As Carolyn Haines
- Bone to Be Wild: a Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (May, 2015)
- Bones on the Bayou: A Sarah Booth Delaney short story (Dec 2014)
- Booty Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (May 20, 2014)
- Smarty Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (May 21, 2013)
- Bonefire of the Vanities (A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (Jun 19, 2012)
- Bones of a Feather: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (Jun 21, 2011)
- Bone Appetit (2010)
- Greedy Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries, 2009 (Book 9) Minotaur Books
- Wishbones (2008)
- Ham Bones (2007)
- Bones To Pick (2007)
- Fever Moon (2007)
- Revenant (2007)
- Hallowed Bones (2005)
- Judas Burning (2005) (published as third in series taking place in mythical Jexville, MS)
- Crossed Bones (2004)
- Splintered Bones (2002)
- My Mother’s Witness: The Peggy Morgan Story (2003) non-fiction
- Buried Bones (2000)
- Them Bones (1999)
- Touched (1996)
- Summer Of the Redeemers (1994)
- Season of Innocents (1994)
- Summer Of Fear (1993)
As Caroline Burnes
- Midnight Prey (1997)
- Familiar Heart (1997)
- A Christmas Kiss (1996)
- Cutting Edge (1995)
- Familiar Tale (1995)
- Bewitching Familiar (1995)
- Flesh and Blood (1994)
- Thrice Familiar (1994)
- The Deadly Breed (1994) HARLEQUIN INTRIGUE
- Shades of Familiar (1994)
- Familiar Remedy (1994)
- Too Familiar (1993)
- Hoodwinked (1993)
- Deadly Currents (1992)
- Fatal Ingredients (1992)
- The Jaguar’s Eye (1991)
- Fear Familiar (1990)
- Measure Of Deceit (1989)
- Phantom Filly (1989)
- A Deadly Breed (1988)
As Lizzie Hart
- Shop Talk
As R. B. Chesterton
- The Seeker: A Mystery at Walden Pond Pegasus (March 6, 2014)
- The Hanged Man: A Short Story (October 2014)
- The Darkling Pegasus (March 4, 2013)
by Monica Conger (SHS) 1997, Updated 2015
Carolina Haines was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on May 12, 1953, to Roy and Hilda Haines. She went to high school in George County and graduated in 1971. She got her B.S. (Bachelor’s Degree) in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974, and in 1985, she got her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of South Alabama.
Carolyn’s mother, Hilda Haines, was born in 1926 and at the age of nine, diagnosed with polio. She was sent to Warm Springs (founded by Franklin Roosevelt) and stayed there for treatment on and off for nine years. Hilda Haines, a native of Lucedale, Mississippi, met Roy Haines, a native of Kingston, Mississippi, at Fort Benning, Georgia. They both were reporters for a newspaper in Lucedale. Even though Carolyn’s novel titled Touched was not autobiographical, it was representative of two people in her life. The relationship in the novel between JoHanna McVay and her nine-year-old daughter, Duncan McVay, symbolizes Carolyn’s grandmother’s love for Carolyn’s mother, Hilda. For example, in the book little Duncan McVay is struck by lightning and temporarily paralyzed just as Carolyn’s mother was struck by polio at the age of nine.
Haines has loved to read and write ever since she was a little girl. She didn’t particularly like school, but she was always a good student who loved to learn and made very good grades. When she grew up, she became a journalist but wanted to become a novelist. Writing for Southern newspapers (the George County Times, the Mobile Register, and the Hattiesburg America ) gave her ten years of experience which she draws on in her books. In a telephone interview, Carolyn stated that her favorite authors are Flannery O’ Conner ( whom Carolyn likes for her black humor and observations of humanity), Eudora Welty, Thomas Williams, John Irving, and James Lee Burke. She has been influenced the most by authors Harper Lee (author of To Kill A Mockingbird) and Flannery O’ Conner.
Today Haines teaches graduate and undergraduate fiction writing classes at the University of South Alabama, writes novels, and manages a five-acre farm with three horses, four cats, and three dogs. To date she has published over fifty books, some under the pseudonym Caroline Burnes, a name she uses for her twenty mysteries with Harlequin Intrigue. These novels feature a black cat named Familiar, who is a very clever detective. Haines chose the name because of a dear friend whom she said in a recent interview needs a name with murmur diphthongs for good luck and money. She chose the last name of Burnes “because it has a nice Scottish ring and it’s higher up on the shelf.” She also knew she would write other things and wanted to keep her Romantic intrigue novels separate from her general fiction and keep her readers satisfied. She traveled to the western coast of Ireland and wrote a book while there. She has also been the the Mayan ruins in Mexico, the setting for another of her novels. When asked in 1997, she stated that In her opinion, Touched and Summer of the Redeemers are her best novels. Summer of the Redeemers, set in 1963, was selected by The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club and has also been released in England under the title Season of Innocents as well as in France and Germany.
Haines got her idea for Touched (which shares the same setting as Summer of the Redeemers) while sitting at the computer daydreaming. A scene suddenly popped into her head of a nine-year-old girl with singed hair propped in a wagon in a rocking chair with a rooster on her arm. A woman was pulling them down a dirt road. There begins the story of nine-year-old Duncan McVay and her mother
JoHanna McVay. Haines decided she needed Mattie Mills, a mail-order bride, to be the narrator –someone with an overview of everyone’s life. The setting is fictional Jexville, Mississippi, in 1926. In an interview Haines confessed that small towns can be wonderful and contain wonderful things, but small towns can also hold dreadful gossip. Fear can make people do tragic things as she points out in her novel. Touched has received positive reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Times of London, Publishers’ Weekly, Mademoiselle and others.
Carolyn’s advice for future writers is to “read everything from Edgar Allen Poe to Eudora Welty and try to figure everything out. ” Haines says if she doesn’t see a book, she isn’t discouraged– instead she keeps on trying. Her advice: “Just do it and mess up. Be stubborn while writing and strive to achieve.” She further stated in a telephone interview, “We are a poor state (Mississippi), but through all the poverty, we are a state of literary giants. Knowing that Faulkner and Welty came from here makes me believe that I too can write.”
In 1997 her books published under her pen name, Caroline Burnes, were Midnight Prey and Familiar Heart. She was completing the third novel in her trilogy that takes place in fictional Jexville, Mississippi, called Judith Burning, which was eventually published under her real name, Carolyn Haines. Her first two tales of murder in the Mississippi Delta were Them Bones and Buried Bones. The series now contains fourteen Sarah Booth Delaney Bones mysteries set in Zinnia, Mississippi.
The acclaimed author lives in Semmes, Alabama, but she was born and raised in southeast Mississippi and most of her works are set in rural Mississippi. Today she manages a five acre farm that includes twenty-one (more or less) animals. Her career as a novelist began under the pseudonym of Caroline Burnes. Under that name the wrote more than twenty mysteries for Harlequin Intrigue.
Writing under her own name, she has written many books of various types of general fiction and one non-fiction work ( My Mother’s Witness: the Peggy Morgan Story), which is about one woman’s testimony against Byron de la Beckwith in the Medgar Evers murder. Her trilogy set in Mississippi now includes Summer of the Redeemer, Touched, which was a Literary Guild selection, and Judas Burning. The books deal with the theme of hypocrisy (whether religious, gender, or ethics) and have been published in several languages. Her novel Penumbra was named one of the best mysteries of 2006. She is probably best known for her Mississippi Delta Bones series with protagonist Sarah Booth Delaney. Another novel Revenant (paperback original) was published in 2007. In this thriller set along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Carson Lynch, a trou
led journalist, is pursuing a serial killer who murders young brides.
Haines teaches writing classes at the University of South Alabama. In addition to writing, teaching, and speaking (she was the first speaker for Starkville Reads’ Mystery in Mississippi 2007 fall program), she has other causes. In her fall 2008 newsletter she states,
“I’ve been fighting a battle with animal abuse in Mobile County. It’s been a very upsetting story about starving horses. My friends and I are trying to figure a way to help the county come up with more effective methods of investigating and prosecuting animal abusers. I’ve made some terrific friends in this fight—everyone from a senior cruelty investigator at PETA to local animal lovers who are determined to speak out for creatures who have no voice.
My university classes have started, and I have high expectations for my students. One of them, Jeannie Holmes, has signed with a New York agent for her book, THE CRIMSON SWAN, which is the first book in a trilogy. Jeannie is a wonderful writer, and I’m sure before long you’ll have a chance to sample her story-telling abilities in a published book.
I’ve been working on a TV pilot for the Bones series, and it’s been picked up by a production company in Los Angeles and is currently being read at several networks and cable channels. I wrote the pilot with two co-writers. I also wrote an original horror script, THE NESTER, which just placed in the top 100 in the Slamdance competition.”
Carolyn Haines was the 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year. She has received critical acclaim for her Bones mystery series as well as for her stand-alone titles. Fever Moon, an historical thriller released in 2007, was a Book Sense notable book, and Penumbra, set in 1952 Mississippi, was named one of the top five mysteries of 2006 by Library Journal as was Hallowed Bones in 2004. She is still teaching the graduate and undergraduate fiction writing classes at the University of South Alabama. In addition, she continues her work to help educate the public about the need to spay and neuter pets.
Carolyn Haines edited a collection of short stories called Delta Blues which was released May 1, 2010. The release party was in Clarksdale, Mississippi, at the Ground Zero blues club.
Carolyn Haines has now written over seventy books in numerous genres. Her Sarah Booth Delaney Bones mystery series continue to be popular, and she has begun using an additional pseudonym–R. B. Chesterton. Two books under that pseudonym appeared in 2014: The Darkling and The Seeker: A Mystery at Walden Pond. She was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence and was the 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award. She has also started Good Fortune Farm Refuge, a non-profit organization to help animals. In 2015, Haines will be on sabbatical from University of South Alabama where she is Assistant Professor of English. Her latest book is Bone to Be Wild: a Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery published in May, 2015. She has plans for many more writing projects.
Video trailer for The Darkling by R. B. Chesterton
- Haines’own web site
- Read Chapter 1 from Bone to Be Wild
- A short biography of Carolyn Haines appears on Wikipedia.org
- Carolyn Haines’ author page is on Amazon.
- Librarything.com lists books by Haines with member reviews.
- Info on Good Fortune Farm Refuge, a non profit animal rescue organization started by Carolyn Haines.
- Haines, Carolyn. Telephone interview. December, 1997.
- Haines, Carolyn. Author’s bio.