Ella grew up in a world where ‘fairies’ left gifts at the bottom of Grandma’s garden, and white feathers in strange places were gifts from visiting angels. She still believes in magic, and writes stories that she describes as ‘stories filled with life, hope, healing and love – and a sprinkle of fairy dust’. Her stories are often described as ‘delivering all the feels’ and ‘tugging at every heart string.’ Over to Ella …
Why do I write?
For me, it’s a bit of a complicated answer: of course I write because I love it, and because I have (what I hope are) wonderful stories that I want to share with the world. But it’s also because it’s a way to express myself. But it’s also a way for me, and my readers, to explore situations that could otherwise be too much to bear – like the death of a loved one, or a child fighting cancer – in a safe way, where there’s no risk of harm, and a guaranteed happy ending.
For me, writing Beyond Grey was something positive that me – and my Mum – could focus on while she was being treated for cancer. I wrote a few pages a week, and would give them to her when she had to go in for chemotherapy. And when she felt well enough, we’d take our dog on long walks through the huge parks near us, often watching the sun go down as we talked about Beyond Grey’s characters as if they were old family friends.
Often, I took Mum to the hospital for her treatments. She’d read my latest pages, and we’d laugh and giggle – usually involving the rest of the ward and some of the staff – until the meds kicked in and she fell asleep. The anti-histamines that are given alongside chemo really knocked her out. So after making drinks for whoever wanted them, I’d open up my laptop or notepad and start to write.
Where I Write
That’s the thing about me… I can happily write anywhere. Whether it’s at the side of a bed in a busy hospital treatment room, or the bath tub while trying desperately not to drop the notepad, the story soon pulls me in and lets the real world fade away for a bit. And that’s something I hope my readers get to experience too: that sense of escapism.
My hubby and Dad worked together to build me a beautiful little desk in my conservatory that looks like an impressionist painting – and it’s just getting warm enough so I can sit out there and write, while watching the birds swoop down to feed. And soon, it will be warm enough for me to write in the garden. But I also love to write sitting on the sofa with my feet tucked under my husband’s legs in the evening – so much so that he bought me a lap desk for Christmas!
It’s the question all writers get asked sometimes: Where did you get the idea to write that story? In this case, it was personal experience: our family have experienced more than a few ‘white feather’ moments over the years. We have had keys go missing, only to turn up in places that we’d all looked in just minutes before, and clouds of white feathers that floated from a clear blue sky.
It’s become a standing joke in our family that when things go missing, we apologise to whichever family member who has gone on before us – usually for swearing – and ask for their help. It’s amazing how often things have been found almost immediately!
It’s incredibly sad that I lost some important people early in my life, but I’ve always felt that they were still around me – and that love really can be stronger than death.
About Ella Cook
Ella grew up in London, before escaping to a more rural (and she thinks relaxed) lifestyle in Warwickshire, where she shares her home with her husband and a small parrot who regularly likes to try and steal her keys as she types. When she’s not living in her fantasy world, she develops programmes and writes bids to help children and young people.
She loves to bake (probably too much for her own good), and despite frequent attempts to give them away, her collection of books has outgrown three bookshelves, and is rapidly filling up a fourth!
Social media and website links
She has a website, but not a landing page yet. But here’s the TinyURL https://tinyurl.com/yth4udm8
About Beyond Grey
What if you became an outsider in your own life?
Jennifer Hughes doesn’t have an extraordinary life, but that doesn’t matter – she loves her family and enjoys her job as a teacher. In her eyes, her unextraordinary life is utterly perfect.
But then, in the blink of an eye, Jennifer finds herself cut off from everything she knew and loved, confined to a strange new world and forced to watch from a distance as her family and friends pick up the pieces.
Can Jennifer hold her perfect life together, even though she’s not living it herself?
PRAISE FOR BEYOND GREY This was a really touching and emotional read that explores the possibility of a loved one watching over you after they’ve passed … A really striking story that will bring a tear to your eye and a warm glow to your heart! Karen Mace, Books and Me, Blogger and Book Reviewer
A heartbreaking book of loss that gives a glimmer of hope … A beautifully written, emotional roller coaster of a read … You definitely need tissues to hand: the daffodils being the bridge between Jenn’s existence and David is especially poignant. Jo Osborne, Reader and Book Reviewer
A lovely bitter-sweet story as you follow the roller coaster of emotions from all of the family as they try to come to terms with their loss and move on. It works well being told in alternating chapters by the different family members and Jenn so you get to know all their points of view and stories … definitely a tearjerker! Sally Coles, Reader and Book Reviewer
Book buying links :
The paperback of Beyond Grey will be available in good book stores from 25th January 2022, and from online retailers: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56059152-beyond-grey
Thank you for joining me again, Ella. Mx If you would like to read Ella’s previous post – What I love about my garden – you can find it here.
Next week Joanne Boden tells us about the book that changed her life.