Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Brook Cottage Books is so thrilled to have Haley Hill on the blog. Thanks so much Haley for agreeing to be interrogated! Let's find out a little bit about the lovely Haley.
JB: I am fascinated by the fact that you ran a dating agency. How on earth did you end up in that line of work?
HALEY: When I was 26, I thought my life was sorted. I had a good career as a pharmacist, a lovely flat and I was engaged to a lawyer. Everything was working out just the way I’d hoped. That was until my fiancé called the wedding off at the final hour. Then my world turned upside down. I began to question all the assumptions I had made about dating and relationships. After a year of disastrous internet dates, I decided to quit my job and set up the kind of dating service I would have liked. Looking back, I realise I was searching for answers.
JB: Why did you decide to sell the dating agency?
HALEY: I decided to sell six years after I’d founded the agency. The contracts were exchanged only 2 weeks before my twin girls were born. Initially, when I’d discovered I was pregnant, I planned to keep the business. I envisaged, matching clients while my twin babies gurgled contentedly in the background. However, as the pregnancy drew on, my priorities changed. I knew I wanted to spend time with my babies and that my career would have to be put on hold. It was a sad time. I’d grown the business from nothing. It was my firstborn, and I found it hard to let go.
JB: Are your single friends cautious of your match-making?
HALEY: Hah! Yes, some are, though I think most are hopeful. I’ve always found it difficult to match close friends. I think it’s because I know them too well and struggle to be objective.
JB: Your experiences as a matchmaker have obviously given you some writing fuel. Was it always your intention to one day put those experiences down on paper?
HALEY: No, not at all. The idea only occurred to me the day after I sold the agency. It was almost as though I was compelled to do it. It might have been the hormones, but I remember telling myself over and over again. “I have to write a book, I have to share what I’ve learned. I owe it to my people!” I’m not sure my message is going to deliver world peace, as I’d initially hoped. However, I think the premise is important. I wish I could have given a copy to my twenty-seven year-old self.
JB: With twins in the house, how do you find time to write?
HALEY: Yes, you raise a very good point. One I didn’t fully consider before telling anyone who would listen that I was going to write a book. Once I’ve said I’m going to do something, I won’t stop until it’s done. While that’s an admirable personally trait in some respects, it’s one I could have done without when faced with a double dose of norovirus, a husband on work jolly and a dog with diarrhoea.
JB: How long did it take you to write the book?
HALEY: Three years. It took me four months to write the first draft. Then I scrapped that. Then I re-wrote it from scratch again. Then again. And then again. It was only after a further ten major edits and twenty or so proof reads, that I felt I had done the topic justice. Then, for legal reasons, at the last minute, I decided to re-write the first two chapters.
JB: Do you have any writing rituals, such as certain music playing while you write?
HALEY: I wish I did. I’ve heard some authors light scented candles, or retreat to a secluded office overlooking the sea. “One day!” I sigh. With twin toddlers and a needy dog in the house, I write when I can. When I’m presented with a poo in a potty, then I just take a deep breath, smile and snap back into mummy mode.
That being said, I did have Climie Fisher’s ‘Love Changes Everything’ blasting out of my iMac the other day when I was sorting the playlist for my launch party. I must admit, I quite enjoyed that. I didn’t get much work done though. Instead, I ended up dancing around the office with my dog, Rufus.
JB: Do you have any plans for another book?
HALEY: I found the writing process extremely draining. Afterwards, it felt as though I had wrung my heart out like a dishcloth. I would love to write another book but not just for the sake of writing. It would have to be for a story that I am just as desperate to tell.
JB: Do you have any advice for budding authors?
HALEY: Never give up. Writing isn’t a gift, it’s a craft, and one which you need to learn. Write, write and then write some more. Then ask for feedback, preferably from someone who isn’t your mum.
JB: And, I have to ask..............most disastrous date?
HALEY: There have been plenty of those. The one that sticks in my mind though, probably because I’m still paying for it, was with a man I met online. He said he was the director of an investment bank and I was excited when he suggested we dine at a Michelin star restaurant. He ordered vintage champagne, lobster, the whole works. Then ‘forgot’ his wallet. He suggested we do a runner, but I was too embarrassed to consider not paying. He promised he’d pay me back, but strangely I never heard from him again. That taught me to be less impressed by the superficial...
Thanks once again to the lovely Haley Hill. A very interesting lady I think you will agree. Let's find out a little more about her book, It's Got to Be Perfect.
When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.
Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she's certain her life's purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all the singles in the world.
Five years on, running the UK's biggest matchmaking agency, and with thousands of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she'll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.
Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. Or does it?
Watch the book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFzSc4xuE7I
Finalist - readers' Favorite (US) Book Awards
Finalist - Best Dating Book 2013
‘As deliciously gossipy as it gets’--Sadie Nicholas, journalist
‘High drama and lots of laughs’--Susan Quilliam, Fabulous Magazine
‘Hilarious and so very, very true’ -- James Preece, The Dating Guru
‘Blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits,’ he said to Mia.
Fortunately for him, in the four years we’d worked together, she had
learned to temper her eye rolls and her expression was fixed at
something that could have even been described as earnest.
‘Would you consider green eyes?’ Mia asked.
‘No,’ he said, pushing up his sleeves to reveal a diamond encrusted
Rolex. ‘I dated someone with green eyes once. It didn’t work
I continued typing on my keyboard on the table next to them,
brushing the hair away from my face to sneak a sideways glance at
He wore a shiny grey suit, the garish end of Gucci. His watch
was obnoxiously bling like a bank balance on his wrist, his hair: blond,
highlighted. Tan: deep, natural. Eyes: blue, sparkling. Smile: cheeky,
lopsided. Teeth: even, white. Age: I’d guess, thirty-seven. Height:
around 5ft 7in, unfortunate considering his other physical attributes.
Body language: overtly male, legs splayed, hand near crotch, shoulders
wide. Eye contact: good. Champagne choice: predictably expensive.
Overall assessment: inflated ego, directly proportional to, and fully
dependent on, his net assets.
I looked over at Mia, watching how her dark hair hid her face
as she leant over a notepad and began writing. He sat opposite her, his
hands miming two large beach balls.
‘Like this,’ he said, a self-satisfied smile sweeping across his
face. ‘Are you looking?’
Mia raised her head and the curtain lifted. I could tell she was
fighting to suppress an emotion. I supposed it was either amusement
or rage, but I couldn’t quite tell.
‘Yes, got it,’ she replied. ‘Please continue.’
‘And I like nipples that point upwards.’
‘Upwards-pointing nipples,’ she said, scribbling away.
‘And I prefer pink to brown.’
‘Preferably pink.’ She paused and looked up, eyes narrowed.
‘Is that a deal breaker? The pink nipples?’
He weighed his head from side to side and I pictured a tiny
cluster of brain cells rolling around inside his skull.
‘Yes. Definitely pink. I’m not fussed which shade.’
‘There are shades?’
‘Of course, from light pink, like the colour of your nail
varnish, to a dark pink, a bit like your lipstick.’
‘Wow, you learn something every day.’
‘I’m surprised you didn’t know that.’
‘Yes, you being a –’
‘No, being a woman. You must have seen hundreds of your
‘My friends don’t have hundreds of nipples.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Oh, you mean all those topless pillow fights we have?’
He nodded and winked.
She locked him with Medusa eyes. ‘Right, now your turn.’
‘What else do you need to know?’
She ripped out a sheet of paper from her notepad and slid it
across the table along with a pen. ‘Draw an outline of your penis for
‘An outline?’ he asked.
I giggled inwardly and wondered if he had selected the wrong
word for clarification.
‘Yes, sketch the outline and then add in any unusual features.’
Her expression remained fixed at a plausible serious.
He picked up the pen. ‘Does it have to be to scale?’
‘Preferably. Or else you can indicate the measurements.’
With an expression of intense concentration and with a tight grip on
the pencil, he soon completed the sketch. Then after a further five
minutes of shading and corrections, he held the sheet of paper aloft
for Mia to see.
‘Obviously we’ll have to verify this with a photo,’ she said,
taking it from him and studying it.
He leaned back in his seat. ‘Will you want that signed by my
‘Ex-girlfriend will do. But if your bank manager is happy to do
Moments later, after he’d left and the buzz of his phone was fading
into the distance, Mia turned to me with a tight smile.
‘Another Prince Charming,’ she said, handing me the sketch.
‘Good sport though.’
I looked at the drawing, winced and then quickly folded it
away. It appeared, his ego wasn’t the only thing that was inflated.
‘So, what were you scribbling down?’ I asked. ‘A full
She shook her head. ‘Shopping list.’
I sighed. ‘Mia.’
‘He’s a client. You’re supposed to be focused on helping him.’
‘Go on then.’
She laughed. ‘Well, under all the bravado, there’s probably a
lost little boy who just wants to be loved.’
‘Mia. Stop it.’
‘Know any stupid girls with big tits who want a rich guy?’
My mind flicked through its archives. ‘Yes,’ I said, nodding
slowly, ‘but she’s not stupid. She’s quite intelligent actually. Her name’s
‘We don’t care about her name. What’s her cup size?’
‘Hang on.’ I picked up my phone and typed her name into
Google images, then handed the phone to Mia. ‘There you go, pink
… what’s the word?’ She drummed her fingers on the table.
‘Yes, that’s it. Intelligent.’
I rolled my eyes, something I appeared to have acquired
from Mia. ‘You okay to arrange the introduction?’
‘Sure,’ she said, stuffing her notebook back into her bag.
‘Living the dream.’
About the Author
Haley was born in London in 1977, with a big heart, big feet and big ideals. In 2005, she set up what turned out to be the UK's biggest matchmaking agency. She has since sold it and drunk the proceeds. She lives in Battersea with her husband James, a wine merchant and consequent enabler of her habit, their twin girls and a scruffy hound called Rufus. She spends her days chasing her toddlers around the house, trying to write but mostly just messing about on Twitter.