A Woman Like Me

I began my career working as a columnist and feature writer for a queer rag in Brighton – Gscene. I was training to teach secondary English at the time, but an underlying allergy to teenagers forced me out of the profession. Following a copy-writing job in the charity sector, I retrained as a fiction editor and have worked as a freelancer in this field since 2008. Writing is my first passion, and I now split my time professionally between editing and consultancy work, blogging, fiction writing and ghostwriting: working with exceptional people to tell their stories.

I have become obsessed with true stories and writing honestly, perhaps because I grew up in a house of lies. The walls were papered with them, the roof was tiled with them, we ate them, washed with them, snuggled under them as we slept at night and awoke with them as every fresh day dawned. As an adult, as truth smashed its way through the lies, I was forced to rewrite my own story to include the darkest imaginable family secrets, to which I had been ignorant. I had to recast heroes as monsters and rebels as victims and reshuffle my whole perspective of a beautiful childhood sun that dazzled me so completely. I have never experienced such pain, but after the pain comes strength and a new perspective on life … of discovering how to cope, knowing that the little things are no longer important, that if I can survive this and still smile and love and take pleasure in the small things, then I can truly survive anything.

Life is both terrible and wonderful – sometimes on the same day.

We all have a story to tell.

@hayleystories

Nervous First Interview with the Subject of My New Ghostwriting Project: LGBT She-Ra!

I contacted ‘LGBT She-Ra’ a few weeks back to see if she would do me the honour of sharing her life story, to potentially create a memoir together. I should add at this stage that ‘She-Ra’ is not her real name. It does, however, reflect what an absolute warrior she is – a warrior of the heart.

Opera Glasses and a Packet of Frazzles: Visiting the Theatre in the Middle of a Pandemic

“We could get dressed up, move the sofa, put the light out, grab the opera glasses and Frazzles.” (Our snack cupboard was looking a bit bare.)
So we did. I in my long pinstripe jacket and bowtie, hair oiled back and moustache drawn on with eyeliner pencil. She in her flapper dress and boa. I have no idea where she found the peacock feather to stick in her hair, but it was a nice touch.

Lamb Bingo: A Walk in a Field in Lockdown

It’s such a small, frivolous thing to be thankful for when the world has been brought to its knees by influenza’s older, demented half-brother, with a chip on his shoulder and daddy issues.

Reading ‘Writing Down the Bones’ Twenty Years Later

My God, I was an arrogant writer when I was younger. I knew my work was good, and I reacted to criticism the way flat-earthers respond to the inconvenient truth. I was hot stuff, they were wrong/moronic/picking on me, and the world would have to catch up with my genius sooner or later.