Hailey Edwards: The Queen of Creative Creatures That Chill & Thrill!

In the years InD’tale magazine has published, we have had the pleasure of watching many first-time authors grow into mega-selling giants.  None have given us more delight than Hailey. Her amazing creativity and imagination hit us immediately and, as each book came out, her drive and abilities never cease to inspire, amaze and delight us! 
In person, Hailey is a very unassuming, sweet, and somewhat shy southern lady.  She is incredibly kind and humble. Yet, beneath that calm demeanor lies demons and creatures and magic and fantastic worlds without end.  She is a veritable genius when it comes to crafting and creating - all wrapped up in a delightfully, fun person to know!

InD: Have you always lived in Alabama?
Pretty much. I was born in Houston, Texas, but my parents moved back to their home state when I was around two or three months old. They wanted to raise their kids around family, and the drive was too far to visit often.
InD: Tell me what it is like growing up in Alabama.
The same as growing up anywhere else, I imagine. My parents bred Appaloosas when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of time in the barn with the animals. During the summers, I stayed with my aunts in the northern part of the state. We would go on big family vacations up to the mountains, or down to the beach, or Disney/SeaWorld/Universal. That kind of thing.
InD: So, you obviously grew up with horses. Did you enjoy it?
: Yes. I absolutely loved them. They’re beautiful creatures with such big personalities. They were my mom’s passion, there at the start, but caring for them was a family affair.
InD: Do you still have horses?
We lost several horses in a fire when I was a teenager. After that, I was done. I never considered buying another one as an adult. I left that part of my life behind me.
InD: Oh gosh, that must have been horrible!
There was a summer storm, and lightning struck the barn. The fire destroyed everything. I have all of these great memories of growing up with the horses, but to think about doing anything with them now just hurts too much.
InD: I can imagine, and it wasn't like you lost just one horse, you lost your entire family of horses.
: We lost my horse, a palomino Appaloosa named Hilo, two of my mother's horses, and my sister’s horse too. It was really hard. We had bred most of them, raised them from birth and trained them. It was a big part of our lives, but after the fire, it wasn’t the same.
InD: What kind of child were you?
Feral? I was always out in the woods with my imaginary friends. I would get up early then go wander around in the forest until nightfall. My parents would call out the front door for me at bedtime, and I would trudge in to bathe.
InD: So, brothers and sisters?
I have an older sister and a younger brother. We drove each other crazy, but we were close.
InD: Were you a reader as a child?
Yes. Definitely. A defining moment for me (as a bookworm) came when I was in elementary school. There was a firm rule that students could only check out two books from the library every week. I would sneak in between classes to exchange old books for new ones. The librarian would let me take as many as I wanted. She trusted me with the books, and that meant something to me.
InD: It is kind of funny that they had a rule of only two books. Was it a small library?
: We lived out in the country, and the elementary school library was tiny. It was the first one I had access to, and seeing all those books for the first time blew my mind. By the time I got to high school, the library was bigger. But by then, I tended to go to the public library instead.
InD: What type of books did you read?
When I was very young, I read horse books all the time. As I got older, I fell in love with cozy mysteries. My parents encouraged me to read whatever I wanted, and they weren't particular about policing my choices. I was a mature child, and they trusted me to know my own tastes. I started reading Patricia Cornwell when I was eleven or twelve because that was what my parents were reading. I would pick up anything they put down.
InD: Did you write as a child?
I wrote a lot of poetry,  but I don't remember doing it until I was a teenager. One of my aunts actually presented me with a folder of poems I wrote from the time I could string words together, so apparently writing has been a theme all my life. I just never put it together that those short sentences could be made into longer stories until I was much older.
InD: How very sweet and cool is it that your aunt kept them all?!
That is just the tip of the iceberg. She has everything, even my test papers from elementary school. Hours and hours of video from my dance recitals and school functions. We have a very close relationship. She’s like a second mom to me.
My parents lived about an hour south of the rest of the family, so we didn’t get to visit them much during the school year. Just for holidays, mostly. All my aunts (and uncles) live within a three-mile radius of each other, so going there for summer meant being surrounded by my entire family. All that time together really strengthened our bonds.
InD: It sounds like a really close family.
We’re very close. I have four aunts and uncles who didn’t have children. They would save their big vacation ideas for when my siblings and I could go with them. We made a big family trip out of it.

Read the entire interview in the October 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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