Monday, 1 December 2014

Chatting with Elaine Everest

I am thrilled to welcome Elaine Everest today as my first guest. She has had a particularly busy couple of years – not that she was idle prior to that. I had several questions for her:

You haven’t always been a fiction writer. What did you do before and how did you make the transition?

My first sales were with short stories although I was also writing content for our breed club magazine. As the editor of a twice yearly publication that was posted around the world, I had to source articles about Old English Sheepdogs and their owners. Writers who have experienced this kind of work know that sometimes it is easier to write it yourself! Working on articles gave me the confidence to start to pitch ideas to magazines and newspapers and gradually my main income came from journalism with short fiction an added extra. In my spare time I worked on ideas for novels. Romcom, crime, historicals, I’ve tried them all!

In the Spring of 2013 you graduated from the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) with your delightful book, Gracie’s War. What came next?

I was thrilled to be accepted onto the New Writers’ Scheme although by that time I had three non-fiction books published.  Graduation and being part of the Joan Hessayon award was an added bonus. I met my agent, Caroline Sheldon, after we discussed saga writing when she was a guest on the RNA blog. She read Gracie’s War and asked if I was seeking representation. Of course I was!

So now you have an agent. How did things progress from there?

Since the early part of 2014 I’ve been working on another historical saga. This is set in WW2 in Kent. The research into the area at that time and getting to know my new characters and their families has been absorbing. At the end of September Caroline sent out the first part of the novel and only a couple of weeks later the lovely people at Pan Macmillan showed interest.

Many congratulations on securing a contract with Pan-Macmillan. Is there a map laid out for your future?

Thank you. My future will consist of a lot more writing! My first book is expected to be published at the end of 2015 with the second the following year. The books should be on sale in supermarkets which I find exciting as I often stop to look at the paperbacks written by my friends and wonder if mine will ever sit alongside them. I will be meeting my editor at Pan Macmillan soon and look forward to planning my future along with Caroline’s guidance. I’m still pinching myself!

What do you enjoy most about writing novels?
I enjoy recreating settings for my novels that come from an area I know well and where my family has lived for centuries. I like to create a believable life for my characters that take them through an interesting period in the history of England. All the settings in my stories were once real places and that takes a little more research. The area where Gracie, and Sarah from my next book lived with her nan, were once vibrant areas of Kent. Many living there now would not know of the past as the village and town have been absorbed into the Greater London area. Back in the time of WW2 the area was so different and it is this that I like to recreate in my writing.

How do relax when not working?
Dogs! Since 1972 I’ve owned, exhibited, judged and bred dogs. Apart from one crossbreed I’ve had Old English Sheepdogs and Polish Lowland Sheepdogs in my life. 99% of the time they have been pets but the other one percent has seen us at large and small shows around the country competing with the Paddipaws gang. At present we have just the one dog, Henry. Henry was imported from France and is a chocolate coloured Polish Lowland Sheepdog, the very first one of his breeding in this country. He has done well in the show ring and 2015 sees us stepping up the number of shows we attend as he heads towards competing to be a champion – fingers crossed. Saying that he is a joy to live with regardless of how he does in the ring. He will also be used at stud in the next year so there are lots of little Henry’s on the horizon which is making me broody for another puppy…
The dog world has also been important to my writing as I’ve written three non- fiction books for dog owners as well as making a living a journalist specialising in the canine world which has led to broadcasting on radio and my books appearing on television.

If you were a guest on Desert Island Discs what would be your chosen book?
Goodness that is a hard question! Could I take my Kindle? No? Hmm… In that case I’ll take the latest Ben Elton novel, Time and Time Again. I became a fan of Ben’s writing after reading his novel set in WW1 The First Casualty was so beautifully written and he did not stint on the horrors of what the soldiers endured whilst fighting for their country. In Time and Time Again he revisits WW1 but with a twist as it’s a time slip novel.

Elaine has sold over sixty short stories as well as many articles for national newspapers and magazines. She specialised in writing about the canine world (with three non-fiction dog books) but will write about anything if paid enough! In the past year Elaine has concentrated on her novel writing, graduating from the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme with her WW2 saga, Gracie’s War (Myrmidon Books), in 2012. She is a qualified tutor and runs The Write Place creative writing school in Dartford, Kent.
Elaine is represented by the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and has just signed a two book contract with Pan Macmillan.

The Write Place:
Twitter: @elaineeverest
Facebook: Elaine Everest

Thank you for welcoming me to your blog, Natalie.

It’s been a pleasure, Elaine. 

If you would like to appear as a guest on my blog please email me on


  1. Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Natalie xx

    1. It's been a pleasure, Elaine. It's always interesting to see the other side to the writer and of course one isn't the slightest bit surprised to find that your 'hobby', like your writing, is all-consuming. I've never known you do anything by halves.

    2. That's why I'm always shattered and eat too much cake!! x

  2. Hello Elaine. Good interview. Interesting answers to some interesting questions.
    I enjoyed reading that you bred dogs and exhibited them. Wonderful.
    Good luck with your new novel.

    1. Thank you, Cathy. It's interesting to find out what writers are up to in the few minutes they aren't writing! xx

  3. Lovely to learn more about you, Elaine - especially as you also started out as a magazine writer. I can only imagine how thrilled you must have been to first get an agent and then a publishing deal. Exciting times!

  4. Thank you, Wendy. I loved writing for the mags and newspapers.Deadlines and a good fee kept me happy!
    I'm sure there will be a knock on my door and my publisher will say they have the wrong Elaine Everest! x

  5. Always interesting Natalie to read your blogs as well as stories (Felise) xxx

  6. Thank you, Felise, and nice to know we've overcome the problem of leaving comments. Hope to see you here again soon.

  7. Just testing! Fx

  8. What a great interview. Thank you both very much. Natalie, thank you for asking Elaine such thought provoking questions and thank you Elaine for answering honestly. It's so nice to learn of your journey and I wish you every success with your future writing.

  9. Thank you, Nicola, I'm really pleased you enjoyed it. Elaine certainly has had a varied career. I wish her every success with her onward journey