I’m delighted today to be sharing a Q&A with Ellie Marney, author of the Every series. I absolutely adore the characters she’s created, the plot twists and turns she makes them endure and the delightful Sherlock Holmes spin she has taken. I hope you enjoy reading Ellie’s answers as much as I did.
Q&A with Ellie Marney
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Hi Kate, it’s my pleasure! Thanks so much for inviting me!
Every Word starts with Rachel in a fast paced game of roller derby. Do you have a roller derby name? If not – what would yours be?
Great question! I don’t train roller derby, so I don’t have a derby name, but I’d certainly love one! My favourite competitor goes by the name ‘Speedy Wasabi’. Hm, I guess it would have to be sort of crime-and-literature related… How about Ellie ‘Body Electric’ Marney?
I loved the way you described London in this book. Have you been to the Sherlock Holmes museum or other locations Rachel visits on her trip?
Yes, when I visited London to do research for the book I went to all the places Rachel visits, including the Westminster Mortuary, where I was given a chance to examine the Forensic suite, and the locations of the car accident in High Wycombe and the warehouse in Brentford.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street is utterly fascinating – many of the original notes I made while visiting the place made it into the novel, like the detail about the book of letters to Holmes from all over the world, and the man who wrote to Holmes asking for help finding his wife. You get a very weird feeling there, like you’re in an actual person’s house, as though Sherlock was a real person and not a fictional character. And the waxworks really are creepy, it kind of put me off visiting Madame Tussaud’s actually…
Every Word has everything I loved about Every Breath and more. Was it easier or harder to write the second instalment of Rachel and Mycroft’s story compared to the first book?
Easier, most definitely easier – I was already scribbling away, drafting Every Word before I even had permission from my publisher for a sequel! It was like the story wanted to get out. I’m glad they gave me the go ahead to publish! Sometimes stories work like that – they start evolving in your head and kind of demand to be written down. I try to follow my instincts then and just start writing, because if you’re finding it hard to stop thinking about, chances are that readers will find it pretty compelling too!
Are there any similarities between you and Rachel? What about you and Mycroft?
Ah, this is funny, because a friend recently told me she thought I was just like Rachel! I was at pains to point out that Rachel is a sixteen-year old high school girl living in North Coburg, and I’m a forty-three-year old mother of four living in the bush! But we do share a lot of similar traits – Rachel’s quite a practical person, and so am I; she’s incredibly stubborn, and (people tell me) I am too! She’s also not really into fancy clothes or primping, and yeah, I kind of live in jeans.
Mycroft and I share a love of strong tea with condensed milk, eclectic taste in music (my favourite band is The Black Keys too), and an off-beat sense of humour. Plus an interest in all things forensic, of course 🙂
The Every series contains murder mysteries and crime – is this a genre you have always been interested in? Do you remember any particular books or authors which had a particular impact on you?
I’ve always read crime, on and off, since I was a teenager. I read all the Conan Doyle stories about Sherlock Holmes way back then, so I was already in love with Sherlock. And I read Agatha Christie pretty obsessively too. I love watching crime shows on TV – including, yes, Sherlock and Elementary. I’ve recently fallen in love with Hannibal on DVD, which is incredible, and also incredibly freaky and disturbing.
Now if I want to read crime I usually reach for a Peter Temple book, or a Honey Brown book – they’re both awesome adult crime authors. Barry Lyga is a great YA author doing some cool things with his Jasper Dent series (start with I Hunt Killers), but be warned, there’s plenty of gore…
My favourite crime book of all time is The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (so you can see what drew me to Hannibal). I love that book to death – in fact, I read it at least once a year. If I had one writing dream, it would be to create a book as good as that.
What sorts of things do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
Oh, so many things, but I generally don’t get time for them all! I read, of course, which is a fairly non-stop activity. I feel weird when I don’t have a book on the go. I have a love-hate relationship with TV: I find it really hard to watch TV when I’m writing, as I get too caught up in the characters mentally, so I usually have to avoid attaching myself to TV shows in order to concentrate. I’m doing research for a new murder mystery at the moment, and I’m trying to get through the first two seasons of Hannibal while I can, before the writing part starts and I have to gi ve it up!
I also like to garden, and cycle around, but those activities have been put on the back burner lately *sigh*. I need to get better at having a writing work/life balance, I guess. And (ahem) I do spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter…
If you could pick three books to take with you on a deserted island which books would they be?
Well, The Silence of the Lambs, that would be number one. And probably the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (all the plays and poems – is that cheating if I take a collection?). And…oh, only three is so hard… Okay, I’d probably take White Cat by Holly Black, which is amazing, and I’d need at least one YA book.
What book/s are you currently reading?
I confess I let the Divergent series pass me by when it first came on the scene, but I’m burning through it at the moment. I just finished Insurgent, and if my boys will read a little faster, I’ll be able to get my hands on Allegiant…
But I usually have a couple of books on the go at the same time, so I’m also halfway through an older adult crime novel called The Bone Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver, as well as Steal My Sunshine by Emily Gale – Every Breath was nominated for a Gold Inky earlier this year, so I’m working my way through all the other books on the longlist!
The final book in the Every trilogy comes out next year! Can you tell us a little of what to expect from Every Move?
Yes, that’s pretty exciting! I’ve laboured long and hard over Every Move – where Every Word was easy to write, Every Move has been sooo hard!! I think it was just really hard to imagine wrapping up the character’s stories…
In the final book, we go back to Rachel’s past life for a thrill-ride finish, so all the loose threads in Every Word will be tied up. I don’t want to give too much away…but there’ll be family tragedy, and Mycroft’s evil nemesis, and touches of Sherlock Holmes’s ‘Final Problem’ pulled into the mix. And Rachel and Mycroft might finally get a bit of time alone, which I think they deserve by this stage, so expect some steam on the windows, in a manner of speaking!
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your fans?
Well yes, I’d love to say Thank You! Really, if it wasn’t for folks picking up the books and falling in love with them, this series would never have taken off, and I’m absurdly grateful for that. It gives me such a buzz, when people write or Tweet or message me saying they’ve enjoyed the books. I’m just as in love with the characters as they are, so it thrills me that they’ve brought the characters to life.
Because that’s what readers do – they bring the plain typewritten words to vivid life inside their own heads. Stephen King once said that it’s a peculiar type of telepathy: the words you use to create something on the page take on life and breath and three dimensions within other people’s minds. Don’t you think that’s incredible? I think that’s incredible. I’m amazed and awed that so many readers out there are able to share this incredible psychic power with me!
Thanks again, I love getting to read about Mycroft and Rachel’s adventure and can’t wait to see what happens next for the pair!
Thanks for having me to visit, Kate! I hope you enjoyed Every Word, and thank you for the great questions. See you round!
I love that Ellie “Body Electric” Marney is such a big Sherlock Homes fan – it shows in her books and just makes me like her all that much more. And as another Silence of the Lambs fan, I can definitely agree that those books are amazing. Scary as but amazing. I’m also now tempted to try my next cup of tea with a little condensed milk!
Hope you all enjoyed the Ellie’s answers as much as I did 🙂
Every Word on 1st June 2014
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.
Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.
The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?
Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.