10 questions with author Hayley Doyle: ‘Nobody else will write it for you’

Hayley Doyle is a multi-talented actress, writer – she’s even a radio presenter. A Liverpudlian by birth, she graduated with a BA (hon) in Acting from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Then she pursued a career on the stage, making her West End debut playing Ali in Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London. Hayley spent time living in Dubai where she founded children’s theatre and creative writing company, Hayley’s Comet, and was as a presenter on Dubai Eye radio. Then she took up a pen.. Hayley lives in London with her husband, her son and her daughter.

Hayley Doyle, author
Hayley Doyle, author
  1. What’s your name and where do you come from?
    Hayley Doyle and I am from Liverpool.
  1. Do you write fact or fiction and in what genre?
    I write contemporary fiction, with romance playing a part, but more focused on the personal journeys of the main characters. My first book, Never Saw You Coming, is a will-they-won’t-they with a mixture of comedy and drama. My new book, Love Almost, is a tearjerker and more emotional, kept light with comedic characters and situations. I like to have a strong Liverpool setting within my books. Never Saw You Coming is set between Liverpool and Dubai (where I actually lived for 7 years), and Love, Almost is set mainly in London and Thailand, but the main character and her family are all Scousers. 

  2. Are you traditionally or self-published and which route do you consider best?
    I’m traditionally published, represented by Darley Anderson Agency and published by Avon, HarperCollins. I self-published a book a long, long time ago, but was overwhelmed with the marketing side and didn’t have the budget or resources to make the most of it. The traditional route suits me personally. I like working with a team. However, I can totally see the appeal with self-publishing, especially if you have the time and resources available.

  3. What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?
    Before the pandemic, I would write in my local coffee shop 2-3 days a week when my little boy went to nursery. Then, I had a baby girl and ‘tried’ to meet a deadline during maternity leave by writing as she slept! Needless to say, the deadline was extended! Then, Covid happened and during lockdown, I hid in the bedroom for a few hours a day while my husband looked after the children. When things become more normal again, I will write during school hours. I’ve always liked writing late at night though, when everywhere is so quiet and there are no distractions. I edited both of my books late into the small hours!

  4. What advice would you give to budding writers?
    Everybody talks about writing ‘that’ novel. Don’t talk about it. Simply sit down and write it. Nobody else will write it for you. It will take a long time, but you won’t regret it. And read, read, read. You will always become a better writer the more you read.

  5. Who/what are YOUR favourite authors/books?
    I love the honesty and nostalgia of David Nicholls, both in his books and his screenplays. Kiley Reid is a brilliant new author and her debut, Such A Fun Age, is smart and funny. I recently read The Sight of You, a debut from Holly Miller and it was beautiful and heartbreaking, I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 

  6. Are you a plotter or a pantster?
    I’m very character driven, and learning to become a plotter more and more. Post-it notes DO help me a lot and I like to write down every tiny idea and put the post-its into chronological order. My characters have a funny way of going a bit wild west though and doing something I didn’t plan… which is the beauty of writing!

  7. What helps you focus?
    Going for a walk, or in my case, the school run. I can think clearly while I’m pushing the pram!

  8. How long did it take you to write your book/books?
    The writing itself doesn’t take me too long, so I can write a book in about 3-4 months. The editing is what takes time, and giving the work some space can work wonders. Love Almost took a year to write, but I did have a baby during the process! So the writing was definitely a part-time job!

  9. Where can we find your books?
    Never Saw You Coming and Love Almost are out now, published by Avon HarperCollins, and available on Amazon, Waterstones, Tesco, all in paperback, ebook and audiobook. I actually narrate the audio for Love, Almost, too.

    Thanks to Hayley!
Love Almost by Hayley Doyle
Love Almost by Hayley Doyle

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