Meet Haley McMillan of Haley McMillan Creative Studio / Local Author & Artist
We love how diverse and talented our community of moms is. We stumbled upon the talented Haley when we lost Charlie, our son, at 31 weeks. Haley lovingly gifted us a painted portrait of Charlie that we cherish so much. She’s a published author and artist and a mama to two beautiful daughters. We are so honored to feature her today and hope you enjoy her interview as much as we did!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
I grew up in Minnesota, but I’ve moved around quite a bit since then! We’ve lived in the Katy area for five years.
How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have two daughters, age 6 and 3.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I’m a fluent Spanish speaker!
Favorite local things to do in the Katy area?
I love shopping at all the great clothing boutiques in Katy! Studio 12.20, Big3 Boutique, and Chilton Avenue are some of my favs. We also love visiting all the parks and playgrounds as a family!
What is your go-to activity just for you, mama?
I’m a lucky girl because my work is also my go-to activity for relaxation and fun! I love making art, writing books, and making music. I also enjoy spending lots of time with my friends, going for long walks alone, and getting a massage every once in a while!
Give us your best mom hack that makes life easier.
Throw away all your kids’ colorful socks and start fresh with all the same color and style. I just dump a pile of white socks in a basket and never have to worry about finding a match or pairing them up!
OK, let’s talk about you, outside of being mama! You’re an artist and an author! Tell us about what you do!
I write books and make art! My first novel (a young adult suspense/romance) was published last spring, and my next novel (a women’s fiction/romance) is being released December 1st. I have several more books in the works, including a fantasy series that I’m co-authoring with another local author. I also have an art business, and I take commissions for book cover design, illustration, portraits, abstract art, and more! My projects are diverse and customized to my clients’ dreams.
How important is it to have something outside of motherhood for you?
I’ve always stayed home with my kids, but I’ve always had something else happening on the side too. Everyone’s balance looks a little different, and for me, having a creative outlet in combination with being available for my kids is what brings me the most joy and fulfillment day-to-day. I do my work because I love it, and because I love it, it’s easy to prioritize.
Were you always creative, expressing yourself through art and the written word?
Yes! I have always enjoyed expressing myself through art, music, writing, and dance. At different stages of my life, different creative pursuits have taken the front seat. Right now, that happens to be writing. My creative interests and abilities have evolved right along with me, but they have always been there in some shape or form!
What’s your back story- what did you do before launching into all your endeavors?
I grew up in rural Minnesota and went to UMD in Duluth, Minnesota for college, where I got my degree in Communication and Spanish. I studied in Spain, then moved to Colombia to work. When I came back to the States, I did a variety of things, including translation, bartending, career consulting, and lots of freelance writing and editing. My husband is from Scotland, and when we got married, his job moved us to Louisiana, and then Texas. After my second daughter was born, I started sharing my art on social media and opening myself up more creatively. I wrote my first book, and then my second, and then my third, and now I’m working on my fourth!
How did you find your publisher?
I was lucky enough to be connected to my publisher through an old friend. I submitted my manuscript, the publisher loved it, and we’ve had a great working relationship ever since!
Best advice for mamas wanting to launch into entrepreneurship or writing a book?
Identify your own self-judgments and self-imposed limitations, and let them go! If you want to be a writer, then write (a lot)! Anything that you do out of joy and love is worth doing, regardless of how it may or may not be received by the world when you’re done. If you enjoyed the process, it was worth it. Same goes for starting a business.
Future plans and hopes for your businesses?
I hope to continue to publish one or two books per year in perpetuity! I also hope to continue to take on art projects that inspire me and make my clients smile, whether that be through a portrait of a loved one, a perfect book cover, or an illustration that makes them feel something unexpected. Being on a bestseller list would be cool too, of course. 😉
Biggest blessing in being a mama?
Watching my girls grow up to be kinder, brighter, and more confident than I ever was, is a lovely, lovely thing. They teach me every day how to be gentler with myself and others, how to find magic in ordinary places, and how to savor the here and now. Being a mom has made me the best version of myself.
How can moms find your art and get your books?
Following me on Instagram is a great way to get the latest on new book releases and art promos! I can also be contacted through my business websites www.haleymcmillancreative.com (art) or www.haleymcmillan.com (books). To buy The Hearts We Keep, just search Amazon and pick your format! Margot James is Fine (coming December) will also be available anywhere you buy books (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.).
If you’re in a local book club and you’re discussing any of my books, just give me a shout and I’d be happy to pay y’all a visit.