Anna Hays: A Self Portrait
Anna Hays Revealed
About Anna Hays
What is your birthdate?:2/26
Previous occupations:Film producer, journalist, short order cook... script reader
Favorite job:Writing books (of course!)
High school and/or college:I went to Nyack High School, Oberlin College and then earned half of a graduate degree from Columbia University
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Frederick Chopin and Stevie Wonder
Favorite movie:The Wizard of Oz
Favorite television show:(currently) The Office, Reno 911, Flight of the Conchords
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Trying to uncover life's mysteries with a smile
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. Less is Always More
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Surrounded by loved ones without a care in the world. Just living in the moment, food in the 'fridge, sun in the sky, with a view of a fresh water lake or maybe it's an ocean.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Being invisible
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. On the coast of northern Spain
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. My mother
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Um
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Fixing my own car (I live in LA)
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. There are two - Benjamin & Will
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Thinking too much
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. I'm an optimist
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. My curiosity
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Scout Finch
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. The Grinch
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Litterbugs, Graffiti, Pretenders
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Dreaming
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. International Spy
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Honesty, Integrity, Humor
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Fresh black cherries
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Somewhere Over The Rainbow, For Once In My Life, Imagine, Blowin' in the Wind, Try a Little Tenderness
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Dr. Suess, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carson McCullers, Edith Wharton, Harper Lee
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. Great Expectations To Kill A Mockingbird The Member of the Wedding The Great Gatsby Goodnight Moon
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Trust the process and yourself.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. Is this book based on your real life?
- Q. How did you come to write Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life?
- A. I was working as a creative director in interactive media and coming up with a lot of ideas about how to tell stories using emerging technology and new narrative tools. As a fun exercise, I first worked on the Portia idea as an interactive series for the Web, but that never ended up going anywhere. That was a little over ten years ago. But I couldn't shake Portia from my brain. I started to grow very attached to her as a character and as a way for me to explore my voice. I wanted to take the story further, so I spun the story into a book. The first draft of the book consisted of several mystery cases about people in Portia's world, including one about her missing father. Almost immediately, I had interest from the television world and spent a little more than three years developing it as a series. But regimes changed and so did marketing teams, and Portia went into "turnaround" and never made it onto the air. I put the project aside and continued in my work as a concept designer and writer for theme park attractions, toys, animation and interactive media experiences. A few years later, I met literary agent Dan Lazar online and I told him about Portia. He asked to look at the first five pages, and I immediately emailed them to him. That same afternoon he asked for the first fifty pages! Then I took off for Telluride, Colorado where my husband was part of a film festival. I remember that I was up on a beautiful lush green mountaintop staying at ski condo with a magnificent view. We had just connected our computers and there was an email waiting for me from Dan telling me he loved the book! I was 10,000 feet above sea level, but it felt much higher!