Kingdom Pen thanks Hailey for this insightful interview! Hailey recently completed and published her first novel, Jaded: The Silent Whisperer. The first in the Jaded trilogy, you can find this book on Amazon for print and in an Ebook edition.
Hailey Woerner: That’s a good question to start with. I’ve always loved to write, and it’s been my dream ever since I was nine to write and publish a novel. I think the one thing that inspired me to write for Christ was the realization that many books labeled under “Christian” are, obviously, tailored towards Christians.
But If there’s anything I’ve learned from the bible, it’s that God wants to be heard by those who are broken, and don’t know him. That’s why my books won’t be put in the “Christian” category. I want to reach those who aren’t Christians, and maybe God can speak to them through the theme of my story. My goal is to reach as many people as possible, and to do that, I will be putting more and more hints of the Spirit as I write each book. Less in the first, then work my way up. That make’s sense, right?
KP: We’ve all received the trademark “You do what now for fun?” looks when we tell others we love to write! What part about writing do you love the most and why?
HW: Oh, my. There are a lot of things I enjoy about writing…but I guess my favorite part would have to be creating the characters. The reason being, it’s an awesome feeling to create this whole new person. One with goals, struggles, and real feelings. There’s just something special about creating a new character—choosing the perfect name for them and giving them values. My novel is very character driven, so that might be part of it as well.
KP: A lot of authors—young and old alike—struggle to even finish their first novel. What helped you the most to stick through it and finish Jaded: The Silent Whisperer?
HW: I don’t quite know. I think the thing that helped me the most was the support I received from my family. I’m pretty sure they didn’t think I’d make it as far as I have, but they were never critical about what I wanted to be, and they encouraged me to follow whatever God had for me. If that was writing, then they were completely supportive, and they were so proud of me when I got real with it and found editors and beta readers and all that fun stuff. Their encouragement kept me going.
KP: Tell us a little bit about The Silent Whisperer. Where did the title come from and how does it play into the identity of the book?
HW: The SilentWhisperer is about an orphan girl who finds out about a rebel plot to start a war and kill her king, and she must travel through betrayal and mistrust to stop a war that never should have started. It’s a fantasy/war and military type novel.
When I first started, my book was just called Jaded, but I later decided to change that to the series name. The title The SilentWhisperer (in my story it’s one word) came up as an idea around the middle of the second draft. In the mid-point area of my novel, Jade, the MC, begins to be called The SilentWhisperer, or Miss SilentWhisper, by the people of one town because she’s silent when doing “hero work” so to speak, even when directly spoken to. So I guess that’s where that idea came from. Now, I can’t say any more or I risk spoiling on of the earlier plot twists.
KP: You said that you plan on making Jaded a trilogy. What led you to that conclusion, and, in your opinion, what are some of the benefits and drawbacks of writing a trilogy?
HW: The reason I decided to make Jaded a trilogy was because there was more story to tell—there was more to Jade’s story. Some books just end, and can stand alone, but there are also a few questions the readers are left with, which could be covered in a trilogy. I also plan to make two short stories that play out in between the first and second novel, and the second and third.
One benefit of writing a trilogy is that for every book you put out, the more of a chance you have for a reader to become hooked and read the rest of the series. Another is that you get to continue the journey with the characters you’ve come to love.
A drawback is that you have to make your characters grow and change over the course of three novels, instead of just one. That’s a bit hard and sometimes painful because you have to make them suffer to do so, in hopes that they come out stronger on the other side.
KP: If you had to describe your book in one word, what would that word be?
HW: Err, that’s kind of hard. Let’s see…I’d have to say the series in one word is ‘trust’, because my books are about Jade’s journey through trust, and my first book shows how trust can be shattered.
Hmm…but The SilentWhisperer in one word would have to be ‘love’. And not the gushy, romance type, but the kind that God tells us to have. My first book’s theme is about love and its true meaning. Love is not a feeling, it’s an action.
KP: First books are special, no matter how you cut it. How would you describe the feeling of getting to hold your book for the first time?
HW: The first feeling I had was disbelief. I mean, this was my book (even if a proof copy) I was holding in my hands. The second feeling that came up was a slight prick of disappointment because my cover didn’t look that great in print form. I had designed the cover over a year ago, and though it looked nice, it wasn’t the best. So before I officially published I drew a new cover. But the overall feeling was amazement.
KP: Many authors are now looking to self-publishing. What led you to self-publishing and how was your experience with it?
HW: What led me to self-publishing was the thought that I wanted control over stuff like the cover and formatting and stuff like that. It’s a bit selfish, I guess, but I think I made the right decision. Sure, I don’t get the advantage of being with a publishing house, but I do have control and better royalties.
It has been hard though. I had to learn how to format a book in both print and eBook form, and I have to do most of the effort with promoting myself and getting my name out there, but I think with the right amount of determination, motivation, and imagination, I can do this.
KP: What is your best advice to other young authors out there who want to be published?
HW: Never give up. Some people will tell you your dreams won’t amount to much, and some people won’t believe in you. But as long as you believe in you, you can do it. As long as writing is really what you want to do, you can do it.
And that goes for any dream. As long as you believe in yourself, and do the best that you can, you can do it. Just keep in mind that you will need help along the way, I know I did.
KP: If you could be any of the characters in your book, who would it be and why?
HW: Oooohhh, that’s a super hard one. There’s something I like in each of my characters, but there’s also stuff I’m glad I’m not in each of them. I’m leaning towards my male main character, Neco. Because, admit it, who doesn’t wish they had the guts to be arrogant and witty all the time, right? I’m not saying that’s a good trait, but it’s one that I wish I could be for one day (and not offend anyone).
But I guess I’d have to say I’d want to be Jade. She’s just a cool character, and has good morals, even if she struggles with trying to be someone she’s not. She has a good heart, and wants to help people, but also wants to distance herself from people because she believes everyone can’t be trusted…ahh, I can’t choose. So you guys will have to read and tell me who you like best.
Hailey Woerner is a young author following her dreams. She is one of those…introverted types, if you will. She shows her passion in Christ through writing, drawing, singing, and serving on her highschool worship team. Some have called her creative, intuitive, quite, gentle, and graceful, though sometimes hot-headed. She lives in the wonderful state of VA with her family of seven, and loves watching the seasons change over the mountains. You can often find her sitting alone, thinking up new ways to tell an old tale, or creating tunes for a new song she has written, but she always welcomes conversation to those who come up to her! Just watch yourself, or she might find some way to work you into her next novel. 😉