To celebrate the release of her new book The Adults, we asked author Caroline Hulse to let us and her readers know 10 things about her that she wouldn't mind sharing! Here's what she had to reveal...

Achieving a long-held dream is a weird, out-of-body feeling. Getting published after eighteen years, I expected to feel content – but alongside the good stuff, my imposter syndrome has ramped right up. I feel I ‘should’ be elated all the time, and feel guilty when I’m not enjoying it. It has been a strange, emotive year. I am grateful and I wouldn’t swap it, but it’s been unexpected.

I have given up writing many, many times – each time I finished a book and got the familiar round of rejections, I swore I’d never write anything again. But then I’d get an idea for a book again a year or so later, when the pain of rejection had dulled, and I found I wanted to tell a new story. I am shocked to find myself here. If I try to trace back in time, the path here doesn’t make any sense.

I have always tried to live a conventional life. The problem was, a lot of the norms: ‘you work hard, you have kids, you stick to your lane, you make as much money as you can to show you’ve made it, you die’ just never made sense. I never wanted children. I never comprehended the expectations on me as a female that seemed so different from those of my male friends. I spend a lot of my free time in casino poker rooms, where life has less conventional norms. I played a conventional role at a corporate job for many years, but had to change job regularly. I was restless.

I like to do pointless things to stay entertained. Board games, card games, jigsaws, having stupid pointless conversations about nothing. Life is so serious, if you think about it too much you’d never get up in the morning. Trivial stuff matters.

I have never had any kind of exposure before this publication process kicked in, and I was never on social media. I have found the exposure challenging, and didn’t expect it. I have decided to play it safe and avoid any kind of politics because I find the thought of polarised arguments with strangers depressing. If you follow me on Twitter, you won’t get this mulling-over-the-world, just lots of pictures of my dog in outfits.

I don’t know anything in particular about blended families. I wrote a book about blended families because it seemed like a great opportunity for conflict, but this was based on no specific insight whatsoever. I find it surprising when people get in touch to say they see their own situations reflected in the book.

I find categorising my work hard. I never wrote The Adults as a comedy, it was meant to be a psychological suspense. As with all my work, the comedy just snuck in anyway, and we’ve emphasised it through the editing process. It has taken me a long time to accept I write comedy, and it is only my editor and agent’s insistence that has convinced me.

I am surprised when I people comment on my unlikeable characters. I don’t find them unlikeable! I believe people do bad things when they’re feeling insecure and under pressure. I believe there’s nothing more dangerous than a sense of alienation, or having something to prove. My characters don’t seem unlikeable to me, just very human. I feel we’re all capable of doing very ‘good’ and very ‘bad’ things, depending on circumstance.

A lot of people have compared my books to sitcoms. I think it’s a fair comparison – I give very little description about place, and generally get straight to the dialogue (and inner dialogue). Most books out there are more ‘booky’ than mine. I have no problem with that.

I love a list and a spreadsheet. All my books are intricately plotted on spreadsheets before I start writing. I don’t know how anyone manages pace and plot if they don’t – books are big sprawly things, written over a long time, and how other people keep track of ‘character j’ and ‘plot point 42’ is beyond me!


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