Chris Hauty - Author

About the Author

Chris Hauty is a screenwriter who has worked at all the major movie studios, in nearly every genre of film. He currently lives in Venice, California, in the company of a classic Triumph motorcycle and a feral cat. Deep State is his first novel.

Photograph by Lauren Ehrenfeld

Chris Hauty is also on Instagram @chrishauty

Our first Author of the Month for 2020 is Chris Hauty. His debut novel Deep State is an addictive, action-packed, espionage thriller that has not only been selected as a Debut of the Month but has also been a Liz Robinson's Pick of the Month and a Star Book! It's safe to say we loved this book and we were so excited about the opportunity to put some questions to him.

What is your first book memory, is it a happy one, does it have any reflection on, or link to what you write today?

I think my earliest book passion was with Greek and Roman mythologies, which is odd because I haven’t had much interest in the fantasy as an adult. But those ancient stories appeal, I think, as a phantasmagoric blending of real and surreal. Perhaps the notion of hero and heroic journey is a link between those grade school readings and my current work?

What were your childhood must-reads?

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, as a starter, Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, to get me through the terrible tweens, and The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, as an invaluable key to open the door to young adulthood.

Have you always written?

Yes, in high school I wrote short stories. In college, I wrote poetry. After college, when I lived in New York for 8 years, I wrote for the theatre. My first effort at writing a screenplay landed me a job writing a movie for Paramount. I’ve spent the last thirty years or so writing screenplays. I wrote Deep State in the spring of 2018. Since then, I’ve written two more novels. Apparently, I love to write!

How long did it take to develop Hayley Chill in Deep State from thought to fully-fledged character?

I loved the movie Winter's Bone and its central character, Lee Dolly, played by a very young Jennifer Lawrence. Lee is a 17-year-old young woman with a sick mom and two younger siblings whose errant dad has skipped bail. Problem is, dad put the family’s West Virginia homestead up as collateral. If Lee can’t find her pop, the family is out on the street. She’s gritty, determined, resourceful and tough as nails. At one point in the story, Lee Dolly considers enlisting in the US army; the family is desperate for the forty thousand dollars signing bonus. I wondered what would become of this fascinating, compelling character if she did join the army. What happens next? That’s where Deep State came from. Just asking myself a simple question like that. In that way, Hayley’s character arrived in my imagination as a fully realized but younger version of herself.

How much research did you do for Deep State?

Not too terribly much. The White House and the goings-on in the West Wing are such a huge part of popular culture in the US. I read a couple of books by West Wing insiders, one of which was by a former intern. That was very helpful. Otherwise, I was researching on-the-fly as I wrote, collecting small, seemingly insignificant detail with which I could “salt” the narrative with just enough detail to create an illusion of verisimilitude. A follow-up book involves cyber warfare and that required much more research. I read a stack of books for that project.

Where do you write and do you have any writing habits?

I have an office at home, where you’ll find me between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. every weekday. My years as a screenwriter instilled a habit of careful outlining before starting an actual first draft. Writing that first draft is my absolute favourite part of the process. If I have a general idea of what happens next, I can relax and explore the unknown interiors of scenes and sequences, making small discoveries along the way.

What are the differences between screenwriting and writing novels? Do you find one more challenging than the other?

I’ve found writing novels to be a wonderfully liberating experience after more than three decades of screenwriting. In every respect, I prefer the independence and freedom inherent in writing fiction.

Can you remember how you felt when you heard you were going to be published?

Yes, I remember very well a feeling of extreme satisfaction. All of my movie credits were essentially jobs, the product of other people’s visions that I had no choice but accommodate. Receiving news that my first manuscript would be published was the ultimate balm for all of those years of taking a back seat to someone else’s ideas. Sweet, sweet vindication indeed.

What is your favourite piece of advice or feedback received so far with regards to your writing?

An old girlfriend from my days in New York once told me I’d never amount to much. She was an exotic dancer without much patience for the largely monastic pursuit of being a man of letters. Excellent motivation!

What do your bookshelves at home look like? 

I don’t have a collector gene. The books I read come into the house and then go out again. (I travel light and fantasize about reducing my earthly belongings to what could fill a bug-out bag.) Currently on my bed stand is Night Prayers, by Santiago Gamboa, The Force, by Don Winslow, and Evil and the Mask, by Fuminori Nakamura.

What is your desert island book, why is it your must-have read?

A decent translation of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, clocking in at 13 volumes (more than 9 million characters) of Marcel Proust, because it sounds like I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

Currently, I’m working on finishing an edit of a follow-up to Deep State. The next book picks up about a year after the first novel leaves off. Story threads from the first book are followed and new ones are created. I’ve also been commissioned to develop a television series adaptation of the book.

Featured books by Chris Hauty

Storm Rising

Storm Rising

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Intensely and gloriously entertaining, while being as provocative and thrilling as can be.  Operative Hayley Chill stumbles into a conspiracy to start a second civil war as she heads to Texas searching for answers about her father. This is the third in the Hayley Chill Thriller series which began with the glorious Deep State. I have to admit that I did wonder where we would go after Savage Road as the story itself was so immense. In Storm Rising, the focus changes slightly, we get to see and feel more for Hayley. While she has always sat centre stage, it has been the plot that has consumed. This really feels like a personal story, it is as much about her as it is the white supremacy conspiracy plot of the story. The prologue hits punch hard, and my attention didn’t flicker for the rest of the book. Author Chris Hauty really knows how to set a scene, to paint a picture that arrives in your minds eye ready to taunt, to provoke. I so enjoy the small moments of lives flitting in and out of the novel, foretelling of a future, giving hidden flesh to the story. Chris Hauty also excels in placing unexpected moments, from small to absolutely blimmin humongous in his books. Each so far has differed, and while we are lead towards one particular one in Storm Rising, it still affected me when it hit. Chosen as Liz Pick of the Month, Storm Rising offers a gripping new chapter for Hayley Chill I can recommend with my heart and soul.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Savage Road

Savage Road

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

AMERICA IS THREATENED BY CYBER ATTACKS ONLY ONE WOMAN CAN PUT A STOP TO THEM Running a double agent from inside the White House to spy on the Russians is not easy, but Hayley Chill has never backed down from a challenge. Then suddenly her whole operation is at risk as a series of cyber-attacks are launched on Washington, D.C. Tasked by the covert organisation she works for to solve the situation, her hunt for the hacker takes her straight to the heart of the intelligence community. SAVAGE ROAD - address The location of Fort Meade, headquarters for the NSA and Cyber Command. Hayley must stop the hacker quickly, before global politics is disrupted and World War III breaks out. But when she uncovers dark truths about her own past, her characteristic calm is threatened... Nothing is as it seems. Nobody can be trusted. Hayley Chill is on her own. Savage Road is a political thriller of our time, perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz and Terry Hayes and series like The Bodyguard and Designated Survivor. 

Books of the Month
Deep State

Deep State

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2020

A booky health warning should be stamped on this cover… once you start you won’t want to stop! I read right through to 03:30am, until I had devoured every single and absolutely wonderful last drop. Hayley Chill, ex-military and champion boxer, is a new West Wing intern in the White House. When she finds the body of the Chief of Staff, she also finds a clue that it wasn’t the reported heart attack, and everything now points to an assassination plot on the president. The first few pages really sum up Hayley Chill, she is courageous, honourable, and can kick some serious ass. In other words, she is someone you would most definitely want on your side. Chris Hauty has the ability to highlight a life in just a few sentences, adding to the vivid overall picture in my mind. Deep State is a fast-moving, full-on adrenaline hit. Please, please tell me that this is the start of a new series, because I want more! Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month and LoveReading Star Book, because Deep State really is that addictive. Find out more in our Q&A with Chris Hauty!

Star Books

Other books by Chris Hauty

Storm Rising

Storm Rising

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2022

'Hayley Chill is relentlessly smart and brave' KARIN SLAUGHTER, Sunday Times bestselling author Ex-White House intern Hayley Chill is in training as an MMA fighter, trying to leave her past behind her. But hard as she may try to escape it, the past finds her. Under the floorboards of her father's house, she uncovers a ciphered document titled 'The Storm'. More Clues lead her into the Deeper State. What begins as incidental evidence of a subculture of white supremacy within the US military emerges as a much more extensive and dire threat. Hayley's lonely and often violent investigative pursuit travels up a mysterious cabal's chain of command, leading to the revelation of a fully-realized conspiracy to break off several southern states from the US, forming a new country and one founded on white nationalist ideals. It is up to Hayley Chill alone to stop a second civil war before it starts, while at the same time revealing the ultimate truth about her own father's role in this harrowing chapter of American history. The new must-read Hayley Chill thriller and a political mystery for our time - perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz and Terry Hayes and series like The Bodyguard and Designated Survivor. Praise for Chris Hauty 'Full of twists, this one will keep you hooked to the very end' JAMES SWALLOW 'One of the most surprising double-reverse plot twists I have seen in some time' NEW YORK TIMES 'A gripping tale of political skulduggery that is deeper than it initially appears' TIMES 'Brilliantly fast-moving and absorbing... the twists just keep coming' SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB 'The ending is a jaw-dropper' 'This is going to be THE book for 2020' 'The definition of a great political thriller' 'It's unique, fresh and the word 'twist' is just not acceptable to cover what happens... SUPERB! 10/10' 'This one had great twists and turns. When I thought we were headed in one direction, it would veer off into another and I loved it'

Savage Road

Savage Road

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/01/2021

With vivid action-packed scenes this is a wonderful adrenaline rush of a political thriller. Russia is blamed when cyber attacks hit at the heart of Washington, D.C. and Hayley Chill is faced with trying to avert World War Three. Yes, you could step in here and read this as a standalone, but my advice is to start with Deep State, which is one of my books of the year from 2020. This is just as readable, just as addictive, and just as fabulous, I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and then continued the moment I woke up. It felt as though there was more of an introduction to this story and as a British reader, once the prologue had finished kicking off, I appreciated the slower pace at the start to get to grips with the political and intelligence community. Having said that, slower doesn’t mean quiet, and it quickly turned into a full on the throttle riotous ride. I loved that Chris Hauty continues with the snapshots of walk-on characters, miniature stories summarising lives to be played out. He has the ability to transfer words into images, full-on scenes that felt as though I was a part of the action. The story has a few well-aimed kicks lying in wait, and even though I was alert and ready, didn’t expect the story to head in the final direction it did. Savage Road continues the Hayley Chill series in fine style, and comes with a whopping thumbs up from me as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Books of the Month
Deep State

Deep State

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/01/2020

A booky health warning should be stamped on this cover… once you start you won’t want to stop! I read right through to 03:30am, until I had devoured every single and absolutely wonderful last drop. Hayley Chill, ex-military and champion boxer, is a new West Wing intern in the White House. When she finds the body of the Chief of Staff, she also finds a clue that it wasn’t the reported heart attack, and everything now points to an assassination plot on the president. The first few pages really sum up Hayley Chill, she is courageous, honourable, and can kick some serious ass. In other words, she is someone you would most definitely want on your side. Chris Hauty has the ability to highlight a life in just a few sentences, adding to the vivid overall picture in my mind. Deep State is a fast-moving, full-on adrenaline hit. Please, please tell me that this is the start of a new series, because I want more! Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month and LoveReading Star Book, because Deep State really is that addictive. Find out more in our Q&A with Chris Hauty!

Star Books