Hayley LeBlanc’s debut novel The Hayley Mysteries: The Haunted Studio is released in the UK this Friday, 19th August, which is the first in her new middle-grade fictional mystery series, with the next two books The Missing Jewels and The Secret on Set due for release in October and December (in the UK) respectively. Since 2017, Hayley has played Harmony in Brat series Chicken Girls, appearing across all nine series, and she has recently announced that Series 9 was her final one to work on, and she first started playing Harmony in Mani, which was her debut lead role in a series. Having started her career on YouTube with her family’s vlogging channel Bratayley, Hayley has since worked on Annie vs Hayley for Nickelodeon alongside her sister Jules, and was part of music group Run the World, with whom she released an album in 2020. We caught up with Hayley about her fictional mystery book series The Hayley Mysteries, her debut novel in the series – The Haunted Studio and playing Harmony in Chicken Girls.
Can you tell us about your debut novel The Hayley Mysteries: The Haunted Studio and who do you think the book will appeal to?
The Hayley Mysteries is a fictional mystery series that focuses on two friends and I who play characters on a show called, Sadie Solves It. Each book focuses on a different mystery we have to solve on our show’s set. I think this series will appeal to all middle-grade readers who are looking for a fun, exciting, and mystery series!
This will be the first book in your upcoming book series, how are you finding the experience being an author and how is work coming along on the sequels?
Being an author has been a lot of fun so far! We’ve actually already completed the next two books and are just putting the finishing touches on the illustrations, dedications, etc. I can’t wait for everyone to read the next two books to see how the series continues!
Was there anything that encouraged you to write a book series and what are you enjoying most about working on the story?
My love for true crime and mysteries is what inspired me to write the series. I’m a big fan of Criminal Minds, Nancy Drew, and the Percy Jackson novels, so I was able to incorporate little elements and fun aspects from those projects as well.
How was it holding a Q&A and book signing event at Barnes & Noble and how has it been seeing the fan response to The Hayley Mysteries: The Haunted Studio so far?
The Q&A was actually terrifying before I got started. I just had no idea how fans would react and didn’t know what questions they would be asking. After it got started, I definitely calmed down and realised it was a lot of fun getting to talk to everyone about the book!
You‘ve played Harmony McAdams in Chicken Girls since the show started in 2017, what is the character like to play and how has it been developing the character throughout the episodes?
Harmony has been a lot of fun to play over the years since she’s had a lot of character development. In the beginning, she was more of a supporting character, but once she moved into the lead role, I was able to work with Brat to craft the type of storylines I felt would resonate with teens and fans that are my own age. However, Season 9 was the last I will be doing, as I just felt like the time had come for me to move on from Harmony.
How is it working with the rest of the cast and what’s it like on set of show?
It was always a lot of fun being on set with the rest of the cast. At this point, I see all of them as really good friends, so it didn’t always seem like work, as much as it felt like just having fun and hanging out with my friends.
You also played Harmony in Mani, what was the show like to be part of?
Mani was a lot of fun because it was my first time being put in a lead role on a series. I was a little anxious at first, but once we started filming, my nerves eased up and we all had a lot of fun.
In 2018, you played Jasper “Jazzy” Lowe in Brat TV’s Hotel Du Loone, can you tell us about this?
Hotel Du Loone was a lot of fun as that was my first multi-cam series. Unfortunately, Brat decided to go away with all multi-cam content, so it only lasted one season, but it was still a lot of fun!
What did you enjoy most about filming for Annie vs Hayley on Nickelodeon and did you have a favourite episode to film?
All of the episodes were so creative and the guest stars were a lot of fun to interact with, but my favourite episode was the one with my mom!
As a music artist, you were part of the music group Run the World, what was it like releasing your debut album in 2020?
While it was a lot of fun recording the album with some of my friends, unfortunately, a lot of the things we planned on doing (touring, meet & greets, etc.) were not able to happen because that was when COVID took off. Also, as the group included a partnership with Justice, and Justice unfortunately filed for bankruptcy during COVID, the group dissolved as a result. That being said, it was a great learning experience overall!
Your career started on YouTube as part of your family’s channel Bratayley, what are some of your favourite memories from being part of a vlogging family?
One of the things I didn’t realise at the time, but that I’m now grateful for, is that a lot of the fun things we did when I was younger I can now look back at and revisit. A lot of kids forget many of their childhood memories because they’re so young, but I have my entire childhood recorded, which is pretty crazy to think about. If I had to choose a specific moment from back then, I really enjoyed the pie in the face celebrations!
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Currently, my favourite films and TV shows are Seventeen Again, Outer Banks, and Stranger Things. I’m also excited that Criminal Minds is coming back soon!
Had you always wanted a screen career and what do you enjoy most about your work?
It’s interesting because I kind of fell into acting in the beginning with my sister, but now I really enjoy it. The things I enjoy the most are travelling to different set locations, meeting new people, and of course, craft services.
Do you have any upcoming plans you can tell us about?
In the next few months, I’m going to be doing a little bit of travel with friends and family, but that’s all I can share for now! xoxo, Hayley
Follow Hayley on: