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An interview with Joan Ellis

Last year you were here reading extracts from your book, I AM ELLA.BUY ME. you’ve done a lot since then. Do you want to tell us a bit more?

Yes I’ve written 3 more [books], two of which were psychological thrillers. I was quite happy writing chick-lit which is what ‘I AM ELLA. BUY ME’. is and then I met a murderer on a train from Waterloo to Portsmouth.

A murderer?

Yes, a murderer.

Legitimately, you’re telling the truth?

Well, yes. He told me that’s what he’d done and I had no reason to disbelieve him.

He scared the living daylights out of me and people said well why didn’t you get up and move seats and I thought well, I was quite scared of him and I didn’t want to antagonise him.

So I just thought I’d stay calm and keep him calm and pray, and having survived the 90 minutes he asked me to run away with him at the end of the journey.

Obviously I passed on that kind offer.

But I thought I need to write a book about this.

So that is the opening chapter to The Killing of Mummy’s Boy.

What kind of things was he saying to you?

He was telling me a lot of things that only he could have known having been in prison having done what he’d done and having then led the type of life that he had outside.

Is that not something you’d report to the police?

He’d served his time and was out on some kind of licence.

He could have been just fantasising but I wasn’t about to argue with him, he had a great big rucksack.

So in a way you did run away with him…

Yes perhaps I did.

You’ve also written two others. You’ve got GUILT and THE THINGS YOU MISSED WHILE YOU WERE AWAY which is quite convenient for this interview…


Having written THE KILLING OF MUMMY’S BOY, which is set mainly here on the Island, I enjoyed writing the twists and turns that a psychological thriller needs and coming up with an ending that nobody could guess.

I wrote GUILT which is based on a true life tragic event and it’s about a little girl who’s left alone with her younger brother and he dies in her care. She has to discover the truth about what did happen and find out the truth about herself, her parents, and what really happened that afternoon.

It sounds like a very unhappy book but it’s got a really uplifting ending.

Then I wrote THE THINGS YOU MISSED WHILE YOU WERE AWAY which is based on a column I used to write about my little girl when she was so small she couldn’t stop me writing stuff about her. I was a single parent to my daughter, my mum was a single parent to me but it’s basically saying that everything is going to be fine, you don’t have to be a part of a traditional, nuclear, 2.4 children and a dog family to be happy because love, as you know, comes from lots of unexpected places to fill our hearts.”

If you want to hear the rest of this interview go to

Joan will be giving a reading from four of her books, looking at the female characters and their natural development in each story tonight @ 7.30pm in The Scout Hut.