Today I am talking with Ellie Campbell. Not really though. Ellie Campbell is the pen name of two sisters who have written several books together, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. They here today to talk about their latest book, Meddling With Murder. You can read our review and enter the giveaway for 1 of 3 e-copies of the book by clicking on the link.
About The Authors:
Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. Running wild as tomboys in Scotland, playing imagination games, they couldn’t dream that one day they’d co-author novels despite an ocean between them. From boring clerical jobs in London to a varied life of backpacking and adventure travel, both started almost accidentally as short story writers, Lorraine when working in publishing, Pam as a fun hobby while an at-home mother of three.
By the time each had 70 short stories published internationally, Pam was settled in Surrey, England, and Lorraine had finally taken root in Boulder, Colorado. Long telephone chats about life and fiction led to their current collaboration. They have produced five acclaimed novels – How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La, To Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question. They write contemporary women’s fiction laced with humour, romance, and mystery.
When not hunched over computers, Lorraine, a certified ROTH ‘horse whisperer’, can usually be found messing about with her four rescue horses and Pam on a fund raising bike ride, madly cycling over mountains to Paris, Barcelona or Gibraltar on the back of her husband’s bone-shaking tandem.
To start with can you tell us a little about yourself and the project we are seeing today?
We are sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, who write together under the pseudonym Ellie Campbell. Meddling With Murder is our sixth novel and the third in our Crouch End Confidential series which started with our comic mystery novel Looking For La La. We hadn’t intended it to be a series but we so enjoyed our protagonist, Cathy, a crazy harassed housewife and mother, we couldn’t let her go. In this novel she’s a wanna-be sleuth who’s just started operating her own confidential investigation agency in North London with her ex-cleaner Pimple. Things aren’t going so well, funds are low and the most exciting part of her day is chasing a lost cat up a tree. But things change suddenly as a new client hires her to find out why her teenage son is hiding a gun in his bedroom, a school kid asks her to find his stolen bicycle and Cathy’s best friend hires her to discover why her fiancé is acting so weirdly. Meanwhile there are acts of vandalism involving other girlfriends’ soon-to-open bike shop and her husband Declan is pushing to move the whole family to rural Norfolk, a devastating prospect. Somehow Cathy muddles her way through all these entangled messes only to end up confronting a killer.
Lian- That sounds like a super basis for a story. Welcome to I Read What You Write!
What is the first book that you remember reading?
Pam: I read a lot of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels, too many to mention. But the first book I remember really falling in love with was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. She died shortly after writing it. Apparently she didn’t write it for children, she wrote it to highlight the ill-treatment of horses. What a lady! Still brings a tear to my eye at the thought of Black Beauty’s poor friend Ginger.
Lorraine: Again I think it was Enid Blyton who was an amazingly prolific, hugely successful children’s book author in England. She definitely inspired my love for reading – her characters became friends and you followed them through all kinds of adventures. She was kind of looked down on by the literary establishment for a while but her books sold over 600 million copies worldwide.
-I looked Enid Blyton up. Her books sound amazingly fun and she wrote so many of them!! Black Beauty has been a first book in another interview here. My parents loved it.
Name three fun facts about you or your work.
Pam grows most of her own vegetables in her allotment. It is in a fabulous location right next to a lake and a park. She loves nothing more than escaping housework and family, calling up her friend who she shares it with and sitting at their picnic table putting the world to rights.
Lorraine once worked as a charter cook on a boat in Belize, sailing around the Caribbean. Not a bad job considering she is a hopeless cook. It ended two years later when she got into an argument with her drunken skipper and jumped overboard in Islas Mujeres, Mexico.
Both Pam and Lorraine got tossed in the air by cows. Pam in some small village in India and Lorraine on the Isle of Skye, the highlands of Scotland.
-Actually “fun” facts! We can’t grow veggies where we are, but I would love a chance to be a part of a community garden program. We did something like that in school where all the classes in our grade took turns working in the garden and we got to share the harvest.
Apart from writing and reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
Pam: Apart from writing? Do I have time for anything else? Well, travel is big in my life. Not necessarily a holiday – in June I’m providing support for a group of charity challengers who are cycling 230 miles in 24 hours from just outside London to Paris. I’ll be getting up at 3 a.m., driving at speed to some remote location and cooking bacon and eggs for everyone at 5 a.m. Then in July I’m “Riding the Alps” which involves puffing away on the back of a tandem bicycle in front of another group of fearless cyclists on a five-day 424-mile journey involving 45,000 feet of climbing and numerous hairpin bends. In August, it’s off to Finland and then Russia – this time by train, thank Goodness.
-You are a very busy person. Bike riding like that would be loads of fun.
Lorraine: Horses. I am a certified trainer with Reach Out To Horses following the methods of horse whisperer, Anna Twinney. Only somehow that translates into bringing home untouched terrified horses and giving them a new permanent home as you win their trust. So now I own four horses, all of which were rescued from slaughter yards. I love travel too. I’ve just booked myself onto a 17 day horse trek in Mongolia. My other hobby is oil painting which I hope to get back to one these days.
-I love horses, but I don’t get to ride much. It must feel great to rescue horses though.
How do you define success as an author?
We think you can count yourself a success if at the end of the day, you’ve written something you’re happy with and seen it through to the end. And feel you’ve managed to do what you set out to do. Of course we all go through ups and downs and nothing is as perfect on page as it is in your head. You love what you just wrote, you look at it a second time and you hate it, you’re exhilarated, then you’re in despair. Then you re-read the thing in a year’s time and are amazed those words came from you. Of course there are bestseller lists and literary awards, yes, and those would be nice too.
-This is my favorite question. I love the answers it gets.
If you could be friends with a character in one of your stories who would it be and what kinds of things would you do together?
If she were real, it’s very likely we would be besties with Cathy O’Farrell in Meddling With Murder. She’s funny, gossipy and loves her female friends. As to what we’d do, well, we’d join her WOW group, the Wednesday Once Weeklys, and sit around Tropicos, eating and drinking too much, sharing a big appetizer platter, telling stories, spilling secrets, helping with each other’s problems and – who knows – perhaps getting really blasted and belting out karaoke.
-Sounds like an adventure.
Many big Thank You’s to Pam and Lorraine. I think this is the first time we got answers from both members of a writing team. You can find Ellie Campbell books on Amazon.