Ceri Wheeldon of Fab after Fifty interview Helen Matthews who left corporate life to live her dream of becoming a successful novelist.
In this podcast Helen talks about how she transitioned from full time employment to writing for a living and the issues she had to address
How she came up with the idea for her first book which involved intensive research into the topic of human trafficking .
Having the confidence to base her second novel, Lies Behind the Ruin on elements of her own experience
How characters develop and ‘speak’ to the writer
Topics brought to life in her novel – various types of deceit in relationships – including financial deceit and the impact that can have on a relationship
3 tips for transitioning from corporate life to writing – and still being able to pay the bills!
Full transcript of episode
[00:00:04] I'm Ceri Wheeldon and welcome to the Fab after Fifty podcast. Leading the pro age conversation, talking about all things life after 50.
[00:00:18] Hello and welcome to this week's Fab after Fifty podcast. And I'm very pleased to have with me today Helen Matthews.
[00:00:25] Now, Helen is a published author and she has just published her second book, Life Behind the Ruin. Hello, Helen. Thank you for joining us on Fab After Fifty. Hello, Ceri. Thanks for inviting me. Now, you're a relatively recent published author, aren't you? This is this isn't your first career, is it?
[00:00:45] No. I had to battle my way through a first career and growing children and all those kinds of things until I was able to take a bit more time and focus on what I wanted to do myself.
[00:00:58] Have you always had a love of writing, though?
[00:01:02] Yes. I'm one of those people that's been writing ever since I could hold a pen while I wrote all through my childhood and sometimes I entered competitions or had a few things published in magazines for younger women. And then I carried on through my early part of my working life, writing short stories with moderate success, not very much. And then as I got more embroiled in my corporate career, I found it more difficult to write fiction. So I switched from my leisure interests to writing articles, and I had some published in mother and baby family and lifestyle magazines. And then on the BBC, I did a couple of columns for something John Peel used to run called Home Soon.
[00:01:49] And what in terms of your corporate career, what were you doing there? What what was your main role?
[00:01:56] Well, I sort of transitioned through a few different things. So I started off working for the British Council thinking I have a glamorous, sort of quaint diplomatic career. But I soon realised that I needed to do something that was a little bit more financially stable. So I went into the energy industry and I worked in internal consultancy. Then I worked for a bit in oil and gas. I did alright in corporate management. And then I went into HR employee benefits. But very, very different then to sitting writing. Yes. And of course, the trouble with that is that it demands a certain kind of writing for your writing and your career, but you're writing reports and analysis and financial papers for the board and that does take you away from writing in a creative fiction way.
[00:02:51] It is different, isn't it? I mean, I found that when I started Fab after Fifty, I had to write for people to read and hopefully enjoy. Whereas in my career, I was a head hunter. I'd be writing reports on candidates that I'd interviewed and summaries of. No. In terms of how they wold fit into teams and things. But then you approach it in a very different way. Are you would use different language. It's more formal.
[00:03:15] Exactly. And there are certain boxes that you've got to tick, you know, and if you're writing something that needs to be very precise, you can't introduce any colour into the language. Y