Haley WalshHaley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor’s life was not for her. Instead, she became a successful graphic designer in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the ’80s and early ’90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her interests toward writing. She became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and now writes an acclaimed gay mystery series, the Skyler Foxe Mysteries. She’s lived all her life in southern California, sampling wines and chomping chocolate. Yeah, it’s a living.

If you are interested in historical mysteries, Haley writes a mainstream medieval mystery series under a different name.


Tell us about Skyler Foxe. How did you come up with this character?

Skyler is based on several people, including myself. He’s the kind of studious, high-maintenance kind of guys I used to know when I was a lot younger and that I always fell for who turned out to be gay. He is the kind of guy who was a lot of fun to hang around with but could be relied upon to be the grown-up of the group. Skyler has issues about coming out of the closet mostly because of where he lives and also because of his mother whom he took care of after her divorce when Skyler was about twelve. He’s always watched out for his mom as the man of the house and has always made his own way. He came out in college and hasn’t looked back in terms of his sexuality but in terms of his job, it’s all strictly business. He really loves being a teacher, loves literature, loves his students and watching them grow as people. But he’s a party boy and loves to dance and to hook up. Platinum blond and pale-skinned, has an inexplicable love for Motown music and Hawaiian pizza. He hasn’t ventured very far from home, though, even to go to college, and is even teaching high school at his old alma mater. So though he is pretty confident he also has a few hang ups. Who doesn’t?

As you might have guessed from the books, I am deeply interested in characters. They are never cardboard cut outs to me. Each person in the books has depth and a backstory that may never reach the page but it is there in their characterization, in their motivation, and in their dialogue. I care more about the characters and their interaction than any old mystery, but the mystery is fun, too. As well as the romance.

What does the future hold for Skyler? Any sequels?

Indeed. It’s a series and I like to consider the opening trilogy a sort of “pilot” for the series. Each has its own murder but all three are connected to an overarching story. There are new secrets to be revealed and more answers along the way. If there continues to be interest in Skyler I will continue to add more books to the series. I have plenty of ideas for where the story can go.

Any thoughts on the queer fiction publishing industry? Are ebooks the future? If we want consistently great reads, which publishers should we keep an eye on?

Ebooks are the future of all publishing. They are here to stay, but I don’t think print will ever disappear either. People like collecting books, getting authors to sign them, and see them on their shelves. That being said, ebooks have been a tremendous boon to queer publishing because people from all over the world who don’t have access to these kinds of books can download them to their computer. I look to see who’s clicking on my website and I’ve noticed that an awful lot of visitors come from places where you are not allowed to be gay: Dubai, Saudi Arabia, lots of Asian countries. So I’m grateful for that and grateful the market is available. I definitely sell far more ebooks for my Skyler books than I do print. One reason for that is that gay bookstores are few and far between now. It’s the same for all indie bookstores, though, in reaction to internet marketing and pricing and now the ebooks. And as far as publishers, why I think that my own publisher MLR Press has fabulous variety of erotica, romance, mystery, and other genres!

Who’s your favorite writer, and why?

This changes all the time, as it should, depending on one’s stage in life. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet for all the hardboiled crime fiction I have loved. Dorothy L. Sayers for superb character studies of her Lord Peter Wimsey character. He was the first sleuth to really grow up in his series, to change. Shakespeare because I am an honest to goodness card-carrying fan girl; Dickens because he comes up with the greatest names; Jane Austen because her characters are also based on wry observation of her own class. J. R.R. Tolkien for inspiring me to write in the first place when I was in high school and for J.K. Rowling for taking Tolkien’s world-building success and making it her own in her believable and wonderful world that is just beyond the magical barrier. I know it’s really there. I can’t possibly be a Muggle!

If your life was a movie or a song, which one would it be?

The Ten Commandments. I’m pretty overly dramatic most of the time and I would like to rule a kingdom and lay down the law. (“So it is written, so it shall be done.”)

Who is Haley Walsh? And how is life treating her these days?

Haley Walsh is an interesting character in her own right. She’s the name I invented for the branding of my gay mysteries. In real life, she is Jeri Westerson, who writes a series of medieval mysteries published by a mainstream big New York publisher (www.JeriWesterson.com). So why does a straight woman who is published by a big New York publisher write gay fiction under a pen name? It isn’t for the money. Definitely not. It’s really because it’s a lot of fun. My medieval mysteries take a great deal of research and the themes and plots are very dark. The prose is dense with story and research. I needed a way to kick back and let my natural sense of humor and fun out in my writing, and I also wanted a chance to poke a stick at all the Evangelicals I’m surrounded by in this conservative region in southern California. I was getting into reading queer lit and I decided to try my hand at it. Plus my gay friends encouraged me to do it. My characters are all from life (and they don’t even recognize themselves, that’s the funny part) along with a lot of imagination and really fun research! Bottom line (so to speak), it’s for the love of it and the love of my characters.

I write full time now with my two series and I’m working on an urban fantasy series, called Booke of the Hidden, so that’s three books a year! Of course, even the New York books don’t make a lot of money (please don’t get into publishing for the dough. There just isn’t any). I’m fond of telling people I don’t have a day job anymore but with my writing I’m now making part time office assistant money. Whoo hoo! Let the good times roll!


10 Things You Don’t Know About Skyler (or maybe you do!)

1. Skyler Leslie Foxe was born in Redlands as an only child to Cynthia Armstrong Foxe and Dale Frederick Foxe, on August 10, 1985.

2. His parents were divorced when he was 12.

3. Skyler attended James Polk High School, the same school in which he now works as an English Lit teacher. He graduated in 2003.

4. His hobbies: Collecting first editions and men, but now that he’s in a relationship, only the former.

5. His bad habits: He’s nosy, likes gossip, jumps to conclusions, and can be a bit bitchy.

6. His favorite foods: Artichokes with aioli and Hawaiian pizza.

7. His favorite music: Motown.

8. Favorite alcoholic drink: Grey Goose on the rocks.

9. Favorite movie: “Dreamgirls.”

10. His greatest ambition is to be the best most loved teacher ever!