Meet our 2024 authors: Peter W. J. Hayes

Meet our 2024 authors: Peter W. J. Hayes

SHORT BIO: Peter W. J. Hayes is a recovered marketing executive and author of the Silver Falchion-nominated Vic Lenoski mysteries. A Derringer and Al Blanchard award finalist, his work has appeared in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Magazine, Crimeucopia, Pulp Modern, several Malice Domestic anthologies and The Best New England Crime Stories. 

REAL-LIFE THRILLER MOMENT: In the mid 1960s my family lived in the suburbs of Paris, France. One day, as my mother was driving my older sister and I home from school, we were suddenly surrounded by paratroopers dropping out of the sky. They were fully armed, and as we drove, they began landing around us in the fields lining the road and forming up into units.

My mother, who spent the autumn of her eighteenth year staying up each night on the roof of her college dorm armed with a tin hat and whistle (her job was to help evacuate the dorm should German bombs draw too close…that was the year of the London Blitz) told me to watch out of the back window for anything dangerous and instructed my older sister to do the same to our right and left. My mother simply put her foot down and drove faster.

We reached a bridge, which was partially blocked my a tank. My mother stopped the car, and in her halting French, explained that we had to cross the bridge to get home. A couple of uniformed and heavily armed officers discussed this…and let us pass. For several days afterwards, the city was shut down.

Years later, I learned that the paratroopers were actually the French Foreign Legion and were called in to protect Paris by DeGaul. DeGaul, who at about that time survived an assassination attempt, was dealing with the Algerian crisis and France’s withdrawal from their colonial ownership of Algeria. Needless to say, factions of the government and Army were against giving up Algeria and DeGaul believed a coup was imminent. I was only nine or ten at the time, but I have never forgotten the sky filled with parachutes dropping around us and the soldiers watching us drive by.

WHO I ADMIRE: My grandfather, a highly decorated sergeant major who fought for two years in the trenches for the British Army during World War 1. He was wounded on the Somme several times but survived. I remember him as stoic, stern and prickly, but possessed of a warm and wonderful sense of humor.  I used some of his qualities in the main character of my Vic Lenoski mystery series, which has now stretched to six books.

FAVORITE MEDIA MOMENT: Over the last year I read the entire Harry McCoy series written by Alan Parks, set in Glasgow in the early 1970s. Thoroughly enjoyed it. All of the books are by definition high stakes.

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