The author of New York Times bestseller, ‘The Man Who Didn’t Call’, shares her journey from TV producer to best-selling author...
Her latest book hit the New York Times bestseller list in the first week of publication, counts the author of Big Little Lies as a fan, and here at Balance Me HQ it’s had us fighting over who’s next to read it – but Rosie Walsh didn’t always plan on being a writer. This month, we’re thrilled to have her on the blog, and hope you love hearing from her too!
Not at all. I was just about to turn thirty, when I started, and prior to that had worked in theatre and then TV documentaries – neither of which had felt quite right. I loved writing, but it had never occurred to me to pursue it as a career.
I was writing a dating blog for Marie Claire, when a women’s fiction editor contacted me, asking if I’d ever thought about writing a book. ‘No,’ I replied. She wrote back again to ask if I wanted to meet and talk about it – I was (hilariously) only semi-interested. Luckily, a friend set me straight. ‘If you don’t meet with her, I will never talk to you again,’ she said. So I went. We had a great chat, and she encouraged me to use a recent break-up as a starting point for my first novel. When I did finally finish the thing, she wasn’t all that keen, but – luckily – other editors were.
The solitude. People tell me often that I have the ‘dream job,’ and for a long while I couldn’t believe my luck – I got to control my working day! I could go to lunchtime yoga and have ‘creative naps’ in the afternoon! But, after a couple of years, I realised that I was struggling. I was used to working in big teams, and to tight deadlines. For me – and, I believe, most people – creativity and human contact are interdependent. Over the years I’ve had to build in lots of structure to ensure I a) see other human beings in my working day and b) make sure I sit down and write, come what may.
Yes – the book I’m reading right now. It’s called The Island Dwellers, by an American writer called Jen Silverman. She has a mesmeric ability to drill down to the very core of the human psyche. Funny, unsettling, searingly real and frequently painful.
Because, simply, this one felt different. I could sense it from the very first page, as could my agent, who read thirty thousand words of it and said, I think we need to start again. It’s time to use your own name, she told me, and I knew she was right. Still, it was oddly alarming, the idea of having my real name on a book.
My inspiration was a dinner with a successful, intelligent, beautiful friend in her forties, who had recently had a man completely disappear on her. They were in the early stages of a relationship, and both had been very keen. The future was being discussed; invitations extended to meet parents, etc – when, suddenly, he vanished. As I listened to her hypotheses for his disappearance (broken phone; broken arm; possibly dead) I felt so angry that this should be happening to a woman in her forties. I emailed my agent and said, I want to write a book about this. She responded immediately to say – YES! Two minutes later, she emailed: The Man Who Didn’t Call. (In the States, it’s called Ghosted. I love both titles.)
It’s the story of Sarah, who believes that, in Eddie, she has met the love of her life – only for him to disappear without warning. Her friends are convinced she has merely been ghosted, but Sarah is certain that there’s a more sinister reason for his actions – and so she sets out to find out what happened. It’s an epic love story, of course, but also a story about grief, culpability, mental health and family.
My relationship with beauty has historically been quite poor – it’s something I never really made time for – but now I’m approaching forty, I’ve realised I need to take it more seriously. Luckily, I discovered Balance Me a few years ago, in particular the Hyaluronic Plumping Mist which I take with me everywhere, so I look a lot better than I otherwise might. I really, genuinely love these products, and hardly ever get spots now – ditching the chemicals really has been a revelation. My daily self-care has been stripped back to a morning meditation, since I became a mother, but as long as I do that, I keep my head above water.
Baths, yoga, and meditation: my holy trinity of relaxation. Being in the countryside is also helpful – my mind really does work more slowly in green spaces. There’s very little time for any of that, these days, publicising my book all over the world, trying to write the next one, and being a decent mother, but I am working on finding more time. Trying to plough on through without any R&R just depletes me further and results in bad writing, bad mothering, and bad head.
A night in a spa hotel, minus baby, that my partner and I have planned in September! I can’t even imagine the luxury of time completely to ourselves, and no nocturnal wakings! It’s possible that the hotel will have to send security to remove me from our bedroom at checkout.
The Man Who Didn’t Call is available to buy here.
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