Casey Hays taught English at Clovis High School for 11 years and then started writing her first book in 2008 shortly after she stopped teaching.
Hays' work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the next four years working at the district attorney's office allowed her plenty of time to write. She said finding time to write during her teaching career was tough.
Her debut novel "The Cadence" was published on Nov. 17. When Hays is not working at the office of District Judge David P. Reeb, she might be busy with a separate writing venture, a post-apocalyptic trilogy called "Arrow's Flight."
Hays said she has always been a writer and working as a published author is her dream job. She loves European historical fiction, sking, rock, heavy metal, playing piano and singing contemporary Christian music.
What inspired you to become a writer? I've wanted to be a writer probably my whole life. I've always written stories in my head. I guess just reading other good authors made me want to prove that I could maybe do that too. Sometimes I would read a good author and I didn't like how their story ended so I would re-write it how I thought it should have ended. I would sit over my typewriter and furiously write how I thought it should have ended.
Your first book is considered teenage supernatural romance? Why did you choose this genre for your first book? Once I decided I wasn't going to teach anymore I had all this time to pursue what I always wanted to do, which was to write a book for teenagers. I love teenagers. They're like my favorite kind of people. They're fun. They don't have a lot of worries. They're just kind of content with how things are going. They haven't really experienced what the real world is like yet so they're a little bit oblivious to that. I enjoyed spending every day with them at school and I thought I would love to write books for them. During my last year teaching (at CHS) we started to read a lot of young adult novels as a class. I found out that teenagers like to read books about kids their age. Forget the "Scarlet Letter" and "Wuthering Heights." I'm not saying they shouldn't read the classics but I think they need to have an outlet too where they can get to know authors who write books just for them.
How was working for the district attorney's office different than teaching high school? I think I was a little naive as a teacher as far as what the real world is like. At the DA's office I got to see a side of people that I never knew existed. I may have had a rowdy kid or two in class but when I started working at the DA's office I got to see how bad people can be. It makes you look at life a little differently. It makes you really appreciate the people who are in your life and it makes you more cautious.
What do you miss about teaching? What I miss most is being with the kids all day long. I loved the kids and I did not leave because of the kids. I miss teaching my subject. I love poetry; I love short stories; I love British literature. I thought I would miss the summers off but I don't.
What is one of the wildest things you've ever done? I graduated from Roswell High School. I whole group of us went to the missile silos and climbed all the way to the bottom. The floor was rotting. There were holes we could have fallen through. We had to go across little landings and climb down ladders. It was dangerous and we had one flashlight with like 15 of us. We were holding on to each other trying to make it. We could have probably killed ourselves because it was a long way down. It was probably pretty stupid of us to do something like that at midnight but we all survived. I'd do a lot of stupid things like that with my friends when I was growing up. I got married at 19 so I straightened up pretty fast (laughing). I was only wild in my teen years.
• Name: Casey Hays
• Age: 40
• Hometown: Clovis
• Occupation: Trial court administrative assistant
• Married: To Scott
• Children: Zach and Faith
Casey Hays with her husband Scott, top left, daughter Faith, bottom left, and son Zach, during a family ski trip in Ruidoso.