they mostly lived on small farms – than the nearest town. Goods and people traveled on horse-drawn wagons, or on ships powered by wind. And by 1899 – good heavens! The United States went from sea to sea! There were electric lights, and factories making everything that once had been made by hand; you could travel by the railway, or steamship, send a telegraph or use a telephone. And it was possible for someone to seen all of this during their lifetime! The 19th century and the western frontier made us; and I find it irresistible to write about. ” (Complete Interview here)

Interview With JM at Fiction Scribe – On To Truckee’s Trail

It’s one of the great unknown adventures of the frontier – the very first wagon train party to bring wagons over the Sierra Nevada to California. In 1844 they discovered and scouted the route used by subsequent parties of emigrants, all the way from the Humboldt Sink, up along the Truckee River and over present-day Donner Pass… The novel is an exploration of how they managed that challenge, and of what possessed fifty otherwise sensible people to even consider putting their children and everything they owned into eleven small wagons and of walking across two thousand miles of howling wilderness. There’s something magnificent about that, you know.

Interview with Marsha Ward at “Writer in the Pines” –

What one thing do you like most about writing?
I love it most when the story just flows, as if it is already there in my mind, in every detail and I just sit down and let it pour onto the screen. Least – when I go back and discover that something I wrote which made a perfectly gripping scene or conversation, couldn’t possibly have happened historically. I have to work around that – since I want what I write to stand up as historically accurate. (Complete interview here)

1 Comment

  1. Cecelia, I live in Fredericksburg and had the joy of hearing you share your Adelsverin Trilogy at our Newcomers Book Club at Chase Bank this summers. I am a true fan and especially love how educate and entertain us at the same time. The research you do to make the real pioneers of this town come alive and represent themselves and history astounds me.
    You may not remember, but I had asked if you could come back to visit here with my Houston book club. You seemed eager. We have picked a date – the weekend 25 -27. They will probably arrive on Saturday morning. Could you possibly squeeze in a visit either that evening or Sunday morning? I can arrange for you to stay in my guest house or my friend’s if that would be to your liking. Please let me know.
    Karen Vanek