Interview: Carolyn Haines, Mystery Writer and Extraordinary Human

My dears, I’ve been so excited to surprise you with this interview. Excellent friend and wonderful writer Carolyn Haines is here to answer some fun questions for us. I’ve included her official bio below, but you should know she’s written seventy-plus books during her career, and as a teacher of writing she’s mentored many, many students as well as emerging writers. We met via email back in 2014, back when we both had books at the same publisher, and we almost met in person at Bouchercon in New Orleans, but sadly missed each other by just a few moments. One big thing you should know about Carolyn is that her other great love–besides telling stories–is for animals of all sorts. After you’ve read this interview, and checked out Carolyn’s website, do take a look at Good Fortune Farm Refuge, the charity animal shelter she runs, and gives her heart and time to.

Carolyn’s next novel is another Sarah Booth Delaney mystery, STICKS AND BONES (May 2017), but she has a spanking new novella in the same Bones series available right now. GURU BONES is a fun introduction to the series, and will leave you wanting to read more about Sarah Booth and her friends.

Thanks for visiting, Carolyn!

(You can just tell she’s up to some mischief!)


At what point in your life did you know you wanted to write fiction?

I always loved to read and tell stories. I grew up in a family of story tellers and writers. My parents were journalists and my grandmother had emigrated from Sweden as a child and told us many stories of her journey across the ocean and then down America to Mississippi. We loved ghost stories, and I found I had a flare for the creepy tales. I got my degree in journalism and worked as a photojournalist for over a decade, but I wrote short fiction just for me. I was addicted to Flannery O’Connor, Doris Betts, Eudora Welty and some of the great Southern short story writers.


How do you choose names for your characters?

Sometimes the characters name themselves–they just come with a name, like Sarah Booth and Jitty. The characters grow from the soil, so the names are often part of the community. I grew up in a rural area of Mississippi, so many of my characters have the names that are part of my heritage. But even Mississippi has a rich heritage of different cultures, especially along the Gulf Coast. So I try to find a name that fits the terrain.

(Coming June 27, 2017)


​​If you had a spirit animal, what would it be?

I’ve been told that the coyote is my spirit animal. The trickster. The joker. But that sometimes there’s wisdom in my pranks and foolishness. That’s probably debatable.


What was your very first published work?

“Shadeaux.” A short story. I won the Herbert L. Hughes Award in the Sigma Tau Delta competition. My first book was A DEADLY BREED.


What did you do with your first advance?

Bought car insurance and took my friends out to celebrate, then put some aside to start the farm fund.


What was your first car? Did you get to choose it, or was it a hand-me-down?

A 1965 Chevy Impala. I bought it very used. It was a tank–and it could run like a wild thing.


(Hmmm. Are those Louboutins? Or is that something else on the bottom of Sarah Booth’s shoes?!


Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series and the Pluto’s Snitch historical mystery series. She was the 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the 2009 recipient of the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. She is a former journalist and a former professor of English at an Alabama university. She currently writes and runs an animal rescue on her farm.


Want more Carolyn? I did an in-depth interview with her in 2014. Check it out.


March 15th   Words
Journal: 225 words
Long fiction: 0 words
Short fiction: 50
Non-fiction: 0 words
Blogging: 675 words
Exercise: 70 minutes treadmill

3 thoughts on “Interview: Carolyn Haines, Mystery Writer and Extraordinary Human”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    I’m interested in her books; Carolyn sounds like a neat writer, and sometimes I just need to curl up with a cozy mystery.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      I hope you’ll check them out–Carolyn’s such a fun writer.

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