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Fandom Q+A K.M. Hayes Q&A

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Did you have an opinion growing up of the ‘My Little Pony’ franchise? You know, generations 1 through 3.5.

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Thank you Miss Hayes for your time to coming to our forums. <3

 

My question, and hopefully isn't already asked, what was the most difficult part of creating this lovely novel?

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Aw, yay, I'm here for it!

 

So, Miss Hayes! I am currently writing a short story in order to get my foot in the publishing door before spending my limited time on a full blown novel. I have confidence in my ability to write well, but I am unaware of the proper way to go out getting a book published! I have looked around a few websites, but the preferred process by whoever posted it is always a bit different.

 

If you are willing to divulge, how did you go about getting published?

 

Thank you for your time. I'll obviously understand if you are unable to get to my question. I'm just glad to have the opportunity to ask you! I hope you have a good night and don't get too overwhelmed by the waterfall of questions! <3

 

Of course I will answer! I wish I could write in more detail, but that would be a whole novel in and of itself so this will have to be redux style:) Basically, there's a few ways to approach publishing: traditional publishing, small press, or indie publishing. Each have their pros and cons, I've done both traditional and indie so I have a bit of experience everywhere.

 

Traditional publishing is when you try to get published through the "Big Five" publshing companies in New York. HarperCollins, Houghton-Mifflin, Penguin Randomhouse, Simon & Schuster, and Little Brown. They have a bunch of imprints, but they mostly all fall under those big umbrellas. To publish this way, you have to have a "literary agent." New York editors won't look at novels not submitted by agents, so it's basically that important to have one for this path. To get an agent, you send them a query letter pitching your book (you can research more on how to do that and who to send to online), and if they're interested they request pages and hopefully love it and offer to represent you. If so, they will try to sell your work to a publisher (they take a small comission on sales), and if that goes well you sell and are published in a couple years. This progress can be whip fast or painfully slow and there's no way to predict it.

 

Small Press is a little like traditional in that you are being published by a press, but on a smaller scale. You don't necessarily need an agent for this, but it might still be good to have one because they know how to negotiate book contracts like no other. You submit your work to the publisher, and if they like it they offer to publish it.

 

Indie is when you do it all yourself. I've done this for 2.5 of my novels. You are in charge of the costs and work and everything--the writing, editing, cover design, marketing, pricing, etc. It can be really fun but it's also really hard work and requires you to wear lots of different hats.

 

So it's really up to you and what you think is best for you as an author.

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What do you do to get into your creative writing mode? Do you listen to music? Go outside? Seclude yourself in your dungeon? Play your album of screaming cat noises?  :umad:

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Alright, time for some serious spoilers delving into the book.  :yay:

Every time I talked with someone who had read the book, one of the first comments from them was usually about them identifying with one of the characters.  How deliberate was it to try and represent different 'types' of bronies within the group?  Also, which character did you relate to the most?

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What are your favorite books and who are your favorite authors to read?

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I'm one other those people who only ever wanted to write, even when I was a kid. It was always The Dream, though sometimes I believed I could do it and sometimes I didn't think it was possible. I was always writing silly stories in elementary school, and then in jr. high I found anime and began drawing and creating stories that fell more in line with that. While I "came up with my own characters," looking back the story was totally a rip of of Sailor Moon, hehe.

 

I gave up on writing creatively for awhile in high school, after one of my friends read my work and said it wasn't very good. I was super self-conscious and her opinion meant the world. So if she didn't think I could do it then I must have been a failure. Which was silly, but hey I was like 16 and a little dramatic. I wrote non-fic for magazines in colleges and such, but didn't pick up the creative writing until after I graduated. That's when I seriously began to pursue publication.

 

I totally get that, I mean, I think writing in general remains something that people are really self-conscious about, but sadly there doesn't seem to be a larger conversation about how self-conscious people are about it.  I mean, yeah, some people are just plain happy to write however poorly they want online, but if you've ever been in a comments section for a bad fanfic (especially poorly written ones), you see that some people have a really hard time taking criticism for their writing or learning how to improve, and not just adolescents or teenagers.  On the one hand, sure, maybe they write badly and deserve the criticism they get, but on the other hand, some of said criticism can be so fierce that people just become plain scared or just too frustrated to bother trying to write anything else, and that's a shame.  As a fanfic writer myself, I never want to see people give up at writing, which is why I think reviewers need to be more careful when they're giving feedback, even if some of them write reviews for more humorous purposes.

 

Anyways, onto my next question.  When you first joined the forums, we'd briefly talked about fanfiction a little.  You seemed quite warm and receptive to the idea of fanfiction, so I'm curious, have you moseyed on over to Fimfiction and read any brony fanfics published there?  Any fanfic genres you particularly like and dislike?

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(edited)

Hello and welcome! As I'm sure many have already said, thank you so much for being here tonight to answer all of our questions! I have one too, if you don't get too overloaded by us eager fans :P

 

I've found the My Little Pony fandom to be a wonderfully diverse one, making people feel accepted and appreciated no matter their race, gender, religion, sexuality, well, you get the idea. I haven't gotten to read this novel yet, and was wondering how much you touch upon that aspect of our fandom, and if that played a role in your decisions regarding how to portray us. 

 

Great question! I care a lot about diversity, actually, in all aspects, and I worked to include it as naturally as possible in the novel. In *most* of my novels I have a very diverse cast and this was just a natural thing to me. I come from a mixed background, in that my grandmother was native to New Zealand and part Maori. Some of my siblings even live there now (I wish I did!). I also have an anxiety disorder that I'm medicated for, and I am part of a religion many people don't like. So yeah, it's just an important thing to me to show people from all places in life.

 

You'll find some of these in My Little Brony (Quincy, Emma, Harley...and even Jake, though he's still in the closet [ack spoiler sorry!]). And I hope if the series continues that I'll be able to continue adding to that diverse cast:)

 

Welcome Miss Hayes to the forums! I was wondering, what do think of fan-made video games about my little pony and my little pony roleplays?

 

I don't know a lot about them, honestly! But it sounds cool. I love video games--I guess I need to check this out! I totally got addicted to the MLP phone app, haha. I eventually had to delete it because my family was getting mad that I never paid attention to them:(

Edited by KMHayes
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(edited)

Hi there, K.M. Hayes! I'm surprised that you're the guest of honor and see you highlighted as green on the forum.

 

Here, you may learn more about other ponies and be excited about them including Princess Twilight Sparkle.  :)

Edited by Allen
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Hello there Miss Hayes it's great to have you visiting here! I have just learned about your book myself and am taking a interest in reading it soon enough.

 

What are your thoughts on the MLP Forums site? What kinds of music are of interest to you?

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So it's really up to you and what you think is best for you as an author.

 

Thank you very much for the reply! That all seems a little intimidating and agents sound... expensive, but so does indie publishing. xD I'll probably end up doing Small Press. Hope I can join the ranks one day! : 3

 

Also, since I saw that post you made about cartoons, I figured I'd drop off a couple of recommendations.

Secret of Kellshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMPhHTtKZ8Q

Song of the Seahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgbXWt8kM5Q

I think you might like these if you haven't seen them already. <3

 

I hope you have a good rest of the night!

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Hello, K. M. Hayes! It's wonderful to have you here.

 

I have two questions to ask: first off, what other franchises do you like outside of MLP:FiM? And secondly, what year did you become a brony?

 

I like A LOT of animation. I'm not sure I could pick franchises, but anime in general is a thing I love very much and have been inspired by in my writing. MLP is definitely the biggest American franchise I've ever fallen in love with.

 

I guess I became a brony on the first season of MLP: FiM. I actually didn't watch the show in the 80s, and so this was my first exposure and it had an imediate impact on me.

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And I hope if the series continues that I'll be able to continue adding to that diverse cast:)

 

Thinking about a sequel already, are we? :comeatus:

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Why did you choose to use an alias, and why ‘K.M. Hayes’ specifically?

 

Also a publisher-mandated choice! But I did get to choose my pen name. I chose K. and M. for some dear family members, and "Hayes" I thought was a little pony-like but not too obvious;)

Welcome to the forums, KMHayes!

 

Which is your favourite song on the show?

 

So hard to pick just one, but I think I have to go with the song Princess Celestia sings to Twilight at the end of season 3. Seriously, it makes me tear up every time. I just think it's so sweet, and the mother in me gets all sappy about how much Twilight had grown at that point, too.

 

My kids LOVE the Equestria Girls songs. I swear I can sing all the ones from the second movie thanks to them;)

Nice to have you here, K.M. Hayes.

 

Do you plan on writing any more books other than My Little Brony?

 

Yes! Actually, My LIttle Brony is my 7th published novel. The others are just under another name (Natalie Whipple). I am currently working on edits for another novel, and I always, always have plans to write as long as I can:)

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A BRONYCON AND WHAT WAS YOUR OPINION ON IT

 

I haven't! But, oh man, do I want to go so badly! They look so fun and I'd love to meet other fans. At the same time they make me nervous because there's so many people. I actually have social anxiety, and it can be hard to attend big events. Very overwhelming and easy for me to have a panic attack.

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Great question! I care a lot about diversity, actually, in all aspects, and I worked to include it as naturally as possible in the novel. In *most* of my novels I have a very diverse cast and this was just a natural thing to me. I come from a mixed background, in that my grandmother was native to New Zealand and part Maori. Some of my siblings even live there now (I wish I did!). I also have an anxiety disorder that I'm medicated for, and I am part of a religion many people don't like. So yeah, it's just an important thing to me to show people from all places in life.

 

You'll find some of these in My Little Brony (Quincy, Emma, Harley...and even Jake, though he's still in the closet [ack spoiler sorry!]). And I hope if the series continues that I'll be able to continue adding to that diverse cast:)

 

I'm very excited to hear that! I know that certain people have sadly chosen to stigmatize bronies as a very homogenous group, and I am happy to see anyone opposing such a silly notion. I have an anxiety disorder as well, and belong to a religion that is not exactly popular, so it's also cool to know that we have some things in common.

 

I have another question for you actually, one that I'd imagine is on a lot of people's minds here tonight. Is there any chance you might be compelled to stick around after this little Q & A? We at MLPforums would be happy to have you if you felt like dropping back in on occasion :)

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I want to tell my mom I'm a brony. Is there any advice you can give me, Ms. Hayes? It's certainly a refresher to see someone who actually doesn't have any objections to us.

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Pleased to meet you K. M. Hayes. :)

 

Considering how much you love the show, have you checked out the comics if you had the time? I'm a fan of them; personally. :)

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That's cool. What advice do you have for up and coming writers?

 

First, write. Which sounds silly, but lots of people talk about writing and never do it. You can plan and dream, but writing a book requires actually sitting down and getting the words out. They may not be good at first, but practice is key.

 

I would also say focus on craft before publishing. It's so easy to get caught up in the dream of publishing (I know I did) and forget to actually improve your work. The true joy of writing will always be the craft of story. Learn everything you can and practice and if publishing comes with that, great, and if not, that's okay, too.

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(edited)

Who is your favorite character, by the way? 

 

 

Edited by KeybladePony
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I totally get this. I've beaten myself up over my writing for a while and use to be very very self-concious about my work.. Do you get ever writer's block and if so, how do you push past it? I always find myself having trouble with this. 

 

Writer's "block" I find comes from a few different things. First, many times it's just a case of laziness. Sometimes I KNOW what I need to write next, but I just don't WANT to write! That's the case where you just have to stick your butt in the chair and write and have that discipline.

 

If I honestly don't know where the sotry is going, it's usually because I've made a mistake or I need to brainstorm. If a scene just feels off, I look at what I've written and usually find the book took a wrong turn several chapters back and I need to revise. If I'm truly blank, I take the time to come up with at least 5 possible ways the story could go from where I'm at. Usually your first ideas will be the most cliche or obvious, and the next ones are stronger.

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First, write. Which sounds silly, but lots of people talk about writing and never do it. You can plan and dream, but writing a book requires actually sitting down and getting the words out. They may not be good at first, but practice is key.

 

I would also say focus on craft before publishing. It's so easy to get caught up in the dream of publishing (I know I did) and forget to actually improve your work. The true joy of writing will always be the craft of story. Learn everything you can and practice and if publishing comes with that, great, and if not, that's okay, too.

Would you say the teen who becomes a brony in the book is based off of anyone in real life?

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That is an insanely amazing list of cartoon and anime goodness :D

 

Okay, some follow up questions.  What's your favorite Miyazaki movie?

 

And your favorite characters from DBZ, Attack on Titan, InuYasha, and Sailor Moon?

 

What tends to be your inspiration when writing?

 

Finally, most important of all......do you like Alvin and the Chipmunks?

 

Miyazaki movie...I love so many, but as a creative person Kiki's Delivery Service has actually gotten me through some hard times. When Kiki loses her ability to fly--sometimes I've felt like that in my writing. And watching her go through finding that strength and joy again is very powerful for me.

 

DBZ: Gohan. Attack on Titan: Annie. InuYasha: Sesshoumaru! Sailor Moon: Rei.

 

As far as inspiration for my writing, it's a big mix! I take a lot from my creative loves: cartoons, books, video games, art. I also take a lot from my personal experience as well. Not in a "I write my exact life events into a book," but I certainly draw on things I have or am currently struggling with, things that have meant a lot to me in my life, things that have made me happy.

 

And the Chipmunks? ...I'm afraid to answer this...but their voices. It's hard for me to get past their voices:(

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(edited)

<Character Spoiler>

 

What was your motivation for the ‘Teagan’ character? I found it a tad odd to have the theme of obsession in the book, not that it detracted from anything

Heck yeah, Sesshoumaru! :angry:

 

 

Edited by TopQuark
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Did you have an opinion growing up of the ‘My Little Pony’ franchise? You know, generations 1 through 3.5.

 

I'm afraid I don't have much of an opinion. I actually didn't watch the show growing up! I was that weird little girl that leaned more towards X-Men and Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters and Captain Planet...

Thank you Miss Hayes for your time to coming to our forums. <3

 

My question, and hopefully isn't already asked, what was the most difficult part of creating this lovely novel?

 

The hardest part by far was the very tight deadline. They gave me two months to write it! That was very hard. Luckily it was something I loved so that made it a bit less painful, but I usually like to spend more than two month drafting a novel.

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I don't know a lot about them, honestly! But it sounds cool. I love video games--I guess I need to check this out! I totally got addicted to the MLP phone app, haha. I eventually had to delete it because my family was getting mad that I never paid attention to them:(
I can relate to being a little addicted to a video game. Some of the games are really cool and show hard work! Thanks for answering my question. 
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