Growing up on a small farm near Asheville, North Carolina, Peggy Ellis loved to read for as long as she can remember. “I loved reading from early childhood,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed The Bobbsey Twins, and the Five Little Peppers enthralled me. And from there it was on to Louisa Mae Alcott’s books, followed by Nancy Drew and even The Hardy Boys.”
Peggy considered the characters in those books as her friends, and she looked forward to the monthly visit from the bookmobile. “Mom allowed us to borrow as many books as we could carry. Weight was never an issue when I cradled precious books in my arms on the mile-long trek, mostly uphill, on a gravel road. By the time the month passed, I had practically memorized the books and vowed that someday, I would write books like those I loved.”
This year marks her 50th anniversary as a freelance writer and editor, and she enjoys using her gift of creative communication to help others. A devout Christian, Peggy has been married for over 54 years. Her byline has appeared in nationally distributed magazines, ezines and anthologies over the past 3 decades. “I’ve compiled and published three anthologies, and one book of short stories.”
Many writers and authors struggle with confidence, but that isn’t the case with Peggy. “I didn’t have a confidence problem with writing. My problem was that I simply could not write fiction. I had no problem with researched writing, only fiction.” She recalls receiving “lots” of rejections as a freelance writer. “I threatened to wallpaper one wall of our den with my rejection slips.”
Peggy received some wise advice when someone told her to see rejections as positive, because they show she is working at her craft. “An attitude adjustment can make all of the difference in the world for a writer!”
Every author has their favorite books they have written, and Peggy is no different. “Challenges on the Home Front, World War II, is an anthology of first-person stories from women in eight countries on their lives during the war. I found their stories fascinating, all different yet all the same. Challenges also contains my mother’s story as I observed her, and my researched work on the equality of women in the workplace which came to a head at the end of the war, leading to the Equal Rights Movement of the seventies. It is still selling well in its second edition.
Another favorite book she has written is Silver Shadows, Stories of Life in a Small Town. “These eight stories originated as sketches for secondary characters in cozy mysteries. However, the characters convinced me each had a story to tell beyond the obvious basic identity information. They didn’t give me any peace of mind until I wrote their stories.”
Peggy has some advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming an author. “Read, read, and read some more,” she says with passion. “Research your chosen genre as thoroughly as you possibly can, and then research some more.” And she knows the importance of connecting with other writers. “Attend conferences and workshops and learn from those who have gone before you,” she said.
And finally, Peggy said that you should start your day with this statement: “I am a writer. I AM a writer. I am a WRITER!”
For more information about Peggy and her books, please visit her website.
I am the author of 35 books and have worked as a ghostwriter on numerous projects. My byline has appeared in major publications all across the U.S., and I have written articles for over 300 websites. Since 1996 I have been working out of my home office in Delaware as a full time freelance writer, author, ghostwriter and donut eater.