In a writing career that has spanned more than three decades, her books have been worldwide best-sellers, translated into more than 35 languages and appearing as films, stage productions, an opera and even Kabuki theatre.
The school year that followed would prove to be one of the most trying, perplexing, and ultimately rewarding of her career, as Torey struggled to reach a silent child in obvious pain and need and, at the same time, create an atmosphere of learning and cooperation in a class bent on chaos.
It would be a strenuous journey beset by seemingly insurmountable obstacles and darkened by truly terrible revelations-yet encouraged by sometimes small, sometimes dazzling breakthroughs-as an intrepid teacher remained committed to help a “hopeless” girl, and patiently and lovingly lead her toward the light of a new day.
In this remarkably moving account, Torey Hayden once again displays the insight, intelligence, humor and, most importantly, the indomitable heart that have made her previous books not only phenomenal bestsellers worldwide but required reading for anyone personally touched by or interested in the treatment of emotionally disturbed children.
In writing GHOST GIRL the issue Torey wanted to address specifically was the difficulty professionals have in interpreting maladjusted behavior. At the time of writing GHOST GIRL, she was concerned at the number of people jumping on the various “bandwagons”, such as satanic and ritual abuse, multiple personality disorder, and such and wanted to show just how hard it can be from the professional’s standpoint to determine what exactly is happening – and how easy it is to allow personal bias to affect diagnoses.
GHOST GIRL was Torey’s first book to upset publishers and to be returned for re-writing. They disliked the unclear ending. As it is a true story and not fiction, Torey found it difficult to come up with a more suitable ending. The issue was resolved by including a lengthy epilogue which had to be rewritten fifteen times before it was accepted.
GHOST GIRL went on to become Torey’s second most popular book after ONE CHILD. It reached the best seller list in five countries.
Torey still is not certain what really happened to Jadie.
“The thing you got to understand about foxes,” Dixie said, “is that they’re innocent of what they’re doing. They got no idea they’re destroying what they love most.”
Abundance, Montana, once a lively mining town in the days of the wild west, is now not much more than a ghost town. Local girl, Dixie, a struggling single mother who has just lost her baby, tries to make ends meet while her feckless boyfriend Billy drifts from one job to another, always believing his next moneymaking scheme will be the winner.
Above them in the magnificent mountains surrounding Abundance, jaded Hollywood actor Spencer Scott conceals himself from the paparazzi on the ranch that has been his pristine sanctuary until the arrival of his obnoxious, nine-year-old son.
Then Billy puts into motion a plan almost too appalling to contemplate, and from which there is no escape. As all four are forced to confront the brutal reality of the Montana mountains, so too are they forced to face their damaged lives in this moving new novel of loss and redemption from bestselling author Torey Hayden.
Torey didn’t set out to write about Ladbrooke in JUST ANOTHER KID. She only intended to write about the children and include Ladbrooke only in her capacity as aide in the classroom. But as the book progressed, Torey was surprised to find it had become Ladbrooke’s story.
Alarmed that her publishers might not like this deviation from the synopsis they’d purchased, she mailed the 250-page uncompleted manuscript in a panic to her editor over Christmas that year to find out if she should proceed. Fortunately, everyone liked the “story that wrote itself”.
In a forgotten corner of Wales, a young girl languishes in a home for troubled children. Abandoned by her parents, Jessie, aged nine, is at risk of becoming just another lost soul in the foster system. Precocious and bold and convinced she is possessed by the Devil, Jessie is utterly unprepared for the arrival of Torey Hayden. Armed with patience and compassion, Hayden begins working with Jessie, and then Jessie makes a stunning accusation against one of Hayden’s colleagues. Hayden’s work doubles. Now she must not only help Jessie with her troubles but also find out if what the girl alleges is true.
ONE CHILD did not start out as a book. Torey wrote it as a personal story to record for herself her extraordinary time with Sheila. It was only after the story was completed that she considered publishing it.
ONE CHILD is Torey’s first book and it was the first thing she ever submitted for publication. The story itself was written very quickly – only eight days from start to finish.
It took only 42 days from the time she started writing ONE CHILD until she signed a contract with G.P. Putnam’s Sons to publish it.
ONE CHILD is currently in 28 languages and has been adapted in several diverse forms, including a one-act opera, a Japanese puppet play and a TV movie.
TOREY says that although the story is entirely fiction, she wrote it to explore her own experiences with creativity. She had a very vivid fantasy life as a young child which started much the way Laura’s did in the scene from the book and it carried on well into her twenties. She says that also, like Laura, she used to “drive people nuts” when she was an adolescent by making up scenarios and characters and “testing” them in real life to see if they were realistic.
Originally THE MECHANICAL CAT was not accepted for publication in English. Now published in the UK titled OVERHEARD IN A DREAM.
In rejecting the novel, her publisher told her this was because the book did not fit into an existing genre. It was actually described as “too novel”. As a consequence, the book haSd its world debut in Sweden, followed a week later by the Italian publication and in Finland. Now published in Japanese, it has gone on to become a best seller in all four countries.
This is the one book Torey finds impossible to go back and read. It was written very quickly, about 20 pages a day, and being very busy with a real-life class at the time, Torey did not take much time to go back over it. She says she now can’t read it because “the writing’s really rather bad” and ruins the story for her.
Torey confesses another reason for not being able to go back and read it is that SOMEBODY ELSE’S KIDS “is a bit of a revenge book”, expressing her frustrations with the teacher portrayed as Edna in the book and with the mainstreaming law.
“It probably would have been a better book if I had been just a little less angry when I wrote it,” she says.
In foster care after having experienced violence, neglect and sexual abuse as a young child, Eloise, age 14, has created a fantasy companion for herself, leading to confusion for the social workers trying to help her, because they do not know what is fact and what is fiction.
Then Eloise develops a troubling obsession with another teen. In a mistaken belief Torey Hayden can help reunite her with this girl, she agrees to work with Torey, who is challenged to meet Eloise’s complex behavioural needs.
Here is a treasure: an adult novel which speaks in the genuine voice of a 17-year old, while delving more deeply into her psyche.
Lesley’s Hungarian mother Mara – charming, childlike, lovable – was traumatized by her adolescent Holocaust experiences. Though her American husband and daughters try to live a normal life in Kansas, Mara holds them thrall to her moods and quirks. Lesley struggles to understand, but dealing with Mara is a severe strain which sets her apart from her peers.
When Mara’s psychosis results in tragedy, Lesley goes to Wales in search of her mother’s remembered joy, a sunflower forest.
Torey didn’t want to write a sequel to ONE CHILD initially.
When ONE CHILD was published, her editor thought Sheila’s life after leaving Torey’s classroom was so grim that it would be better not to say anything about it.
Torey also felt it would be hard to follow up ONE CHILD because ONE CHILD had been “something of a fairy tale” and had left the reader with the impression of “happily ever after”. A sequel would make “real life all too apparent”.
In the end she wrote THE TIGER’S CHILD on a dare from Sheila, who had teasingly said she never would.
He isn’t good at school, or talking to people, or making friends. He’s been in six different foster homes, and he can’t really remember his parents. It seems like he’ll never have anything all his own.
Then he finds an owl egg. With the help of Mab, the skinny “girl genius” of his class, he names it King Arthur and sets out to hatch and raise an owl of his very own. As they wait for King Arthur to hatch and as they raise the funny-looking owl chick, Mab and David become true friends.
But Mab’s father thinks they should return King Arthur to the wild. Can David give up his owl? Is it even the right thing to do? What can David do if the worst thing of all happens?
This book, written by renowned meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and educational psychologist Torey Hayden shows young children how following our breath can calm us down—and how practicing compassion shows us that even Very Scary Men can be frightened sometimes too.
A detailed appendix at the end of the book gives further guidance for parents and teachers.