Questions & Answers

What jobs did you have before you started writing?

Tilly:

I worked as a headhunter for six years, specialising in investment banking in London and Los Angeles. I enjoyed that career for a long time, but by the end I had become very exhausted and I think emotionally burned out. I was the youngest ever person to make partner (at 27) in the number one global headhunting firm (Heidrick & Struggles) and was the firm’s biggest revenue producer in Europe before I moved to Los Angeles. So there was immense pressure on me to perform, and I had to deal with a lot of envy and resentment. It could be quite tough.

Working in the City was fantastic in many ways. You earn a fortune and there’s a certain camaraderie in that high-pressure, high-energy lifestyle that I enjoyed, although it is still a very male-oriented and sexist world. I made good friends there and it gave me financial security, so I can’t regret it. But I am certainly very happy to be writing now. I think I am less rabidly ambitious in my thirties than I was in my twenties; and other things – creative expression, having time to spend with my family, not dying of a stress-related stomach ulcer – have become more important to me as I’ve got older.