Haley Cass took the lesfic world by storm in 2020 with her debut Those Who Wait. Her latest, In The Long Run, is another brilliant read and is available now. Haley has been kind enough to chat with me!
Thanks for having me!
Haley, your debut, Those Who Wait, is one of my favorite books. Do you share more traits with Sutton or Charlotte?
I definitely would love to say I share more traits with Charlotte – ambitious, take-charge, able to wink and smirk and make it look effortlessly charming. But I’m most definitely more in line with Sutton! Very ramble-y (especially when nervous), quiet, unsure of a lot of things I want in life but sure of who I am and what I want when it comes to following my heart.
For those who haven’t read it yet, tell us a bit about In the Long Run and Taylor and Brooke.
In the Long Run is a story about coming home, family, and finding who you really are and what really matters to you.
Taylor Vandenberg is a self-described (and… others would say it as well!) nomad and hippie, who is very lighthearted and doesn’t want to take life too seriously. She left her hometown in Tennessee after a tumultuous childhood and hasn’t looked back ever since – until decades later, in the beginning of In the Long Run.
Brooke Watson is Taylor’s younger brother Ben’s best friend, and Taylor’s diametric opposite – she would never willingly leave their hometown, she takes herself and everything else very seriously, and Taylor drives her absolutely insane. Which would be FINE, if Taylor wasn’t also the person who made her realize she was gay in her teenage years and has felt drawn to her ever since.
In spite of knowing one another for their entire lives, Taylor and Brooke really start to get to know one another one a whole new level when Taylor returns to town. Which puts their life paths at odds as they fall for one another, as Taylor’s take me where the wind blows attitude and Brooke’s immovable destiny don’t exactly match up!
I had to reread When You Least Expect It as part of my holiday reads. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
Oh, I have several traditions I love at the holidays!
For starters, exchanging gifts with my two best friends. We’ve been friends for over ten years, and on Christmas Eve Eve, as always pick a restaurant we want to try out and have dinner before we sit in front of one of their Christmas trees and systematically order who will open gifts first!
There are a few traditions I have with my family that I still love, as well. My parents have a tiny table top nativity scene, where all of the figurines are only 2-6 inches tall. Ever since I was little, my dad takes one of them and I have to figure out who is missing and find where they are hidden in my parents’ home. It’s so strange, when I type it out, but it’s just something we’ve always done that I love.
My hometown has a Christmas Stroll, where all of the small businesses downtown set up booths outside. It’s frigid out and you have to get a hot chocolate when you walk around to make sure you stay warm. But it’s a blast.
I, also, must put the tree topper on.
If you could only invite one of your couples, Brooke and Taylor, Sutton and Charlotte or Caroline and Hannah to a dinner party with one couple from another lesfic book who would you invite and why?
Hmm! Okay this is a tough question, but I’m taking my time to really think it over.
Because this is a text interview, you can’t see how long I had to take to really think about it! But some serious hours were spent debating this. I mean, if this was on video, it would have been horrifically boring and I would have been boo’d.
I am ultimately choosing Lauren King and Catherine Ayers from Lee Winter’s The Red Files with Sutton and Charlotte.
The conversation with all of the political undertones (that would like turn into overtones) would be so interesting. I think they would ultimately mostly jive pretty well in terms of who they are and what they believe in, but I also think (with Charlotte and Catherine), it could be somewhat of a minefield!
Can you tell us what you are currently writing?
I’m currently flipping between my detailed outlines for my next two (planned) books.
The first is between Regan and Emma, of Those Who Wait notoriety. Those Who Wait ended with Sutton going to Rome and Emma agreeing to move in with Regan in her absence, so this story will pick up during that time. Some enemies to friends to lovers with a dash of fake dating and oh-my-god they’re roommates!
It is entitled The Snowball Effect.
And then I will often switch into a story between two characters named Suzannah Reynolds and Lily Balducci – this one is… difficult for me to describe without going too much into excited detail lol. But it involves time travel and a mystery, so there is that to be said!
Oh, and I have an upcoming novella that spins off from In the Long Run, between Savannah Vandenberg (Taylor’s sister), and Marisa MacDonald (Brooke’s assistant), planned for mid-year!
Monica McCallan is a pretty solid Hype Woman for you. What does she mean to you as a fellow author and as a friend?
Monica is the bees knees, as the kids say.
As an author… well, I came into publishing and felt like a total island. I didn’t know any authors on a personal level, I wasn’t publishing with a publishing house, so I didn’t have that kind of community either, and it all felt very isolated. And like I had not a fucking CLUE what I was doing. I have said and will continue to say that all I want to do is write and have no idea how to do any of the rest of it. And the thing is, while I would like to make writer friends… I’m really a quiet person, the opposite of outgoing. I will likely never initiate a conversation, and if I do, I can promise you that it has taken me a LOT of gumption to do so.
Monica became my lifeline in lesfic. She knows so much about everything (including, like taxes?! She’s brilliant), and is so nice and willing to share all of her knowledge with me. As an author who was struggling through all of this… it meant the world to me.
And this has progressed into an actual friendship where I have TALKED TO HER ON THE PHONE! You don’t know me, so you don’t know how crazy that is. But I will essentially do almost anything to avoid a phone call.
Yeah, so, Monica is amazing and I’m lucky to have her in my corner!
What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Soooo so many pet peeves.
When someone is walking too slow in front of me somewhere and I can’t get by them. … same thing goes for driving if someone is going under the speed limit.
When someone is late.
When someone looks at my phone/laptop over my shoulder.
OH – someone implying that they have great gossip or a great story or a secret, but then insisting they can’t tell me. That might be top of the list…
I’m gonna stop before people think I’m nuts.
WHEN PEOPLE SPELL MY NAME WRONG – sorry… was just reminded of that one!
You have just been voted into the Presidency, like Charlotte. Which other lesfic writers will you be putting in your cabinet and why?
Oh boy! I’m not sure I’m ready for this responsibility!
I’ll be honest, as I said before, I’m not really FRIENDS with many other lesfic writers (my own fault because I’m convinced in a part of my brain that my reaching out to someone means they will think I’m a huge nuisance even if that’s not the case) – but that makes it hard to choose a lot of people to put in my cabinet as I don’t know them personally.
But I’m obviously choosing Monica as my VP. She knows everything and is on top of her shit.
Milena McKay is, like, brilliant and very kind, and I think she is super capable of handling things, so I would definitely pull her in.
Lucy Bexley is really organized – she pulls me into sales that she plans and she has these spreadsheets going and Monica has rave reviews for her, so I think she’d be a great asset to my team.
(I’m really showing my true shy loner tendencies here!)
I’ll choose Clare Ashton to round out my team. She seems super nice and is just so brilliant! Her books were some of the first I read and loved in lesfic, plus, I’ll take her for some international relations 😀
If a song played every time you walked into a room, what song would it be?
Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, because it’s fun as hell.
Or, the Imperial March, to really set the mood.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
April 25th, because all you need is a light jacket.
But, honestly, there are so many perfect days! I love a day where it’s rainy and dark outside, and it means I can just stay in and exist, preferably with the woman I love.
I love a day that’s sunny and bright out, and my best friends and I have an adventure to go on…
As long as it’s not under 45 degrees and not over 80 degrees, I’m a happy camper.
Thank you, Haley, for taking the time to chat with me! It was truly a pleasure and I can’t wait to read the books you bring to us in the future. You are an extraordinary talent!
I’m so glad to be here! Thanks for asking me to join you!