Lucy Haughey writes currently as L.W.Hawksby and is a new author who specialises in exposing Dark Tetrad characters in her books. She is a mother of three children, three Staffies, and is an avid gardener and cook

Are you self-published or published?

I am published through a publishing platform. It’s kinda a mix of self-publishing and traditional publishing. The company I use (since 2019) don’t take any old books, but I do pay them to ‘create’ my book for me. Although I do my own cover design through choice. I’m a bit of a control freak! 

If you are not a full-time writer, do you/have you had a day job?

I am trying to build a small organisation that supports people affected by Narcissistic Abuse and plan on becoming properly self-employed. I usually write in the Summer and edit in the Winter. I get bad seasonal affective disorder (in with my usual anxiety, depression, CPTSD, and night terrors!) so have learned to focus my time and energy on professional activities that fit in with my low moods and tiredness when they are an issue.

What effect has your life had on what you write?

Sadly I became an author out of necessity. A lifetime of toxic relationships with friends, family and intimate partners, reached a climax with two abusive partners, one of which was so traumatic that I developed really bad Moral Injury and gained two criminal convictions. That was away back in 2016. I made myself unemployable basically. 

Initially, I started writing in 2017 as a way to research the abuses I suffered and my own bad behaviours and it started looking like a reference book on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I added in diary entry sections charting most of the abuses I suffered 2013 to 2016 and did this to feel my voice was being heard. This means a lot to anyone still suffering post-separation abuse and mental illness as a result of NPD in particular. Then I realised the book was needed out in the real world! I haven’t looked back!

Does writing energise you or wipe you out?

Writing tends to energise me. I get really excited with what I come up with as I only plan a little bit and use pantsing almost all the time! I get really involved in the story, especially as I write multiple characters, all diff genders, and in the first person. In The Notch, I Ioved writing as a serial killing psychopath husband! I only get wiped out physically. My bum hurts and my backaches. I once got sciatica! 

Are you a panster or a planner?

Although I like pantsing, I have what I call my ‘Murder Wall’. It has its own hashtag on my social media sites! It is a large section of my living room wall with reams of sketches, drawings, chapter lists, 1 page manuscript plans, dates, character profiles etc. It keeps me organised and motivated as I can’t avoid seeing it! When visitors come round they ooooh and ahhhh and I feel like a proper writer! 

What’s your writing process?

I write best outside and in warm weather. So generally I write daytime and summer time. But I have been known to get the 80s rock on, pour the gin and write into the wee small hours sat in bed! 

What does success look like to you?

Success to me is a number of things. I get a real rush of joy when a man or woman messages me to say one of my books really helped them understand the crimes they were involved in, either as a victim or perpetrator. Even my novels are designed to open peoples minds to how abuse happens and how to understand and heal. In The Notch, I have a woman who is really verbally abusive to her husband and who is an alcoholic. I hope that anyone reading it will look at themselves and consider how to be a better person. 

Of course I want to be enough of a success that my books sell themselves and I no longer need to use social media! I hope that in the next few years, my dream of a domestic abuse recovery and writing retreat in Crete comes true. I don’t want to be rich or famous, just wealthy enough to help others more than I do now, in blazing sunshine!

How do you market your books?

I market my books by being an educator on the issues I write about – stalking, bullying, trolling, NPD abuse, etc. So they sell pretty well via the stuff that I post on YouTube, TikTok, AnchorFM/Spotify Linkedin, Twitter and sometimes Facebook. I also occasionally help journalists research articles and ask to be namechecked as my author name L.W Hawksby. I also suffer from a cluster of stalkers who troll me every now and then, my sales always spike then. But I don’t recommend it!

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book, out on pre-order in April this year (2021) is sort of a follow on from my first book Dangerous Normal People, but highly adapted to read as fiction, to protect the characters in it. All my writing has a healthy dose of lived experience influencing it! 

That new (3rd) book is set in Cornwall, and is about a young woman who flees adult sexual abuse and stalking, only to find herself trapped in a village that was supposed to be her safe place to recover. Lola, the MC, befriends and dates all the wrong people and the following events are shocking and very dark. I called this book ‘The Forgivers Club’. I started writing it in June last year but it germinated in 2016. It took me around 3 months to write but an age to edit! So I hired a professional in December to finish tidying it up. 

I am a very fast writer, but editing kills me!

Get The Notch here