After university Lisa got a job in a literary agency in London.
“I was there for about 18 months, then I moved into an Independent publishing house, as an editor of non-fiction, where I worked for six years.”
She quit her publishing job in 2012, in order to take a Masters in Creative Writing,
“That was brilliant. I was able to experiment. I started writing the debut as my long project for my dissertation.
“I submitted it to an agent. She was very positive, and said she wanted to represent me. It took me another eighteen months, writing fulltime, to finish the novel.”
The book sold in February, 2015, and in December, Lisa’s first baby was born.
“At the moment, I’m figuring out how to get back to writing.”
Who is Lisa Owens
Date of birth: 1985 in Leeds.
Education: St Alban’s Girl’s School, Hertfordshire. Emmanuelle College Cambridge; English Literature. University of East Anglia; Masters in Creative Writing.
Family: Husband Simon Bird, and daughter, Laura, 5 months.
The Day Job: On maternity leave.
Interests: Comedy; both live and on TV. Cooking. “Other interests, like running, have taken a back seat right now.”
Favourite Writers: John McGahern; William Trevor; Anne Enright. “And recently I’ve been reading Lorrie Moore, AM Holmes and Elizabeth Strout.”
Second Novel: “I haven’t any ideas for it yet; I hope it will grow organically.”
Top Tip: Protect your time. “It’s so easy to let days slip away.”
The Debut: Not Working. Picador: €16.99. Kindle: €8.15.
Fed up with her mundane job, Clare Flannery quits work in order to find out what her real vocation is. She imagines her time will be brilliantly productive, and she will finally finish Ulysses, but the days drag, and her relationships suffer.
“I had been collecting conversations and observations for a while, then playing around with them. These fed into the theme of careers and a purpose in life. I wondered what it would be like, if you had been in an unsatisfactory job for years, and wanted to find your purpose. How it would feel if you had no idea what you wanted to do?”
The Verdict: I adored this book for its humour, warmth, and its distinctive voice and style.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 14th May.
© Sue Leonard. 2016.