Writer Wednesday: Laurie Ellingham

Laurie lives in a small village on the Suffolk/Essex border, with her husband, two children, and their cockerpoo, Rodney. When she is not disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand, she is running through the countryside, burning off the chocolate intake and plotting her next chapter.

Laurie starting writing stories when she was eight years old, and after gaining a first class honours degree in Psychology and a brief stint working in public relations, Laurie followed her passion and her dream to become a writer and now spends her days writing contemporary women’s fiction.

1. Why did you want to become a writer? 
I think I was born with a desire to write. I’ve been writing stories since I was very little. Even at the age of 10 I sent a little story to a publisher (and received my first rejection). Stories seem to appear in my head like a film and I see it as my job to put it into words in the best way I can. 

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
 My answer to this question changes daily, but today the hardest part seems to be the just-keep-going mentality you have to have to take your novel from the early 20,000 word mark all the way through to the end.

Of course, rejections, self-doubt, loneliness, and the penniless state of being a writer, could quite easily have been my answer on any other day.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing? 
Taking an idea and characters that only exist in my head, and weaving their stories into a novel to share with the world, is a fantastic feeling and the most enjoyable part of writing for me.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
Oh gosh, where to start. I could reel off a list of books I’ve read which have changed me in some way or that I wished I’d written. The best books for me aren’t just ones that I enjoy reading, but ones that push me to want to be a better writer. Emma Healy’s Elizabeth is Missing is one of those books. She has taken a truly difficult topic - Alzheimer’s disease - which has affected so many people in so many ways - and weaved it beautifully into a gripping mystery. Amazing!

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
Lizzie Appleton. She’s one of the main characters in my next novel to be released (Three Months to Live, published by Carina and out in April 2017). Lizzie is sweet and funny, and horribly sarcastic to the point of rudeness sometimes, but she’s had a tough life and spent a lot of her life in hospital battling brain tumours. She definitely deserves saving.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
Ooooo good question. I’ve been reading so many thrillers lately, which are great, but perhaps don’t make for the best characters to hang out with. So, it’ll have to be Arielle Lockley (is that too stalkerish? :-)) I read Kept over the summer and just loved Arielle’s character. I really felt her pain, and enjoyed the humorous disasters that struck her life. I imagine we’d have a right good gossip over lunch.

7. What can we expect next from you? 
Next year is going to be a really exciting year for me as I’ll have two books being published by Carina. The first is out in April and called Three Months to Live and here’s a peak at the blurb:

Twenty-nine year old Lizzie Appleton has a brain tumour, but is she hiding something? Jaddi has a secret life not even her best friends know about. If the truth comes out, she’ll lose everything. Samantha’s in trouble, but she hasn’t told a soul. Would anyone believe her if she did? 

When three best friends are offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel the world, they jump at the chance, but there’s a catch - they have to take part in a TV documentary following the final months of Lizzie's life. 

With the world watching, Lizzie, Jaddi, Samantha, and cameraman Ben, embark on a journey which will push their friendship to the brink. 

Three Friends...Three Secrets...Three Months to live.

The second book is called The Stranger on The Boat and is much darker than anything I’ve written before. It’s been a challenge to write, but one I’ve loved.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
Don’t let the rejections get you down. Don’t give up! It wasn’t advice I was given and there was a spell of three years where I stopped writing all together. Luckily, I found my way back to writing in 2013, and whilst it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and whilst I have still dealt with some harsh rejections, I do feel that I’m going in the right direction now.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you. 
When I’m working on a first draft my aim is to write 1000 words a day. This goes a lot easier if I sit with a coffee straight after the school run and make a start. I usually write for a few hours and then get some fresh air with either a dog walk or a run. Then it’s back to it until school pick up. Some days I can sit at my desk all day and make no progress. Others, I’m popping out to do errands or helping over at the school, and still squeeze in a good writing session. The important thing for me is to do something with my work in progress every day. Even if it’s just reading through the last chapter I’ve written. This keeps the story fresh in my mind.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 
Right now I’m reading Lucie Whitehouse’s latest novel - Keep You Close. It’s a slower novel than her previous books, but beautifully written and very compelling.

Follow Laurie on Twitter | Buy How To Throw Your Life Away on Amazon |
Like her on Facebook | Visit her website

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