Ellie Campbell

Ellie Campbell is the pen name of sisters and collaborators, Lorraine Campbell and Pam Burks. One is based in the UK, the other the USA, they write together via e-mail and phone. Their latest book, Looking for LaLa was published in March 2013….

Can you tell us about your book, Looking For LaLa.

Looking for La La is the funny, crazy story of Cathy, a bored, unappreciated housewife and mother of two. Her world of school runs, ferrying children here and there, and the occasional nights out with friends is radically transformed by the arrival of a love postcard to her husband. What follows next takes Cathy on a wild ride of suspicion, temptations, marital breakdown and some very dangerous territory. It’s a comedy but with situations that many women can identify with and, be warned, it does have its dark murder mystery side.

 

What’s it like writing as a partnership? Does it bring its own challenges?

It can be great, exciting and we can laugh and play with ideas. Disadvantages, I suppose, are the occasional frustrations waiting for each other for approval of scenes or directions that we may want to go down, compromises that we never have to make when on our own individual projects. But at the same time, going to bed not knowing how to move things forward and then finding the other has found a solution or come up with a fantastic angle, is tremendous.

 

Do you get writers block? How do you combat it?

Lorraine: Sometimes I’ll force myself to sit down and write any old rubbish and hope that will unblock me or there’ll be a useable sentence or a nugget of an idea in all the dross. Sometimes I’ll go and do other things like clean the horse corrals – that’s good to get the brain cells working. Or sometimes Pam will send me suggestions of how the scene should go. Then I’ll be inspired to see it a whole different way and we’ll argue it from there.

Pam: If I have a really bad morning creatively, then I might do some marketing or reading, or take a bath, walk the dog. If it’s the afternoon, I pass over the gauntlet to Lorraine, get a good night’s sleep and see what the fairies have bought in the morning, in the form of inspired dreams or emails from my sister.

 

Do you write in silence or prefer noise?

Pam: Silence. I wish I could work to music or even talk radio, but I get so easily distracted. Music really affects my moods, and trying to write comedy listening to Leonard Cohen or a sad scene with Olly Murrs belting out a happy tune in the background, just doesn’t work for me.

Lorraine: I used to do my homework with the radio on but mostly I write in silence. Although sometimes I might sit down with a notebook and the radio on and scribble a chapter by hand to loosen me up.

 

CreateSpace, March 2013

CreateSpace, March 2013

Guilty TV/Music Pleasures?

Pam – Those pull-your-heartstring shows where people’s fathers, mothers or siblings they didn’t know about are hiding behind the curtain. More recently Long Lost Families. Separated families are finally brought back together again. It’s such a format, but endlessly fascinating and I cry endless times each episode. My kids always know when I’ve been watching it, as I’m all puffy-faced surrounded by tissues.

Lorraine – I’ve been known to dance around the living room to Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell or to jump up and down on a mini-trampoline belting out karaoke tunes – not quite sure if that counts as therapy or a brilliant new exercise program. But then I’m beyond feeling guilty about stuff like that – I’ve never been cool enough to worry if people sneer at my actions and I feel it’s a bit late for me now.

 

What magical power would you like to have?

Pam: Wave a wand and my meal is bought, cooked and steaming on the table. I love food and eating and making nice meals, but with writing, I never seem to have the time these days and always burn everything.

Lorraine: Time travel would be nice. I’d love to go back into history and see how things were then – without necessarily getting stuck in the middle ages. Or even back into my own life, give myself some advice and probably cause a space time paradox that would blow up the universe and destroy life as we know it.

 

Who would be your ideal dinner guests?

Pam: Well I feel like I should be saying somebody hugely respected or political like Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa, but truthfully it would probably be more like Ricky Gervais or Joan Rivers, someone wildly indiscreet but would make just make me laugh and enjoy the evening.

Lorraine: Since I’m deep in a horse training clinic I’d have to say anyone who’s prepared to do the cooking.

 

Are you working on anything at the moment?

We’re finishing the final edits for our fourth novel. It’s written from the character point of view of two women who unbeknown to them are about to be taken on an unexpected journeys. It’s been a blast writing it and we have high hopes that this one will be fabulously successful.

 

Five tips for new writers?

1) Don’t aim for perfection but aim to be the best you possibly can.

2) Be a keen observer of life. Study authors you admire, not to copy, but to see how they handle characters, drama, storylines.

3) Revise. You owe it to yourself to revise, revise and revise again, knowing that even so when your novel is out in print or on Kindle, you’re still going to see things you wish you could change.

4) Don’t tell your ideas to friends – they’ll kill them or you’ll be bored before you get the words on paper.

5) If you love writing, don’t let anyone discourage or distract you. It’s your dream follow it. But, equally, realize… just because you love writing doesn’t mean the world is dying to read what you’ve written. In the end it’s not about monetary gains because there very likely won’t be any – it’s about expressing yourself and enjoying your creativity. And if it’s not… aren’t there a million other things you could better be doing with your time?

For more information, visit Ellie’s website.

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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