Halloween Romance is not Twilight and Faye Haymond is not Stephanie Meyer. Haymond is s sophomore at UMW and already has two published novels under her belt. Halloween Romance and its sequel Bite Me follow the story of a teenage werewolf and vampire who fall in love. The young adult series consists of a total of 12 books, tracing several generations of four different families in the town of Laconia, New Hampshire.
Haymond says that all of the novels address one central question, “What does it mean to be human?”
She says there are many different answers to this open-ended query, but she believes that readers will gain a sense by the end of the series.
With her Mormon background and penchant for fantasy driven love stories, it is hard not to write Haymond off as a Stephanie Meyer wannabe. Haymond started her first novel when she was 13 and had two books of her series written by the time Twilight was
released in 2005.
Haymond acknowledges that the commercial success of Twilight played a role in her first book finally getting picked up and published in July of this year.
“It’s a double edged sword,” she says, due to all the comparisons it draws. According to Haymond, the number one difference between her work and Meyer’s is that she writes through a feminist perspective, with characters who are equal to each other, rather than promoting an unhealthy, obsessive relationship like Twilight’s Bella and Edward.
Other famous vampires inspired Haymond. She says Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which she read at age 11, as two of her major influences.
Haymond realized how much she loved writing when she wrote a three-page fairy tale called The Sorcerer’s Curse in the fourth grade. She also wrote various types of fan fiction before she began her already impressive writing career. Her work was first published at age 13 when she was living in Thailand with her parents. Haymond’s mom wrote for Thai magazines and was able to get her a job writing book recommendations for people of Thailand traveling to America. The gig didn’t pay much ($12-$20 per issue), but allowed Haymond to begin building her portfolio.
In high school Haymond was awarded the first ever Hoover prize for writing and won an honorable mention in the Arena Stage’s Young Playwright’s Contest. She says her submission, I Come To You, Defenses Down, was “an avant-garde exploration of life and love for mentally ill youth.” As part of her prize, got to see it performed at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.
Haymond’s parents have always been supportive of her writing, paying the postage for her submissions, which got expensive from places like Thailand, Laos, China, and South Korea.
Her parents also cautioned her against setting her hopes too high, which is way Haymond writes under the pen name Donaya Haymond. Donaya is her middle name, but she says that using this alter ego makes rejection a lot easier.
“It’s like it’s happening to Donaya, not Faye,” Haymond notes, plus writing under such an exotic and grown up name gave her “a boost of confidence.”
Although rejection is something that all aspiring writers grow accustomed to fairly quickly, Haymond does have some advice for those of you who have dreams of seeing their name in print.
First, she recommends learning how to make a professional submission beforehand before sending work out to journals and publishing houses. She suggests starting with magazines to get your name out there.
Haymond is majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, but doesn’t plan on relying on her writing as a way to make a living.
“Even if I had enough money to live off of writing, I wouldn’t,” she says.
Haymond wants to work for the State Department doing civil service. She has experience in government work and interns at her father’s embassy every summer. She hopes to attend graduate school to study Chinese and foreign affairs.
Haymond says she hopes to be a “civil servant by day, writer by night.”
Halloween Romance can be purchased in the UMW Bookstore. Both Halloween Romance and Bite Me can be purchased on Amazon.com. Haymond is currently working on a longer, unrelated novel.