All about Joan Ellis

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author, Joan Ellis


Hi Joan, can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I love to laugh. When I was younger I remember giggling with friends until our tummies hurt. Happy days. I enjoy a cake or two and have crossed continents in search of the ultimate brownie. If I’m having one of those days, swimming in the sea works better than Prozac.

Being the only child of a single Mum living in a house with an outside toilet taught me a lot. Just as well, given I found myself in the same position with my own daughter albeit with better plumbing.


Name some of your favorite authors and why?

When I was a teenager, I read everything by Edna O’Brien. Her characters are achingly relatable. Martin Amis, Iain Banks and Ian McEwan conjure up the darker side of human nature. Clive James, Dorothy Parker, Harrison Keillor and Jerome K. Jerome make me smile endlessly.


When did you decide to become an author?

At school, English was the only subject I was any good at - my physics teacher said I was ‘stupid’ and the Latin master dubbed me an ‘ignoramus’ – so my career had to involve writing.

Working as an advertising copywriter in London’s Soho, I soon realised my job was pretty odd. Unlike my friends who had chosen sensible professions, my days often involved a talking dog with me trying to figure out what he would say. (According to Adland, a puppy has the same vocabulary as a toddler, in case you were wondering.) My first book, I AM ELLA. BUY ME. (Mad Men meets Bridget Jones) is based on those toe-curling antics.

I would still be penning chick lit had it not been for the man on the train. The murderer on the train who calmly confessed to having ‘slit someone’s throat.’ Any normal person (I think we’ve established I’m a long way off that) would’ve moved seats. Not me. I was mesmerized by his sordid story. Horrified but hooked, my plan was to keep him calm. It worked too well. He asked me to run away with him. I declined. (Even I’m not that daft.) But it got me thinking, why would a woman want to be with a man like him? I dedicated THE KILLING OF MUMMY’S BOY to him because he gave me a unique insight into the criminal mind without which I would never have written the book. I gave the characters free rein, allowing them to come up with some exciting twist and turns. People are never what they seem. We all present a face to the world but I think it’s more interesting when the mask slips. My second thriller, GUILT, is inspired by a real life tragedy. A young girl is left alone with her younger brother and he dies in her care. When the guilt threatens to destroy her life, she must discover who is to blame.


Any hobbies?

Strolling along the beach and kidding myself I’ve worked off that extra slice of cake.



What inspired you to become an author?

My Mum. When I started school, I couldn’t spell for toffee and my tests always came back with big red crosses all over them. Judging by my teacher’s furious expression, they weren’t kisses! It was Mum, not school, who taught me to spell and write essays. Much to my amazement, not to mention my teacher’s, I was soon getting top marks for my stories and having them read aloud in class. Recently, I was performing at a literary festival. Mum was in the audience and I dedicated my latest book, ‘THE THINGS YOU MISSED WHILE YOU WERE AWAY’ to her. It was a special moment. Then a stray cat wandered on stage and stole the show.



Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?


Every book begins with just one word. And ends with over 70,000.   

There will be days when cleaning the oven seems more enticing than sitting at the keyboard. Don’t get distracted. Your characters need you to tell their story. Start now.


It was a pleasure interviewing you Joan, thank you so much.

A little more about Joan

Award-winning advertising copywriter, comedy writer, performer, lecturer – Joan Ellis has been them all. With a full-time job in a top London advertising agency and a new baby, she did what any right-minded woman would’ve done and set up a comedy club. She even appeared on the same bill as Jo Brand. Once.

A career highlight was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey-Cat- Bogart for her award-winning cat food commercial. Other great performers who brought her words to life include Penelope Keith and Harry Enfield.

As a lecturer, Joan taught comedian Noel Fielding all he knows about advertising before encouraging him to showcase his creative talents on a wider stage.

Working for The Press Association, she tutored Wordsworth’s

great-grandson in the art of copywriting: Buy a host of golden daffodils and get a blue one, free!

Joan is the author of four books in very different genres: I AM ELLA. BUY ME, a girl in a man’s world battling her lascivious boss on her way to top of London’s Adland in the 80s. THE KILLING OF MUMMY’S BOY, psychological thriller inspired by Joan’s meeting with a murderer. GUILT, a chiller about a girl left alone with her younger brother when he dies. THE THINGS YOU MISSED WHILE YOU WERE AWAY, a funny yet poignant memoir about Joan’s childhood in the 60s and her daughter, Sophie’s in the 90s. Luckily, Sophie has grown into a well-adjusted, smart woman, despite sharing Joan’s uneasy gene-pool.

Suffering from swine flu and sweating like a pig, Joan moved from London to the Isle of Wight.

I have had the pleasure of reading Joan’s books you can find the links and reviews below:

‘I slit someone’s throat’

When a book starts with that line, you know you’re in for a hell of a thriller. Add a train, a woman and the hot confession of a murder and you’re instantly engaged—well I was anyways.

The story was intense at times and my mind was swirling with each scene as the plot thickened. The last few chapters were so crazy, I found myself lost in the book, in its world, until the last pages.

My rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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I was at first confused at where the story was going. Not sure if it was being told in first or third person. But I believe that was the clever touch of the pen by the author.

The story is told through the eyes of Susan. At the age of seven, her irresponsible mother leaves her alone with her four year old brother, which chooses to be a tragic mistake, after her brother finds his mothers tablets and takes them, subsequently ending his life.

As an adult, Susan finds it difficult to bond with her own child, so she begins to write a very long letter to her dead brother about everything that had happened in her life, since his passion.

This novel was so unbelievably gripping, I read from beginning to end in one sitting. This is the second novel, I have read by this author and I must say it definitely won’t be the last.

My rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

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I am a proud mother of three daughters who are my absolute complete existence. I write to relieve the scattered thoughts that stream through my mind, constantly. My biggest downfall is that I am a huge procrastinator, which makes my life at times hectic! 

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Perfect Match
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Arsen: A Broken Love Story
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