Appropriately for an author, Dolly Alderton used to be an open book.
For several years, she wrote a dating column in The Sunday Times, in which she would share all sorts of stories about being a single woman in her 20s – the successes, disasters, mishaps, and everything in between.
Her 2018 memoir – Everything I Know About Love – lived up to its title, offering readers a frank and deeply personal account of friendships, relationships and growing up as a millennial.
It became a best-seller and struck a chord with women everywhere (and quite a few men). Critics praised her for so beautifully capturing what it was like growing up in the noughties – there’s even a section dedicated to the politics of MSN Messenger.
However, Alderton’s latest book, Ghosts, sees her switching to fiction; a decision partly driven by her desire to no longer make so much of her personal life public after the huge success of her memoir.
“Put simply, my first book was all my good stories,” Alderton tells BBC News. “I had a particular story to tell. And that was also a thematic story that fit neatly into a memoir, which was a story about growing up.
“But also, I just don’t want to write about my personal life anymore, I have neither the inclination nor the strength to do that,” she explains. “Not to say that I regret doing that. I’m really glad I did that for that period of my life. But any desire to do that has completely left me now.”
Alderton still writes for The Sunday Times, but now works as an agony aunt, which means the focus is on the many readers who write in