Today we’re traveling to Wales to chat with Lily Hayden. She and I discuss how sensible career options, winning the lottery, laughing, Roald Dahl, Rugrats, and walks along the river are part of her past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Lily Hayden and I’m a mother of four, an author and animal lover from the beautiful country of Wales. My first book Butterflies was published in 2018.
In which genre do you write?
My go-to genre is women’s contemporary fiction; Butterflies is a very modern love story, The Village Online is a murder mystery based around a village social media page and Summer Down South is a racier romance. It definitely fits into the chick lit category; easy, light, palate-cleansers.
I’ve also released a young adult dystopian novel Project Terra under the pseudonym SJ Woods.
Strong modern women, especially mothers, are my protagonist of choice though and my next releases all centre around these superwomen.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I’ve always wanted to write, but it felt like an unachievable dream; like winning the lottery or becoming a platinum-selling singer (I still dream of both these things but unless voice transplants become a thing, this is never happening).
I put it to the back of my mind and went about sensible career options, but at the back of mind it was always calling me. I picked up, started and then put down my pen several times over the course of my adult life, always putting it off until ‘tomorrow’.
I was very close to my grandmother and we used to write stories together. She always wanted to write a novel and I wanted to achieve this goal for both of us. I think you do get to a point where you know you need to stop peering over the edge and just jump. As I always say to my friends, if it all goes wrong at least it’ll make a good story!
What would you choose as your spirit animal and why?
My spirit animal is a cat. I strongly believe that all other categories can be abolished and people can be divided into cat people or dog people, which will tell you everything you will possibly need to know about them. Characteristics of dog people are being loyal, friendly, warm-hearted and social. I would love to be a dog person but sadly I’m a cat; aloof, likes sleeping, will go and live in another house if they’ve got better food. And did I mention they sleep an average of 15 hours a day!
What does your ideal writing space look like?
A quiet room brimming with books with a huge bay window seat overlooking blue skies and the sea. My current writing space, however, is nothing of the sort and I will nearly always be writing sandwiched between a spaniel and a cavachon (cavalier spaniel and bichon frise cross) on my sofa. I have been know to scrawl paragraphs down in the notes in my phone, mainly on trains and even in the back of a taxi on the way to a night out. For some reason, I can’t focus sat at a desk. The moment I sit down I think of a million “urgent” things I need to do. Maybe it’s a kick back to all the time wasting I did in my office life.
What are you currently reading?
The Handmaid’s Tale. One of my favourites.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
Mainly shouting or laughing (big thank you to my neighbours for pretending they don’t hear). Nobody in my house listens to me- not the kids, not the dogs, definitely not the cats. Books and comedy are my favourite. If I’m not reading, I’m laughing at the most ridiculous things with one of the many funny people in my life. Life is too short to take everything seriously.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I not only share a country of birth with Roald Dahl, but we also share a birthday. He was an extremely talented writer and I think most book lovers can think fondly back to their first time reading a Road Dahl book as a child. As well as chatting about his books, I’d really like to ask him about his time in the RAF during World War 2. My grandfather was in the RAF too during this time and I can’t even begin to imagine what life was like back then.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Not paying bills, the endless school holidays where everyday was an adventure out with friends and the compulsory learning!
I loved school and if money and time were no object, I think I’d study every subject I could (or at least try to)! The world is a fascinating place and I think as kids, we see it more that way, before we grow too preoccupied with the little things and responsibilities that make up life.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
I loved Rugrats. I would love to hang out with Tommy and Angelica for the day. Nobody remembers what it’s like to be a baby- all those new experiences! I bet it’s mind-blowing!
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
“Hola, te gusta Fanta Limon?”
We’ve just come back from Ibiza and that’s all the Spanish vocab my kids have nailed. It is the best flavour Fanta though.
The penguin will definitely have brushed up on some tourist Spanish ready for our trip. Pinguino is here to take me on holiday. No kids, no work, just sun, sea and sangria and we’re going to have a blast!
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
I’m from the beautiful country of Wales. We’re famous for our gorgeous mountains and valleys, we’ve also got castles and amazing beaches (although it does rain here a lot!). I’m from the city of Newport in South Wales and as a fairly young city, Newport has an amazing music and art scene. It’s so hard to choose one favourite place because there are so many things to do, but today there’s no place I’d rather be than walking my dogs along the river and the woods with a stop off at the pub of course.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a love story that takes us through the main character’s life from her first love at fifteen to her current day life at forty (or thereabouts). I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s as much a story of her finding her true self as it is about her handsome first love who just keeps coming back at key points in her life.
Tell us about your book.
Butterflies is Lucy’s tale of finding love and fulfilment after years of struggling to juggle motherhood and an unrewarding job. As in real life, it doesn’t always run smoothly for Lucy and there are a couple of twists and turns along the way. Her love story is a little different to traditional boy-meets-girl but I hope you love Lucy’s happy ending as much as I do.
I very much enjoyed your sense of humor, Lily! It was wonderful learning more about you and I love what you say about life being too short to take everything seriously. Thanks for being a part of MTA! – Camilla
Butterflies is available as an ebook or paperback at Amazon:
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