On Better Words this week: Josh Silver
How a career change from actor to mental health nurse inspired this dystopian YA debut
As soon as we finished this week’s interview, we were texting each other in awe of the generous and friendly spirit of Josh Silver.
Now, we always enjoy chatting to our authors. And once you’re on the podcast, we’ll champion you forever. But there was something even more magical about our chat with Josh – we hope you feel it too.
Josh grew up in the Lake District, before moving to Manchester with his family. After training at RADA in London, Josh worked in the West End and Broadway. He’s even been in a play with Aussie icon Nicole Kidman 😱
However, acting wasn’t sitting well with him so Josh changed careers, retraining as a mental health nurse and starting work during the pandemic. It was here that he got the inspiration for HappyHead, which is what we’re discussing today.
Since we recorded this, Josh and his partner David got married. Congratulations!
🎧 Listen to the episode at the link below or search ‘Better Words’ in your podcast player 🎧
Things we talked about
Creating the dystopian setting of HappyHead
Josh's career change from actor to mental health nurse and how his experience inspired the novel
How Josh's experience of growing up gay is mirrored through the challenges the main character Seb faces in accepting his sexuality
The impact that seeing things like Strictly Come Dancing's first male/male pairing had on queer communities (see one of their dances here)
The deep and ongoing impact that shame around sexuality has on people
Josh's drama school and acting experience (and the hangovers from that, which also influenced the book)
How Josh got his publication deal and what's coming next
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Before we chat with our featured author, we always share some other recommendations.
🐪This week, we’re also excited to announce that you can listen to Michelle’s new audio documentary, The Great Australian Camel Race for ABC RN's The History Listen. Listen here.🐪
Caitlin recommends: The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor
This is a magical and captivating middle-grade novel set in 1890s Melbourne. Inspired by a real bookshop, Mellor explores what happens when a father attempts to bring a beloved daughter back to life through an Obscurosmith. His other daughters hatch a plan and get involved in a dangerous, high-stakes challenge to save their father and the bookshop.
Michelle recommends: The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
This is one friend of the podcast Laura Kay recommended back in early 2021. This is one of those gorgeous contemporary novels where you just want to befriend all the characters. I was enchanted by Albert’s story and utterly invested in making sure he found himself again. I can’t wait to read Matt’s new book, Becoming Ted.
- Caitlin & Michelle
🎧 Search ‘Better Words’ in your favourite podcast player to get new episodes as soon as they’re live. We’ll be back with another episode next Wednesday! 🎧