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Author Interview with Kathy Hayes of Dear Oval Office Occupant

As a copy editor and writer for a national business-to-business magazine, Kathy Hayes put her writing and grammatical precision to the test while embarking on an assignment all her own. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017 Hayes has written to him everyday. She has sent over 1,000 letters to date. Hayes puts research, heart, anger, and frustration into each and every letter. Her consistency and dedication to this journey has shown us what it means to embark on your own personal protest and serve as a voice to the voiceless.  Hayes sat down with us to discuss how she stays inspired in her own writing practice and what is ahead next for her!

What is your favorite childhood book?

 My childhood was filled with amazing books, but reading the Chronicles of Narnia was life-changing. To this day, I consider The Voyage of the Dawn Treader one of the best books I have ever read. Swordplay, sea monsters, mermaids, dragons and treasure — that book has it all! 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Deciding which topic to write about. Many days, the president had said and done 15 outrageous things by noon. Thousands of abnormal events and statements never made it into my letters.  

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice? 

For me, writing is both a creative pursuit and a practical way to communicate my thoughts. I haven’t reached the level of spiritual practice yet, but that sounds like something to strive for. 

What is the first book that made you cry? 

The Velveteen Rabbit. Decades later, I tried to read it to my kids and still couldn’t get through it without sobbing.  

What’s next for you? What are you currently working on?

I’ve developed tenacity and discipline from this project. I hope to use those qualities and my writing skills to advocate for the environment and marginalized communities. And I’d like to publish my picture book and develop the series I’ve imagined.   

Dear Oval Office Occupant: Letters to the White House in the Age of Trump by Kathy Hayes was published through City Limits Publishing on December 1st, 2020. You can order it via its website, Amazon, Kindle, and other digital platforms.

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