Interview with NP author Ian Ellis
It’s been a while since I’ve had the honour of introducing to you a Night Publishing author, but Ian Ellis is a fully-fledged member on Tim Roux’s roster.
Have A nice Weekend is Ian’s debut novel and provides an interesting insight into the character of a middle-aged man (Will) after his divorce. Interesting because Ian paints an indepth picture of Will’s emotional makeup, which gives a wealth of information on the male perspective of such a traumatic situation. Ian Ellis is the writer of detail and characterisation, he probes and probes until he has laid bare the workings of his character. Taking us through the building blocks of Will’s life, Ian leaves us with a vivid, realistic picture of the main character’s almost unavoidable unhappiness. The way he describes this process slightly reminds me of the Realist and Naturalist writers around 1900, think Thomas Hardy, Henry James.
Where do you live (town, country)? Were you born and bred there?
I am currently living in the New Forest, on the South Coast of England. I was born in the same county (Hampshire), brought up in Croydon, and have then lived in various places, including Daytona Beach, Florida.
The New Forest has been my home for the past four years. And a beautiful place it is, with a thousand years of history and ponies, donkeys and cows walking down the middle of the road.
What kind of food do you like? Are you a good cook? How important is food to you?
Food is very important to me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be tasty. I’m as happy eating a hamburger as I am fillet steak. One of my favourite dishes is ham, egg and chips.
Am I a good cook? I certainly seem to cook food that my family enjoys eating. Every Saturday night I make pizzas from scratch, six in all. If I could have a pizza oven in my kitchen, I would be a very happy man. I do have a pizza stone, and a large paddle for taking them out of the oven.
Recently my daughter has had some problems with her gall bladder, so she has been on a fat-free diet. Making a fat-free pizza was a challenge, but I managed it. Apparently, cottage cheese is good baked on top of dough. Who knew?
My signature dish is pulled pork. Slow cooked for 24 hours, covered in barbecue sauce and served with coleslaw on white rolls. Heaven. In fact, as I write this, I have a pork shoulder cooking for tonight’s dinner. Only ten hours more to go.
Do you do any sports? How often? What does exercise mean to you? Any other
I play golf badly and not as often as I would like, but other than that, no I don’t play sports.
But I think I probably watch far too much.
Exercise means walking the quarter of a mile to the village shops rather than getting in the car, the very occasional round of golf and the odd trip to the fridge.
Do you have kids/grandchildren? If so, please tell us a little about them?
Four children, two girls and two boys.
My eldest daughter has just turned 19, and I am happy to say I do not have any grandchildren yet. She is a delight, and has never been a problem teenager. Sadly, she will be moving out soon – a bitter/sweet feeling, to be honest. Obviously I am going to miss her, but I couldn’t be prouder of the person she has grown up to be.
My 17 year old son is the complete opposite of his sister. Getting him to do any studying at all is like trying to teach a fish to knit. He has so many ideas of what he
wants to do with his life; hopefully one of them will come true.
My 15 year old daughter is just starting her GCSE year, and knows what she wants to do: a makeup artist, particularly extreme makeup for films: gore, blood, weird stuff. Of course, she may change her mind, but I don’t think she will. She is a very determined young lady.
The youngest is 11, and is obsessed with anything Lego. Which can only be a good thing, really.
Do you like travelling? Where do you go then?
My favourite holiday is getting in a car and driving across America. I’ve driven through most of the Eastern states, and a few in the West, but I’ve yet to make it to the Pacific coast.
Other than that, I love going to France. The cheese, the wine, the bread – see, we’re back on food again.
For the last three years we have stayed in the UK, twice going to Wales and once to Cornwall. The trip to Cornwall included a visit to Jamaica Inn, and because of this I recently read Daphne du Maurier’s book. I must say, I was a little disappointed. The writing was good, but I thought the story was a rather predictable.
Do you have another job apart from writing? For how many hours? How do you feel
about the ‘other’ job?
I’m afraid I do still need to hold down a full time job as a finance broker. It’s a means to an end, and pays the bills. One day, it would be nice to be able to write all day, but I’m not there just yet.
How do your family/friends react to you being a writer?
So long as I don’t neglect my wife too much, she seems happy for me to be a little creative. I just have to remember not to get too engrossed. She is also my sounding board and quite a tough critic.
I think my children are proud to see their Dad’s name on Amazon.
The rest of my family and my friends seem to be impressed, but none of them want to buy the Kindle book. ‘Let me know when I can get the paperback, so you can sign it for me.’
Would ou call yourself a social human being? Do you have time for going out and
spending time away from the writing desk?
I’m fine once I get into a social stuation. I’m just lazy about getting myself out there. I’m usually ready for my bed and a good book by 10.30.
Can you describe the place where you write + the view?
At the dining room table. The view is of a marine fish tank at the other end of the room. But if I look out of the window, there will often be ponies, donkeys, cattle or even pigs walking down the middle of the road. They’re lovely to see when you are inside musing. They’re not so welcome when you’re driving, and they just won’t get out of the way.
Is there something you always need to have near you when you work (beverage,
cigarette, mascot, music, quote, etc)?
Only my MP3 player. I tend to listen to jazz or classical when I am writing, but not always. Radiohead and Supertramp are just as likely to be played a bit too loud.
What genre(s) do you write in?
My first book, Have a Nice Weekend, would be classified as Contemporary Fiction.
It’s about a middle aged man whose life has not gone to plan. I’ve just started
writing a follow up. But I have also started another project, which I would imagine fits into the Fantasy genre. It’s loosely based around Creation, but not at all in a religious way.
When was your first book released and how did that make you feel?
Can you tell us some background information on the book? (How did you get the idea, how long did it take you to write and edit it, is it part of a sequel, how does the published book make you feel now?)
I have had the idea for many years, since the first of my several mid-life crises. However, it wasn’t until I had passed through the other side, and felt content with my life that I was able to sit down and write it. It is not an autobiography, as I am still happily married, and I have taken elements of various people to put together the main character, but many who know me say ‘that is so you’. But I won’t tell you which bits.
It took me around eighteen months to write. I don’t really have too much of a routine; I have an idea and try and get that down, and then may not write anything for a couple of weeks. I prefer to let it flow easily rather than sit down and force something onto the screen.
I have started writing the sequel, but I don’t seem to have got very far. I find my time has been taken up with trying to promote the first one.
What are your writing habits? (every day, number of words, etc.?)
When I am feeling creative, I like to get up early, particularly at weekends, before anyone else is up and get at least 500, but more likely 1000 words written. It’s rare that I manage to write more than that in one sitting.
What does Night Publishing mean to you?
The fact that a publisher, even an independent one was happy to publish my book is amazing. Tim Roux works tirelessly for all of his authors, and I am truly grateful. The small hard-core of regular contributors to the various forums and websites are a great bunch and really do support each other. Just having them there makes me feel much happier than if I had gone it alone. It’s just a shame that a few more of the
Night community don’t join in.
Where do you see yourself in 5-years’ time?
Hopefully with at least two more books published. Other than that, I really have no idea.
Final fun question. If you had to choose: are you a Houdini or an Edison? This is for
the official NP tally.
Houdini – I think.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, Ian!
Links to Ian’s book: