Lily Hayden talks about chasing dreams and chick lit

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Chasing a dream

Kamila, the founder of Women of Newport, and I first connected because of a story I told about how I quit my job to follow my dreams. As a mother of four school-age children, I was terrified that I had done the wrong thing giving up a secure career to chase my dream of becoming an author, but I learned that it’s ok to be scared just as long as you don’t let it stop you. 

It’s only now, over two years down the line with four published novels and two more due for release this summer, that I really appreciate what an intense journey I’ve started. The initial idea is the exciting part, but the writing, the re-writing, the unexciting-but-necessary transitions, the characters and plots that turn feral and don’t go as planned, and the never-ending edits take hundreds of hours.

Without motivation and a belief in yourself, it would be easy to give up.

There’s a saying that writing is a poor man’s occupation and it’s not wrong. As a relatively new independent author with a marketing budget of zero, I’ve done comparatively well and my highest position to date was number 100 in the kindle chart. There are literally millions of books out there and when you’re competing with the big publishing houses with big budgets and established fan bases, you can’t go into this with money in mind.

I write because I love it. Equality is something I’m very passionate about and this is at the heart of all my stories. Becoming an author was my dream, but my goal in life is to give back more than I take with the limited resources I have. Through my independent publishing house Hayden Woods Creative, we love to support our community so if we can help in anyway, please get in touch.

A woman should be two things: who she wants and what she wants

I write contemporary women’s fiction or what I call ‘chick lit with a kick’. The term ‘chick lit’ has been a source of controversy for years with some authors denouncing the title for their own work whereas others defend it as unashamedly feminist. Hate it for its negative stereotypes or love it for owning the light-hearted escapism that it is, either way it’s a debate that continues.

As a proud feminist, the choice of whether you love it or hate it is exactly that- your choice. If readers want to immerse themselves in a palate-cleansing, fluffy, feel-good book as entertainment in a world that’s already a dystopian horror story at times, that’s not a bad thing. You can be a feminist and like fluffy romance. You don’t need to be a CEO to be a strong woman and we need to remember that. Strength and power are so much more than status and material success. Authenticity, credibility and kindness should be the true measure of achievement. You can be whoever and whatever you want to be, just believe in yourself and keep pushing through any barriers so the women coming behind us can really soar.

When women support each other, incredible things happen

The reason I fell in love with the Women of Newport project was Kamila’s amazing concept of showcasing different women from artists, athletes, businesswomen, charity workers, politicians and more side by side, building a wonderful network and showing that strong women come in so many different forms and are so much stronger together.

My next release New Rules is out on 6th July and you can find my books on Amazon or follow Hayden Woods Creative on Facebook and other social media for more info.




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