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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Carolyn Hobdey about her career, what inspires her, and the creative process that went into her new book; Redefining SELFISH.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I’m Carolyn Hobdey. I’m 48 years old and I live in Harrogate in North Yorkshire, UK.

I’m a former HR Director of some of the world’s largest employers and most recognisable brands who is now an author, media commentator and life transformationalist.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

It’s funny, my friends had been saying for years that I really ought to write a book about my life… then my life became even more book-worthy! It was whilst I was working with a Clinical Psychologist who at times was open-mouthed about some of what I had been through that I really understood that I had a story to tell.

Carolyn Hobdey, author of Redefining SELFISH, interview on The Table Read
Carolyn Hobdey

When did you take a step to start writing?

Mid 2019 I spent a day with a specialist coach for authors and speakers to get the basic structure of my story/business out of me. It helped to clarify in my head how I would use the writing of my memoir as the foundation stone of my business.

Second Sale

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

I first decided that a book was the route forward in the Summer of 2019. My first book, All The Twats I Met Along The Way, was released in January 2021. I had been still working full-time for some of that period and then latterly it was about timing the launch for after Christmas – so I’d say it was actually about 12 months.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

My second book, Redefining SELFISH, came about much more quickly. It was a shorter book so I wrote it in February 2021 and it was released as an eBook in June. It is out in the print version in November.

What made you want to write Redefining SELFISH?

Redefining SELFISH is all about practical ways to prioritise yourself. I wanted to write it because I had been woefully inadequate at seeing myself and my needs as important; that went on for decades! When my life went through a significant change in 2018, I suddenly realised that looking after myself wasn’t selfish, it was in fact the BEST way to enable me to care for others. Women frequently place themselves at the bottom of their to-do list, so I wanted to write something to challenge that view and to give small steps for them to change that without feeling guilty.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Redefining SELFISH?

Actually getting it out fast enough! My typing speed wasn’t as fast as my brain speed! I was so passionate about the messages in this book that I was fortunate that the words just flowed.

What was your research process for Redefining SELFISH?

Much of what is in the book are tools and techniques that I have learnt over many years – both personally and professionally. It just took me a long while to realise how they slotted together and could be so impactful in my personal life. Some of them come from my extensive HR background, others from my Lean Manufacturing studies/experience – yes, I know that sounds bizarre, but in Lean there is a lot about structured problem solving and using what you already know – and then these were added to from courses and reading I did as part of my own transformation in 2018/19. I am still learning and developing all the time, so I like to try to write in real-time to share that with my readers. We are all a work in progress!

Carolyn Hobdey, author of Redefining SELFISH, interview on The Table Read

How did you plan the structure of Redefining SELFISH?

I kept coming back to this concept of SELFISH. How we needed to change our mindset from one where this is seen as negative to where we see putting ourselves first – especially as women – as a good thing. It was then that I developed the elements of the SELFISH model because these were the fundamental first steps of making that change of mindset. I then wanted to add in practical exercises so that the book was more than just another ‘how to’ guide – it actually helps the reader to do simple things to set the wheels in motion without being too daunting. I wrote the book on the order of the SELFISH model.

Grammarly Writing Support

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Redefining SELFISH need?

There was very little editing required, but Helen Lewis that heads up my wonderful PR and Publishing companies read the book for me. I also got a few willing friends to read it to provide me with feedback and amendments. They all always tell me the truth, which I value enormously.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Just get started. Go with the inspiration you have and write the words that come to you and you are passionate about. Don’t worry about whether what you’re writing is the beginning, the middle or the end of the book – just write. The structure can come later.

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Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

All The Twats I Met Along The Way was the first of my Twats Trilogy. I am just finishing writing the second book for the series titled, De-Twat Your Life! Its about how to set about being yourself so that you make decisions about the life you want rather than living a life of ‘shoulds’ based on societal norms about success. It is due to be released early in 2022.

That will then be followed by the third book of the Twats Trilogy: Twats at Work.

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am immensely proud of the achievement of being a published author. So many talk about it and never do it – being brave and disciplined enough to see it through is such a great feeling. Your writing won’t suit everyone – that’s why there are so many different books and genres – but knowing that you have taken an idea all the way through to a physical, printed book is amazing. It’s leaving a legacy, which is pretty cool.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:



FB: @Redefining.Selfish

IG: @redefiningselfish


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