Interview with Sue Ellson

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story, but I do remember in my second year of secondary school of converting an English song/poem into French and making sure that the same number of syllables occurred in each line and was highly praised for my work.
What is your writing process?
I start with a big idea! Then I go through and jot down everything related to that big idea on either post it notes or paper cut into separate ideas. I then sort them and capture them into relevant chapters. I insist on using my own voice for all of my ideas and I do not allow editing but will sometimes allow a proof reader to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading a lot of 'Famous Five' books by Enid Blyton (an enjoying the adventures) and some shipwreck stories (and being terrified by the sea). We studied 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Le Petit Prince' at school (English and then French versions respectively) and I found the first book harrowing and the second book took all year to get through and yet I don't remember the point of it!
How do you approach cover design?
I chose to have a consistent theme / layout with my books and I chose to stick with colours - red, white, blue and black that stand out and are easy to recognise from a distance. I like a clean fresh look.
What do you read for pleasure?
I still enjoy reading books on personal development. I tend to get frustrated with fiction, particularly if the writer's voice continues to 'change' throughout the book.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I like seeing my books in libraries because I like the idea of people gaining value from my work. I share my books with my clients and I secured a local book distributor who managed to get the books into airports across the country. It is always exciting to me to hear where people 'found' my books and also 'who' recommended them!
Describe your desk
Most of the time, it is pretty tidy because I can't think with a mess around me. I sit near a window that faces north so I enjoy the best weather. When I was writing my books, I spent a lot of time at a special place near the sea so that every time I looked up, I could see the water and the sky - I wish I could go back there, but alas, I cannot.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia and I spent a lot of time during the holidays on Kangaroo Island where my father was raised. I have a deep affection for the sea, a nice breeze and a simple, friendly, community based life. I had some amazing teachers who instilled a love of learning and when I moved to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in my 20's, I developed a whole new focus, purpose and desire to contribute to my local community.
When did you first start writing?
When my first website went online - in 2001.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Autonomy. I didn't want someone changing the message or the style of what I wanted to share. I work in a unique way and I like to educate and train people in ways that suit them - I didn't want to be told what to do - although that said, I did hire an author adviser to help me understand all of the ins and outs.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The process of writing distils my thoughts and helps me create a meaningful dialogue for others - so that they can benefit from my experience and my mistakes!
Published 2017-05-20.
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