Mandy Haynes has written two short story collections with both smart and entertaining storytelling. The moment you open these books you have to read until the end. Each story leads you into another exciting one to read. It’s her voice! Mandy is original, she doesn’t let go of that Southern charm that had me at hello. It’s hers and hers alone. The first book “Walking the Wrong Way Home” and the second, “Sharp as a Serpent's Tooth - Eva and Other Stories”. She’s also written a novella, “Oliver”. She’s the editor of the anthology “Work in Progress”, and co-editor of the Southern Writers Reading reunion anthology, “The Best of the Shortest” that comes out later this year.
The illustrious Mandy Haynes doesn’t stop there. She’s also the creator of this literary journal, WELL READ Magazine. I have to tell you this magazine is so fabulous you don’t even know what to do with yourself when you finish reading it because your TBR list just keeps growing and growing. In January, Mandy put out an ongoing call for submissions for Fiction, prose, flash fiction, poetry, and visual art and has published some fantastic work by some established as well as first time authors and artists.
It was such an honor to host this interview with Mandy Haynes because she is so much more than her résumé. She really cares about what she’s doing. She thrives on it, as she is someone that really wants to help promote other authors besides herself. I often have to remind her to discuss herself. Some of us are born to brag about other authors and she is definitely one of them.
Last, but not least on her résumé is her small business, three dogs write press - life support for authors. She does interior formatting, developmental editing, creates book covers, swag, graphics - you name it. Mandy is so talented! Oh, she’s also a freelance writer for the Amelia Islander and Amelia Weddings, and has had several stories make the cover.
“HELL, WE CAN’T ALL BE SAINTS.”
Typically the author I choose every month is one that I believe was born to shine. Mandy Haynes is in a lane all her own. I have been trying to interview her since my column first began in WELL READ Magazine. Because there’s something about Mandy that’s different from so many other authors, bloggers, writers, readers, reporters, podcasters and author interviewers. You see she has all of them wrapped into one, and she does them all beautifully, so to say that she shines is not enough. One of my favorite quotes is “born to shimmer born to shine” and I have to say that tagline is Mandy to a tee.
I use the Proust interview model to learn more about authors. This model has been around since 1890 and I first saw it used in the Vanity Fair Magazine. Every single month they ask someone famous thirty-five questions. So I decided it would be fun if I had my guests answer ten of the questions. Interesting fact about this is that authors can use this Proust model to learn more about the characters they’re writing about by asking them these questions.
Q: What or who is the greatest love of your life?
A: My son. I’ve never loved another human being as much as I love him.
Q: Which talent would you most like to have?
A: I wish I could sing, but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.
Q: If you were to come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A: Carolyn Haines’s dog, or cat, or horse or anything of Carolyn’s because she has such unconditional love for all animals.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: A statue of a monkey - his name is Chief - that sits on my desk (no matter where that may be).
(Her prized possession was given to her by one of her former patients. Ironically, she had named it Chief, which was the patient's father’s nickname.) Annie: Thank you for working at a children’s hospital, Mandy. That is very important work and I’m sure quite emotional. (Mandy was a pediatric cardiac sonographer for sixteen years at Monroe Carroll, Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville.)
Q: What do you value most in your friends?
Q: Who is your biggest hero of fiction?
A: Flannery O’Connor. She was fearless, especially for her time.
Q: What are your favorite names?
A: Oliver and Olivia.
Q: What would be your favorite occupation?
A: To own a coffee shop. Of course, this is a fantasy so I would hire people and I could come in when I wanted and just talk to the customers! I’d have this basket of yarn for a never ending scarf so while people are waiting for their coffee, or while they are drinking or whatever, they could crochet their favorite stitches. Then when the scarf was long enough, I’d tie it off and hang it up outside the shop for anyone that needed it.
Q: I’m aware that you have just moved, so I do have to ask this question ~ Where would you most like to live?
A: Alabama. It’s been an adventure and a lot of fun. I love being Carolyn Haines’s neighbor and getting to help her with Good Fortune Farm Refuge. I’m learning so much and meeting so many interesting people, plus Carolyn is a hoot to be around. After I moved to Amelia Island, I was so busy writing and working that I slipped into serious hermit mode. I didn’t realize how much I missed having company. It wasn’t healthy for me - mentally or physically to be so isolated. I met Carolyn in person last August when I went to Fairhope for a book event for Serpent’s. She invited me to come visit her on the farm and we hit it off. Come to find out, Carolyn was in the same boat I was as far as the whole hermit thing. Long story short she turned one of her horse barns into a barndominum and me, the pups, and Albert (my turtle) put the house on the island up for sale and moved on over. They love it here as much as I do.
Make sure you check out the Between The Pages Podcast for the rest of the story!
Thank you Mandy for opening yourself up to this interview. I know I pushed you - but I think getting to know you is just as important as all the people you want us to get to know. And thank you for making space for me here to do what I love!