Here’s what Betsy Price had to say about her debut novel, Overgrown, released in April 2020. It’s now the #1 bestseller in the Amazon UK charts under Menopause!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book.
In April 2020, one month before my fiftieth birthday, I published my debut novel ‘Overgrown’ which tells the story of Eliza Hamilton, a forty-five-year-old woman on the brink of menopause. Unable to fully process her onslaught of ailments, Eliza goes into denial as she tries, unsuccessfully, to juggle work, motherhood and demanding family members with paranoia, mood swings and hot, sleepless nights.
Tell us about the genre you like to write, and how is it similar / different from other women fiction genres?
I like to write funny, uplifting and insightful fiction about real life trials and tribulations. However, if it’s a fluffy rom-com you’re after, you might be disappointed; there are some sensitive issues covered in Overgrown that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. As we all know, midlife can throw a minefield of unexpected situations our way, they aren’t always pretty but it shouldn’t mean they should be locked away in a dusty old cupboard. Let’s air them out and start the conversation.
What are some of the biggest challenges hen lit authors face today?
Sadly, it’s still the same old yarn of not having enough time when trying to run a family and home, especially if you have a house full during a pandemic! Time and solitude are both a luxury and a necessity when writing.
Given the ongoing popularity of chick lit, where do you see hen lit ten years from now?
Stronger than ever. Female writers are slowly but surely receiving wider recognition for their work, helped with new awards such as Helen Lederer’s Comedy Women In Print prize and other all-female writing accolades now coming into the spotlight. The rise of ebooks also makes the genre more accessible and affordable. I hope that more women can continue to write fearlessly into old age and have their voices heard.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?
I’d always loved writing but, like many aspiring story tellers, was missing that key component: confidence. I’d been very fortunate to travel and move around with my career, but once I’d settled down and had a solid routine with children in school, I became restless and the urge to write continued to tap at my heels. I enrolled on an evening course in creative writing at my local university. I was apprehensive at first but it was an amazing journey where I met so many different types of people with a vast range of age and experience, and I was given the tools and the confidence to make it happen.
Do you have a day job other than being a writer?
Before becoming a full-time writer, I worked for many years in the beauty industry, which gave precious insight into our multi-layered and fascinating female psyche.
What are some things that inspire you to write?
People who are suppressing a fear or desire. Interesting and opinionated women.
What is your typical writing routine like?
Pre-pandemic: School run, walk dog, laundry etc, write from 11-3.
During pandemic: Laundry etc, write, get interrupted, write, get interrupted…
What kind of message do your book (s) convey to readers?
Fiction is so subjective so it’s difficult to say, but a common theme amongst reviewers seems to be the word ‘relatable’.
Does your book (s) incorporate certain aspects of your own life (and / or that of others)?
Although I’ve personally had an easy ride through menopause so far, the many candid conversations I’ve had either online or with friends and clients are weaved into Eliza’s character. I’m planning a follow up book in a couple of years’ time, when Eliza is in her fifties with a teenage daughter and I’m frantically logging my own experience of teenagers now before I forget!
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Liane Moriarty has an astonishing eye for idiosyncrasies and nuance. I love the fearlessness of Dawn O’Porter and the sharp wit of Jenny Eclair. I’ve also read two incredible debuts this year: Blood Orange, a thriller by Harriet Tyce and Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge.
Any advice you’d like to give for aspiring writers at this stage in life?
Believe in yourself and enjoy the process. Remember that writing is subjective, not everyone will like your work and that is absolutely fine. Find any international bestselling, Booker prize winning, critically acclaimed novel and you will always find negative reviews; don’t let it hold you back. And write from the heart, listen to what your characters have to say and put all of their grubby, annoying, embarrassing failings down on the page without worrying about judgement from others. Read Stephen King’s On Writing.
Connect with Betsy here!
Amazon link: mybook.to/Overgrown