British born Mary-Rose Hayes is the author of nine novels, most recently WHAT SHE HAD TO DO, including the TIME/LIFE bestseller AMETHYST and two political thrillers co-authored with Senator Barbara Boxer.

Her books have been translated into sixteen languages and have regularly been chosen as Doubleday Book of the Month and Literary Guild main selections. She has published short stories and articles in England and the United States, and written and optioned several screenplays including a project for screen legend Lana Turner.  She has worked as a script editor for Thames Television, London, Associate Editor for Pacific News Service, San Francisco, and as a free-lance book editor.

Mary-Rose has taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, Extension; Arizona State University; and at numerous writers' conferences in the United States and internationally including twelve years with the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, California; the San Miguel Writers' Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico; and the Peralta Writers' Workshop, Tuscany, Italy, for which she was co-director for five years.

Recently Completed

RUNAWAY CHILD, although based upon six years of childhood sexual abuse is not, as Mary-Rose Hayes firmly states, a ‘woe is me’ recital or yet another #MeToo iteration. She resents the term ‘victim’ just as she mistrusts the label ‘survivor,’ and although abuse was the force which drove her, aged seventeen, from her home in England, it was also a springboard into global adventure and personal reinvention.   

This candid and highly personal story is told in linear fashion from Hayes' steadily maturing viewpoint. Beginning with her memories as a four-year-old in war-time England, she progresses through helpless teenage years of trauma and predation, her euphoric journey/escape to freedom and safety in the United States, and on to an adventurous adulthood. Some scenes are unavoidably grim, others are racy or downright funny— yet, throughout the darkness and the light, she keeps returning to the forever unanswered question: why did he do it? 

Seeking answers but at the same time realizing the impossibility of understanding the forces which drive another, Hayes widens the lens to consider the times which had shaped her own parents’ lives, including a major economic depression and two world wars. She recognizes how all that trauma was ‘passed on’, and how its negative tendrils affected every aspect of her own life in the distortion of family relations, parenthood, her career and, for a while, her own sexual behavior. 

Finally, writing from the perspective of an older adult, she acknowledges that long-ago abuse as part of her own make-up, and the person she is today. Although she can never forget, she has learned to channel the damage not only into inner strength and personal growth but into the meaningful insight of others, even those whom it would be easier to hate and blame. 

RUNAWAY CHILD has a wide potential readership, Hayes maintains, including those like herself who have passed through the bad times, refused to allow their lives to be defined by trauma, and seek a path of empowerment, healing and grace.

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