True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Featured Author & Giveaway: Hayden Thorne

Hayden Thorne
Hayden Thorne has lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area though she wasn’t born there (or, indeed, the USA). She’s married with no kids and three cats, is a cycling nut, and her day job involves artwork, great coworkers who specialize in all kinds of media, and the occasional strange customer requests involving papier mache fish with sparkly scales.

She’s a writer of young adult fiction, specializing in contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical genres. Her books range from a superhero fantasy series to reworked folktales to Victorian ghost fiction. Her themes are coming-of-age with very little focus on romance (most of the time) and more on individual growth with some adventure thrown in.

Visit Hayden Thorne’s website:

Q&A with Author Hayden Thorne:

  1. In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

    I’m a massive nerd when it comes to fiction – at least in terms of making use of what I know as an English Major in college. I’m extremely fond of symbolism, metaphor, and allegory. I find it exciting writing a story that’s a lot more than what’s obvious on the surface. It’s like working bread crumbs into the plot, and leaving readers to find connections. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. The stories just become colorful fantasies, and there’s nothing wrong with that. By and large, though, I never write a story without a specific metaphor in mind. For me, there’s more than one way to tell a story, even something like a coming-out novel.

  2. What are your writing goals for the next five years?

    I’d like to continue writing what I write, but I’m also interested in dipping into the fantasy middle-grade fiction waters, LGBT and otherwise. I’m particularly interested in writing gothic fiction for kids, and if things work out in my favor, I’d like to find an agent for it. Fantasy LGBT YA fiction is still my mainstay, though, and even if I were to cut back on my output there, I’m not stopping completely.

  3. Do you believe in ghosts? (or aliens or vampires or whatever the subject matter of the story is)

    I do, which is the reason why I’m excessively fond of ghost fiction, particularly Victorian ghost fiction. I’ve had experiences when I was younger involving hauntings, the most significant one being an incident that happened to both me and my younger sister at the same time. So she could corroborate my claims easily. We still talk about it once in a while, too. I think neither of us will ever forget that moment.

  4. Which authors do you enjoy reading?

    Those would be authors whose works I adore and look up to as inspiration for my own stories. I’ve got several, but the ones who keep their top spots, no matter what, are M.R. James (Victorian ghost fiction), Chris Priestley (dark fantasy children’s literature), Susanna Clarke (historical fantasy / alternate universe), and a smattering of classic lit writers (Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens).

    I’m also very fond of anthologies – ghost fiction and gothic fiction from the beginnings of the genres to the early twentieth century.

  5. Is there one genre of YA that you would love to write but haven’t? (example: paranormal, contemporary, fantasy)

    I grew up watching mecha anime, and I’d love, love, LOVE to write a sci-fi gay YA novel that involves giant robots battling aliens or monsters or whatnot. My favorite series is Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I devoured as an adult, and I’m still completely blown away by the series’ psychological complexity and fantastic art.

  6. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    That they – the readers - are more than their sexual orientation. They’re complex, they’re contradictory, they’re exciting, and they’re very much heroes of any story that can be written. Whether it’s a fairy tale or a contemporary fantasy or a gothic romance, a young reader can easily find him/herself front and center, faltering and stumbling, making mistakes, learning something valuable and unique about him/herself, and ultimately emerging a lot wiser and stronger.

Now Available from Hayden Thorne:

Masks: Rise of Heroes (2nd edition) Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There's a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he's wreaking havoc on the town, and on Eric's life. The new super hero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that's right between his nose. Peter is Eric's best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks on trains and banks and malls. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep. As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil's Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric's relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins when Eric finds out about Peter's special talents, which might just rank Peter as a superhero in his own right. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, too, Peter and Althea, along with Magnifiman and Eric's normal, middle-class family all have to work together to keep Eric, and their city, safe. Can they figure out the super villain's plan in time?

The Weeping Willow A woodland shadow and a mortal fall in love, and a tragic cycle begins, haunting the steps of their daughter, Aeldra. At a young age, Aeldra finds herself pregnant, abandoned, and standing at a precipice, her child’s future hanging on a balance. Already physically weakened for having shadow and mortal blood in her veins, she remains defiant when her shadow kin demand her child’s life. She presses her faithful servant, Halfrith, to stand by the boy and make sure he remains unnamed, as it’s through his name that the shadow world will find the means by which they can claim him.

Hope comes in the shape of Helena Butcher, a seventeen-year-old seamstress who brings shame to her family by getting pregnant out of wedlock. From beyond the grave, Aeldra looks to Helena and her unborn child to save her own son, who’s now cursed to remain caught between two worlds after a woodland shadow’s attempt at taking the boy away is thwarted by Halfrith.

Though tragedy marks the births of Crispian Butcher and Aeldra’s son, who’s been turned into a weeping willow by the woodland shadows, something much deeper and more enduring will shape the curious friendship between a ragged boy and a mournful tree. And something stronger and more resistant to hate and prejudice will ultimately break a curse, end a dark cycle, and bring two lonely boys together.

Benedict A young person’s sixteenth birthday is an important rite of passage that’s celebrated in the land of marionettes. A quarterly dance at the king’s palace for recent celebrants marks the highlight of a teenager’s year, where youngsters of all classes are invited to mingle and dance and enjoy themselves, forging new friendships and potential romances, all of which are expected to shape their lives for the better.

Benedict is a boy from a privileged household. Spoiled and taught his role as the future benefactor to those less fortunate, he’s grown up with specific strictures on how to behave toward others, and he’s learned to look to his elders for unequivocal guidance.

Just before the next dance at the king’s palace—a dance where Benedict, having just turned sixteen, is invited—a few strange things begin to happen. First, there’s the matter regarding Jeremy, Benedict’s friend, who lives in a poor cottage with his mother and grandmother in the woods. Jeremy’s not only been acting oddly, but also is missing some of his marionette strings. No amount of prodding from Benedict yields answers, and the more he tries to delve into things, the more Jeremy pushes away.

Secondly, there’s the matter regarding birds insisting that Benedict go to the palace to find the lost prince. With nothing but a key and obtuse instructions to go by, Benedict attempts to humor the birds but gradually realizes that the answer to the mystery of the lost prince could very well be a lot more personal than he’d first believed, especially when he sees Jeremy somehow being involved in it.

Helleville All fifteen-year-old Noah Hipwell wants is to go through high school in peace. Yet he finds himself suspended after a bully pushes him too far, and Noah’s forced to defend himself. His mother, fed up with the school’s indifference to his plight, pulls him out completely and leaves Noah uncertain of his future while they look for a good and safe school for him.

All Dorothy “Dot” Hipwell wants is to go through single motherhood in peace. Yet she and her son are harassed by weekly phone calls from her evangelical family hell-bent on guilt-tripping them both back into the fold. Then Noah’s grandparents ask strange questions about their old van after dropping cryptic references to a group called The Soul Warriors. Fed up, Dot takes Noah away for a much-needed getaway, only to find themselves suddenly transported to an alternate world, where a town called Helleville awaits them and all other condemned souls.

Along with warm-blooded, living human beings, the Hipwells rub shoulders with zombies, vampires, house ghosts, and occasional “green vomit piles” while picking up the pieces and sorting out what could very well be an eternity in a bizarre, fanciful, and humorous world of ghouls and banned books.

When residents suddenly disappear one by one with no trace and for no logical reason, however, doubts being “housed” in an alternate world for their sins are raised, and time suddenly becomes of the essence as Noah and the rest of Helleville’s condemned race to find answers to what’s quickly turning into a dangerous puzzle.

Masks: Rise of Heroes Giveaway!

Hayden Thorne has generously donated a free copy of Masks: Rise of Heroes for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on March 31st.


  1. I would love this for my daughter. I've never read the author before but it seems right up her alley.

  2. I always love Hayden Thornes books, but I haven't read Masks yet so please include me in the draw. Thanks

  3. I'm so happy this book is getting a second edition! I've wanted to read it for awhile but have had trouble finding it.

    christajls (at)

  4. I love Hayden Thorne's books! I can't wait to read this one!

    garyleachii (at)

  5. And the winner is: diannakay Congratulations!