Updated: Dec 17, 2021
I am currently reading and enjoying 'Gorgito's Ice Rink' Elizabeth's very first novel which was Runner-Up in the Self-Published Book of the Year Awards 2014, so it's been lovely to talk to Elizabeth about her writing. We connected through the Devon Book Club twitter hour on Monday nights where local author's can chat about books they've read and their own latest achievements. My review for 'Gorgito's Ice Rink' will be featured at the end of the month.
You live in the South West of England but you grew up in Birmingham. What was your early life like?
My memories of childhood are very happy ones. I am the eldest of three sisters and there is quite a gap between me and the other two; so I was an only child until I was eight. Our parents were strict but very loving. We lived, as you said, in the city, but all our holidays were spent with my grandparents in the countryside. I remember roaming all over the place on my nan’s bike and staying out until all hours in the summer. It was the 1950s and 1960s, and money was relatively tight, so Christmases and birthdays were special, as they were the only times I was able to add new books to my bookshelf. The rest of the time, I relied on libraries.
At what point did you discover the joy of writing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love writing. Crafting words into elegant phrases has always been a passion of mine. But for most of my life, I have written technical non-fiction. My joy in writing fiction and creative non-fiction only really developed in the past fifteen years, but I have been making up for lost time since then. I have published five novels, three collections of short stories and a series of manuals on business skills for writers since 2011.
Tell me more about your current work in progress.
I am working on three projects at the moment. (In my previous career, I was a project manager and have no trouble dealing with multiple projects at the same time.) I have just completed the first draft of my currently untitled novel #6, the follow-up to Murder at Mountjoy Manor and the second in my Coombesford Chronicles series. I’ve recently moved into the cosy crime genre and am having great fun with it. Think Midsomer Murders set in South Devon. That one is due to be published towards the end of 2022. I am also working on Coombesford Calendar Volume 1, a book of short stories set in the fictional village I have invented for my cosy crime series. That will come out in April 2022. And finally, I have returned to my former career in order to co-author the second edition of a pharmaceutical text-book which I first wrote back in 2002. That’s been an unexpected foray back into my old life, and is also due to be published in spring of 2022.
How has the past 18 months been for you in relation to the pandemic?
I have to admit I’ve rather enjoyed the past eighteen months. We’re lucky enough to live in a large house with a decent-sized garden in a semi-rural setting, so were able to get out for early morning walks and then isolate ourselves from other people, and from each other if necessary, for the rest of the time. Previously, going to meetings had involved spending at least half a day travelling into Exeter by bus and out again afterwards; so the move to Zoom was a great time-saver for me. Plus I had a major operation in August 2020 which reduced my mobility for some months. I spent a lot of the time preparing for the Exeter Literary Festival which finally went ahead at the beginning of last month.
Do you have any advice for those reading who might like to start writing?
Don’t think about it; just do it. Keep practising. Enter competitions and get feedback if possible. Study the winning stories. Join a writing group and get your work critiqued. Don’t take criticism personally. And don’t be afraid to write absolute rubbish to start with. You can edit rubbish; you can’t edit a blank page.
Lastly, how might my readers keep in touch with you?
The best way to keep in touch is via my website. You can find details of all my books, plus my talks and my coaching services there. You can also sign up for my newsletters. I send one to readers, with a free short story each month; and one to writers, which is less frequent, but also includes a free gift each time. I am also happy to receive emails and will always respond.