The Reading Guru is hosting a guest post today by Joan Ellis, author of chick lit / humor / romance “I Am Ella. Buy Me.” We hope you enjoy the guest post.
Are authors their characters in disguise? By Joan Ellis
Someone who has read both my novels, ‘I am Ella. Buy me,’ and ‘The Killing of Mummy’s Boy’ suggested I was giving a lot of myself away as an author.
He was under the impression that in order to write from the viewpoint of my two main characters, Ella, often sassy, sometimes sad with a penchant for almond croissants and Sandra, insecure, fearful and drawn to the dark side, I had to be an uneasy hybrid of them both.
His theory would have made Bram Stoker a vampire and Agatha Christie a serial killer.
For me, writing is more like acting. As an author, I need to get under the skin of each character and take up residence in their head to discover what makes them tick.
That’s when the magic happens. It’s not my fingers flying over the keyboard; it’s theirs. They’re coming up with sharp one-liners, jokes I could never dream of. They’re doing dreadful deeds, the stuff of nightmares. They know things I could never begin to understand.
I let them take over, allowing them to shape the bare bones of the story into a cast of fully fleshed-out characters. Just like real people, they’re often not what they seem. Is the cold-bloodied killer really a warm-hearted good guy? Could the elderly night-watchman be smarter than the sharp-suited admen he works for? And the handsome young singer is he really God’s gift or the devil-in-disguise? I wait in the wings for them to reveal their true selves. Sooner or later they do or say something that gives them away.
Writing my novels, I have become a killer, a male chauvinist and a little girl with a secret no one should have to keep.
Without this cast of characters, each one with their own voice demanding to be heard, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Or end.
About The Book
Author: Joan Ellis
Genre: Humor / Chick lit / Romance
I AM ELLA. BUY ME
‘I am a ginger tom. I am a boy racer. I am a housewife. I am a pain in the arse.’
Ella David is Bridget Jones meets Peggy from Mad Men.
Working in Soho’s mad, bad Adland in the sexist 80s, Ella is a rare beast – a woman in a man’s world, dodging her sleazy boss, Peter.
Based on Joan’s experiences in Soho’s mad, bad Adland, this fast-paced, funny tale is set against a backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain when money trumps morals
and lust is a must. Thankfully, Ella knows love is more powerful but can two unlikely friendships help her go from a girl in the firing line to a woman calling the shots?
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 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 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!
She was a lecturer in PR and Advertising at Bournemouth University.
She penned a regular column about her daughter for parenting glossy, Junior. Sophie is now eighteen and refuses to read a word her mother writes.
Suffering from swine flu and sweating like a pig, she moved from London to her beloved Isle of Wight where she writes and eats cream teas with her long-suffering husband, daughter and cat.
She recently launched her books at The Ventnor Fringe and the Isle of Wight Literary Festival.