June sees the launch of my new novel, Those Below The Tree House. In it, four boys are trapped in a tree house with dwindling supplies during a nightmarish outbreak. H'oh, boy. If only I'd known. The book's original release date of 2018 never happened due to the work catching the attention of an agent. We shopped it around to the Big 5, and though it garnered great interest, marketing found it too extreme. No one could seem to understand that YA characters did not mean a YA book, and (at least now) I'm fine with that. Diluting the horror meant diluting the message -- the world has teeth. And I just couldn't do it. It went through two possible movie options. The first fell short due to one particular scene, and though I agreed to remove the scene, the person acquiring the rights dropped the project like a child who'd found a worm in his sandwich. Again, what can I say? The second one didn't happen because, well, 'movie people'. They're as mysterious to me as writers are to others. So, moving on. Already, the book has made two reviewers' "best coming-of-age" lists, and I'm greatly humbled. The book did land me an amazing agent, and even received incredible blurbs from Richard Chizmar and Simon Clark. So, at the end of the day, I'm happy. It's an ode to Brian Keene's Ghoul and Richard Laymon's The Traveling Vampire Show, a novel with teeth and a whole lot of heart. And I sincerely hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. However our current situation affects the release is yet to be seen, but I'm still excited. It's been through the ringer for two years and still fightin' and kickin', and much like the kid in the novel, I think it'll come out the other end and see the light of day.
Thrilled to share the cover for Lady Luck, the sequel to A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and I. We had an absolute blast returning to this world and these characters, and it's far from the last time we will. Lady Luck comes out on 27 August
I'm absolutely thrilled to share the cover for my upcoming coming-of-age novel, Those Below The Tree House. This will be available as a trade hardcover, mass market paperback, and eBook on 11th June via Poltergeist Press.
Artwork by Ben Baldwin.
"If you like apocalyptic coming-of-age horror stories, Those Below The Tree House is for you. Fast paced, scary, and refreshingly inventive, Hayward has crafted a barn-burner of a thriller.”-Richard Chizmar, author of Gwendy's Magic Feather
While my annual ritual of attending Scares That Care in Virginia is not on the cards this year, I'll still be making my way to a couple of events this summer.
First up is StokerCon in Scarborough, UK this April. Tickets for StokerCon can be found HERE.
Then, in June, I'll be at the International Dublin Writers' Festival in Ireland. Tickets are available HERE. I'll be discussing horror in Ireland alongside authors Chris Rush, Seán O'Connor, and Emma Ennis.
I'm delighted to announce my new coming-of-age novel, Those Below The Tree House, will be releasing later this year via Poltergeist Press. It's quite possibly my favorite thing I've ever worked on, and has taken two years to come to fruition. If you like Brian Keene's Ghoul, or Richard Laymon's The Traveling Vampire Show, then this one is for you. It's a novel with teeth, and a big heart. I hope readers end up loving it as much as I loved writing it. The cover art and release date will be revealed soon. For now, here are some very kind words from the one and only Richard Chizmar:
"If you like apocalyptic coming-of-age horror stories, Those Below The Tree House is for you. Fast paced, scary, and refreshingly inventive, Hayward has crafted a barn-burner of a thriller.”--Richard Chizmar, author of Gwendy's Magic Feather
It's currently 6am. I'm about to have some coffee and tuck into edits for Lady Luck, the sequel to A Penny For Your Thoughts. But with less than 48 hours left in 2019, I wanted to take a moment and look back on the year that was. It's been a good one, but a strange one. Why? I usually do multiple short stories throughout the year, and 2019 only saw one from me, a short in Craig Spector's latest anthology. A couple of anthologies got cancelled, some were pushed back to 2020, and that's just how things went. Either way, it felt odd not having consistent stories releasing, and it left me feeling a little out of the loop. Still, 2019 was a great year. Here's why.
In January, my back catalog received hardcover re-releases via Poltergeist Press. Those included Brain Dead Blues, The Faithful, Practitioners, and What Do Monsters Fear? The latter also received a new mass market paperback and eBook release with a foreword by Edward Lee. Following that came the release of A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and myself. The reaction was insane. I couldn't be more proud of that novel. I finished a new survival horror titled The Flood, and it's currently doing the rounds via my agent, Lane. Fingers crossed we get a bite in early 2020. I attended Scares That Care in Williamsburg, VA, had the pleasure of hanging out with my horror pack once again, ate some great food, drank a little too much, and returned home to knock out the sequel to A Penny For Your Thoughts with Bob Ford. We finished in early December, and are deep into the editing phase. Expect that to release next summer.
Another Ghost, a new imprint of Thunderstorm Books run by Poltergeist Press, announced their first two limited, lettered editions. Those included A Place For Sinners by Aaron Dries, and A Penny For Your Thoughts. Both titles sold out in under two hours, and are currently at the printers. They will be seriously stunning editions, all signed and leather bound, so if you're a collector, keep an eye out for future AG titles.
I rounded out the year with a reading with Tim Lebbon and Seán O'Connor in Dublin, followed by my second exclusive release, a new short story collection called Various States of Decay. So far, reviews have been extremely kind, and I'm truly humbled. The short story is a form I adore, I cut my teeth writing for magazines and anthologies. This collects everything post-Brain Dead Blues, as well as a handful of new exclusives.
So, that's where we're at. In 2020, so far the release schedule looks like this:
Lady Luck (the sequel to A Penny For Your Thoughts with Robert Ford) - July
Those Below The Tree House (a dark coming-of-age novel) - Late 2020
A Penny For Your Thoughts (limited lettered edition) first quarter 2020
The Lurker In The Basement (Short Story) via Death's Head Press
Cretins (Short Story) late 2020 for an untitled anthology
I doubt that'll be everything released in 2020 as projects pop up and get moved around, but that's where we're at so far. I hope you all had a great 2019, and can't thank you enough for taking the time to read my work. It truly means the world.
Happy to announce my new collection, Various States of Decay, drops December 15th. Featuring 20 stories and a foreword by Kelli Owen, I can't wait for readers to get a hold of this. Read the synopsis:
FEATURING A FOREWORD BY KELLI OWEN, AUTHOR OF TEETH AND BLACK BUBBLES
From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of What Do Monsters Fear? and A Penny For Your Thoughts comes twenty new tales of terror!
Including the Irish Short Story of the Year-nominated Intercepting Aisle Nine
From a white doomsday crawling with abominable beasts to the bizarre case of a marketing company advertising within people’s dreams, these stories explore the extremes of Hayward’s prose—contrasting the heartfelt with the deeply disturbing.
These are..VARIOUS STATES OF DECAY
Poltergeist Press just released a brand new edition of What Do Monsters Fear?, now featuring the foreword by Edward Lee previously found in the limited edition from Thunderstorm Books.
This new edition is available as an eBook, trade hardcover, and mass market paperback. You can grab it right HERE. Paperbacks can also be ordered from bookstores worldwide.
Horror legend Craig Spector's new anthology Freedom of Screech released earlier this month, and contains my story Intercepting Aisle Nine. The tale could not have found a better home. It won me an Irish Short Story Of The Year nomination from Penguin Books / Sunday Business Post back in 2017, and this is the first time the story sees print. Now, if you're worried it gets political due to the anthology's title, don't be. I don't get political with my work. There's no agenda here. If anything, the story was inspired by Bill Hick's marketing joke. It's me riffing on the subject of invasion of privacy.
The anthology also includes absolute icons of the genre and newcomers alike. Here's a full list of authors: Chet Williamson, Elizabeth Massie, Matt Hayward, Jessica McHugh, Richard Christian Matheson, Jenny Orosel, Jack Ketchum, Georgia R. Buns, Tom Monteleone, Patricia Lee MacComber, David Niall Wilson, Robert Guffey, Joseph Mulak, Michael Picco, and Norman Spinrad.
I've always dreamed of having my name in print alongside Jack Ketchum, and though it may be posthumously, it's still an honor. A big thank you to Spector for having me onboard. You can grab the anthology in paperback or as an eBook from Crossroad Press right HERE.
Now, I have a few days before leaving for Scares That Care. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the road. Take care.
A Penny For Your Thoughts by myself and Robert Ford is officially out as a hardback, paperback, or as an eBook. You can buy it now right HERE. A massive thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, and just overall helped us promote this book. It's something different for both Bob and I, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To the readers, we really hope you enjoy this one. I'm off to celebrate by playing a show with my good buddy Dave Peyton tonight. Have a great weekend, and stay safe.
Sundance Crow is the personal website of author and musician Matt Hayward
Walking Papers - This Is How It Ends (Music Video)
Lace Weeper - Hard Sell (Music Video)
Malfunkshun (feat. Matt Hayward - Stardog Champion (Live in Tacoma at the Mike Starr of Alice In Chains Memorial Show)