by Carolyn Haines People often ask writers where ideas for books come from. I think it’s different for each story—a tidbit for a newspaper or magazine, a chance conversation with a friend, happening upon a historical fact while looking for something else, or maybe a dream. Sometimes, as in the case of Rock-A-Bye Bones, one… Read More
USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines grew up
with both parents working as
journalists, and she was bitten by the writing bug at a very
young age. Her three ambitions were to be a cowgirl, a
mystery-solving sleuth like Nancy Drew, and a writer. Today,
she has basically accomplished them all. She is the author
of the acclaimed Bones mystery series and in
addition, she works as an advocate for humane treatment for
animals and operates a small rescue on her farm (7 horses, 9
cats and 6 dogs).
Haines claims to have had “the last golden childhood
of the South.” She grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a
town of 3,000 in the Southeastern Pine Barrens. She rode her
bicycle all over the county with her wonderful dog Venus and
employed her imagination to create adventures with her friends.
Her first job in journalism was at the local weekly, The
George County Times, when she was in high school. She
went on to work as a photojournalist at the Hattiesburg
American while attending the University of Southern
Mississippi to earn a B.S. in journalism.
She worked for nearly a decade in the news business,
covering local politics, the state legislatures in Alabama
and Mississippi, spot news, writing a personal column and
her favorite—writing features and using photography to
illustrate the story. With her mother,
she ran a statewide bureau in Mississippi for the Mobile
Register and the Mississippi Press. As part of
her journalistic adventures, Haines covered an armed robbery
on horseback, hopped a freight train, and rescued a young,
injured bald eagle from certain death. She was the first
female reporter hired on the news side of the Huntsville
At the same time, she began writing short fiction for
personal satisfaction. Under the sway of Eudora Welty,
Flannery O’Connor, Doris Betts, and Lee Smith, Haines
wrote about the landscape and the people she knew. The end
result was being accepted by an agent who urged her to
“write a novel.”
Another huge influence was Harper Lee and TO KILL A
MOCKINGBIRD. Haines’s first novel was SUMMER OF
THE REDEEMERS, a coming of age story set in 1963 rural
Mississippi and published in 1994. Haines was honored in
2010 with the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing.
In 2009, Haines was named the recipient of the Richard
Wright Award for Literary Excellence.
From general fiction, Haines drifted into mysteries, and
THEM BONES, a humorous mystery with a wise-cracking
ghost, was bought at auction. The stories center around
Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends. The fourteenth book in
the series, BOOTY BONES, was published May 20, 2014,
by St. Martin’s Minotaur.
While writing the lighter mysteries, Haines has continued to
write in the darker terrain of the crime novel.
PENUMBRA and FEVER MOON (both St.
Martin’s Minotaur) are historical crime novels.
In May 2010, an anthology she edited, DELTA BLUES,
was released to critical acclaim.
Along with writing, Haines is the fiction coordinator at the
University of South Alabama where she teaches graduate and
undergraduate fiction writing. And she is president of Good
Fortune Farm Refuge, an organization dedicated to helping
animals and to educating the public on the need to spay and
She lives on a farm with her “critters.” They
are the terror of the neighborhood.
For some of us, summer promises the time to read what we never have the time to read the rest of the year. Think: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, James Clavell’s Shogun, or Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. Wonderful reads all. Each completely different from the other, save for the time they demand of the reader… Read More
My university fiction writing classes have begun—another academic year is off to a start. Things in my writing life are crazy. And lets not talk about the animal rescue, where I have way, way too many animals. I want to talk about writing and the crazy adventures I’ve had this summer. KILLER TAILS is an… Read More
As I’m enjoying the release of the 15th Sarah Booth Delaney mystery, BONE TO BE WILD, and writing the next installment of this crazy series, I am struck anew by the forces that came to play in how Sarah Booth and her friends became a mystery series. To be completely honest, I’ve adored reading mysteries… Read More
by Carolyn Haines, February isn’t one of my favorite months, but this year I have excellent news to share. The paperback edition of BOOTY BONES has been released by St. Martin’s Press, and my alter ego, R.B. Chesterton, also has a trade paperback release—THE SEEKER. A lot of people ask me why I write both… Read More
Growing up in the small Mississippi town of Lucedale, I had two ambitions. I fantasized about being a cowgirl and solving mysteries, a la Nancy Drew. Fate has a wicked sense of humor. I have attained my dreams, but certainly not in the way I envisioned them at the age of nine. Today, I live… Read More
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The Heroine as Hero
Once upon a time, heroes had to be perfect — beautiful men riding in on beautiful white horses to save the day. Women readers all but demanded it. And then in 1847 along came Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Suddenly, readers learned the beauty of a flawed man, a man who needed a good woman to… Read More