Elsie (L.C.) Hayden was almost the author who wasn’t. She was born in San Luis Potoci, Mexico, on April 11. At the time of her birth, she weighed a bit over three pounds. The first three years of her childhood were sickly ones and monthly shots had to be administered in order to maintain her health. As soon as her health improved, her parents moved to the United States.
However, many years would pass before she attained her American citizenship. She was, in fact, a senior in high school when she received her papers. "I suppose that’s why I appreciate the United States so much. Unlike many people, I chose to be an American, and I can never take my country for granted," Hayden said. "I am very proud of my Mexican roots, but being an American citizen is very important to me."
The Story Behind L.C. Hayden
The U. S. is not the only thing that is important to Hayden. "God and family rank way up there," Hayden said. She considers herself a very religious person. "God is
definitely my co-pilot. She thought about that for a moment then amended it. "No, He is my pilot."
Still another thing that Hayden considers very important is her family. "I have always believed that good, strong family ties leads to happiness. You can’t be happy if your home life is miserable."
Hayden feels that her success in providing a loving family atmosphere can only be measured by her husband of 40+ years and by her two grown sons, Donald and Robert and the grandchildren. "As to whether or not I was successful at this, you’d have to ask them," Hayden said. "I hope I’ve done a good job, but I know I’m not perfect. Unfortunately, I have a streak within me that forces me to want to be the best at whatever I attempt. This is realistically impossible to achieve, but I am a dreamer even though my dreams sometimes vanish into the thin air."
Consequently, Hayden feels that every day she must do something to improve lives, whether her own or someone else’s. "The world needs love and kindness,” Hayden said. Her goal in life is that when she dies, there will be at least one person who will say, "Because she lived, my life is better."
Thus Hayden respects all people. "And this is especially true about my readers,” Hayden said. She feels that a special bond exists between the reader and the author and she hopes "to nurture this relationship."
"Readers can reach me here through my website or befriend me on Facebook. I would love to hear from readers, writers, and everyone else,” Hayden said. Whenever possible, Hayden grasps the opportunity to talk and meet people. "Writing is often a lonely business,” Hayden said, "and consequently, I’d love the chance to talk and meet my audience."
As long as Hayden can remember, she has been writing. "I was one of those students who when the teacher assigned an essay, I’d turn in a twenty-page report. I bet you my English teachers hated me.”
However, Hayden didn’t consider becoming a professional writer until she attended the University of Texas at El Paso. At one time, she had two term papers due on the same day. Hayden was particularly concerned about the first one. "My professor was the type who, if the word the appeared twice in the same page, he’d mark it and deduct tons of points.” Consequently, she devoted all of her time strictly to this paper.
Three days before the due date, Hayden finished with the paper except for the final proofreading. She then went to the library to work on her other paper. "I took the completed paper with me so that I could give it that final proof while it was still fresh in her mind. I found some minor mistakes that would require retyping four pages. Those were the days before computers simplified matters. After I marked the mistakes, I set the paper to the side and began to work on the second term paper."
By two in the morning, Hayden felt exhausted. She gathered her work and went home. The next day, she got up early so she could retype the pages. She reached for her paper and came out empty-handed. She remembered setting it aside in order to work on the second paper.
In her haste to get home, Hayden remembered that she had gathered only the work she had done on the second paper. She had left the entire first paper in the library. Hayden rushed to the library, but her research paper was gone. The note cards, the bibliography, the text, the outline, the title page-all gone. Due date was only three days away.
Hayden knew it would be useless to ask for an extension on the deadline, so she took the only option left: she began from scratch. Somehow, during the next three days, Hayden managed to complete both papers. She turned them in and weeks later she got the first paper back. She received a C. The only comment followed the letter grade: "And you want to be an author--Ha!"
Hayden was devastated. Her depression lasted until she received the second term paper. On this paper, Hayden received an A and the following comment: "This is good enough to be published. If you get rid of the footnotes and revise the paper to suit the magazine, I bet you it would be accepted for publication."
Desperate to prove the first professor wrong and even more desperate to prove to herself that she could do it, Hayden accepted the second professor’s challenge. She wrote, revised, proofread, and rewrote again. A month later, Hayden received a letter of acceptance. "And that was the first thing I got published.”
Since then, Hayden has gone on to publish over 400 pieces of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. "I wrote just about everything imaginable, but my specialties included folklore, travel, and historical articles. Every time I had something published, I got a tingling sensation all over me. I was very thankful for that, but something was missing. I wanted to write novels."
One day, Hayden took the plunge. An editor called requesting an article. She thanked the editor for thinking of her and gently said, "No, thank you. I’m going to write a novel.” That was news to her, but now knew she had to write a novel.
A year later, Hayden completed the novel, but at least thirteen years would pass before it would be published. Who’s Susan?, Hayden’s first work, became a Barnes ’n Noble Top Ten Best Seller. "I wrote, revised, rewrote and then rewrote the story at least twenty million times,” Hayden said. During that time, Hayden feels that she learned more about writing than she ever did in any classroom. "I suppose you could say I paid my dues."
She now has three mystery series going and plans to add books to each. "Who knows? I might be tempted to write a fourth series somewhere down the line," Hayden said.
The author’s first nonfiction work was released in 2002. When Angels Touch You, a WordWright and a Kindle Bestseller, is the author’s true accounts of the miracles in her life. Other books follow in the angels/miracle series, and Hayden plans to always add books to this series. If you have had an angel or a miracle experience, Hayden requests that you contact her.
The Drums of Gerald Hurd is the only horror novel she’s written. The book promises all the punch of a first-class horror story and the sensitivity of a romance.
In addition, she has penned her first children’s picture book, What Am I? What Am I? in honor of her grandchildren. Other children's picture books followed.
She has also completed a stand alone novella, Bell Shaped Flowers, an inspirational young adult novels along the lines of Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Besides being an accomplished author, Hayden is a popular speaker who is often in demand. She has done workshop and school presentations, has spoken to clubs and organizations, and was hired by several cruise lines to speak about writing while cruising all over the world.
Hayden, who taught high school English for twenty-six years, retired in May 2001. Although she calls El Paso, Texas, her home, her husband and she spend a vast amount of time on the road in their motor home, promoting books, attending and speaking at conferences, or doing presentations. From Oct. 2006 to Oct. 2007, Hayden hosted the only live talk show sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, Murder Must Air.
Hayden holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is member of the El Paso Writer’s League, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.
Besides writing, Hayden enjoys drawing, reading, traveling, and scuba diving--and "I can't spent enough time with the grandkids!"