Meet Hayley Walsh from Sydney, Australia and learn more about her and her light-hearted women fiction books featuring older protagonists – Crayons and Chaos, Making March and Not Dead Yet!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book (s).
My name is Hayley Walsh. I am 45 and live in far western Sydney Australia with my partner, two stepsons, and two adorable covoodles. I love animals (don’t most writers), am a coffee addict, and have a wicked sense of humour. My sense of humour is brought to life in my storytelling. I love to make women laugh, by writing fun stories they can relate to. I have published two light-hearted women’s fiction books titled ‘Crayons and Chaos’ and ‘Making March’. My third book titled ‘Not Dead Yet, will be out on the 8th of March.
‘Crayons and Chaos’ Two years ago, forty-two-year-old Natalie left her joke of a marriage. After meeting her wonderful new man, she is catapulted into the life of instant step mum to two miniature terrorists. Can she find her place among the chaos?
‘Making March’ Kate feels old, alone, and regrettably round. It’s the 1st of February, and today happens to be her fortieth birthday. This month, she must survive a pending divorce, raising her offspring spawn of Satan, being Maid of Honour, a fellow bridesmaid from hell, multiple dress fittings, and her meddling mother. Can she make it to march with her sanity intact?
‘Not Dead Yet’ Recently widowed, Mary feels something needs to change, but she is not sure what? She decides to sell her home in Sydney and move to a retirement village in sunny Queensland. Mary has always enjoyed her own company and struggles with the many personalities she encounters in the village. There are two things Mary won’t tolerate. Idiots and bitchy women. Unfortunately for her, the village is full of them. Has she made a mistake, or will she find something wonderful?
What are some of the biggest challenges HenLit authors face today?
I feel one of the biggest challenges is people’s attitude towards aging women. Older women often say they feel invisible as they age. Henlit or Chicklit often have a negative reputation in the literary world. People think the stories are ‘wishy washy’ or lack depth. This, of course, is total nonsense. Older women have lots of life experience, don’t care what people think of them anymore, and are still out there kicking butt. My main character in ‘Not Dead Yet’ is seventy-one years old. I wanted to pen a story about a much older lady and the challenges she faced in a light-hearted way. Mary is a rock star and I love her.
Given the ongoing popularity of chick lit, where do you see hen lit ten years from now?
This genre will always be popular. What’s not to like? They tackle everyday issues faced by women, always contain a bit of humour, often highlight important issues, and usually showcase a strong and independent woman at the centre of the story. As long as these books continue to be written, they will always have a space on my bookshelf.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved to write. English was my favorite subject at school. I had always wanted to write a book but didn’t publish my first book until I was 42. Better late than never, right?
Do you have a day job other than being a writer?
I do. I am an Aged Care Clinical Nurse Consultant in an Emergency Department in a Sydney hospital. I hear a lot of interesting stories at work, as you can imagine. ‘Not Dead Yet’ was inspired by a story one of my patients told me.
What are some things that inspire you to write?
I would have to say real life in all its raw glory. Love, loss, laughter, triumph, failure, grief, embarrassing moments, family conflict, relationships, dating, careers, and everything in between.
What is your typical writing routine like?
Ha Ha. I don’t have one. I write when I can find the time, and wherever I happen to be when inspiration strikes. I am also a total panster. I know the basic outline of the story and then let the characters tell me where the story will go. It’s a real adventure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What kind of message do your book (s) convey to readers?
Most importantly, I want my books to give the reader a good old giggle. If there is a message, I think it would be, be true to yourself and you will be wherever you are supposed to be. Oh, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Life can be tough, but if you can laugh along the way, you will be OK.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I love Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, and Helen Fielding. Their books are funny and uplifting. ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is my favourite book and was the inspiration behind ‘Making March’.
Any advice you’d like to give for aspiring writers at this stage in life?
Get the story written. Don’t worry about what people will think of your book. There is an audience for every book out there. Network with other writers. The support of other authors is invaluable. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, so reach out to others who know how hard it can be.
You can find Hayley here:
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