I spent seven years writing my first saga which was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1995 when I was 45. I had had twenty books published but this was to be the breakthrough, the book that would make me rich and famous.
I wrote three more books for them and was then dropped. They picked me back up and I wrote two more and then they dropped me again. The interesting thing is that after all this time I’m writing for them for the third time because my immediate publisher, Quercus, is owned by Hodder. Life is very strange.
I wrote fourteen sagas for Severn House, a hardback publisher, at the rate of two a year. I needed the money, I was a single parent. I was also published by the lovely big print and audio publisher, Magna. These two kept me going for twelve years.
As the internet opened up so the need for hardbacks in libraries diminished and it came to the point that I thought I would never be published again unless I did it myself. So I did what you do when the chips are down. I wrote Miss Appleby’s Academy. In the end three publishers were fighting over it and it sold 80,000 copies on kindle.
I’m finally a success story at the age of 65. It only took 35 years of hard graft to get here. It’s been a bumpy ride but I love writing
After Miss Appleby there was The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton and then Doctor of the High Fells. The next new book is coming out in hardback in the summer then paperback and kindle. I can’t believe my luck. It’s called Nobody’s Child. It is my forty fourth book.
Now that my cup is full and running over Quercus are publishing the twelve backlist books which I wrote for Severn House. Nothing is ever lost in this game, somehow. They have put beautiful covers on them and the first four books will be published on March 3rd. If you are enthusiastic you can pre order them.
Dreambreakers is set in 1970 when football first became glamorous and is about a boy and his dream of becoming a professional and the girl who loves him and wants nothing more than to have a little terraced house, away from her parents and marry him and have a child. Doesn’t seem that much to want, does it? But it all goes wrong of course, which is what makes a book.
The Foxglove Tree is set at the end of the Great War and is about what war does to people and how hard it is for men to come home and try to take back their lives. It’s set in Durham City, my hometown. It’s also about the law. Allan Jamieson, a barrister, who is married, has an affair with the woman he is defending when she is alleged to have killed her husband.
I love writing about great big topics like religion and sport and how things change and don’t change. I also love food and wine. There are lots of meals in my books! People spend half their time eating.
Silver Street is one of a trilogy. I set it around the life of my aunt, Janet Gill. I only remember her as the horrible person who shouted and screamed and hated other people’s happiness. She was a nurse during the second world war who fell in love with a married man.
She returned to the village where we lived and nursed her parents until they died. She must have been so lonely and frustrated. She never married or had children and she adored my father and got in my mother’s way so badly. I’ve given her a much needed life to come back to. That’s the joy of writing, you can do pretty much what you like.
Paradise Lane is the fourth book to come out on March 3rd. This is one of my favourites. It’s the first of a trilogy. Severn House wanted me to write about the city I live in. You always write with more passion about the places you love. It’s set around a newspaper office. The bloke in it, Ned, is gorgeous of course, difficult and awkward and the girl is Annabelle, posh and from London. She comes here to find the mother she has never met and they spend a lot of time searching. Some of my books are quests. I love the puzzle. I paint myself into the corner and then try to get out. There is always a way.
I remember reading that Catherine Cookson lay in bed when she was dying and wrote even then. That’s the way I want to go.
EDITOR: Read about Elizabeth Gill books on Amazon
Elizabeth also has a very interesting blog page.