Beth O’Leary

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 26th June 2019

Beth grew up in Winchester, the youngest of six children.

“I spent a lot of time reading and writing, retreating from the noise!”

She started out by writing Young Adult fiction.

“But The Flat Share was the first time my writing really clicked.”

After University, Beth worked in publishing; first at an academic press then in children’s publishing.

“I wrote the debut on my commutes to and from work. I flew through the first draft and spent another six months working on it.”

The book sold easily.

“I got an agent – I’d been trying to get one since I was 18. We worked on the book, she sent it out, and it was pre-empted by Quercus within days. Then the phone went crazy with more pre-empts, and with foreign sales. It’s sold in 30 languages.” 

Who is Beth O’Leary? 

Date of birth: 1992 in London

Education: The Westgate School, and Peter Symond’s College; Oxford University, English.

Home: Winchester.

Family: Boyfriend, Sam – a doctor.

The Day Job: “I’m now writing full time.”

In Another Life: “I’d be a therapist. I’m a great believer in therapy and think the people who do it are incredible.”

Favourite Writers: Marian Keyes; David Nichols; Jane Austen; Charles Dickens; Maria Edgeworth.

Second Novel: “I’ve had my first edits back. It’s about a grandmother and granddaughter who switch lives for a few months. The grandmother gets a new lease of life.”

Top Tip: “The most important thing is to finish something, even if you feel you’re failing. So much of the work happens when you have written the last word. That’s when you work out what the book will say.”

Website: Twitter: @Olearybeth

The Debut: The Flat Share. Quercus: €8.12. Kindle: €7.50 

When Tiffy answers an advert to flat share, her friends think she’s lost her mind. Because the deal is that she’ll be sharing a room – and a bed – with a stranger who works night shifts. They won’t see each other, but can the arrangement work?

“My boyfriend is a junior doctor, and with me commuting, we were rarely home at the same time. That’s what got me thinking. Then the characters started to take over.”

The Verdict: Romantic, warm, and real, but has a dark side. I absolutely adored it!


Published in The Irish Examiner on 20th April

© Sue J Leonard. 2019 

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