Spotlight On Writers - Ellie Ness, interview at

Spotlight On Writers – Ellie Ness

Spotlight On Writers

Ellie Ness



  1. Where do you originate from?

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and lived there until I was five. The flat we lived in didn’t even have an inside toilet so, as soon as my parents got a chance to move to a New Town called Irvine, they jumped at the chance. Their new flat had underfloor heating and indoor plumbing so my mum thought she was living in luxury. Once I grew up I moved to the States for a couple of years and also lived in the Middle East for a while before moving back to Scotland. My writing reflects the wide range of experience I have been lucky enough to have.

  1. What do you cherish most about the place you call home?

I used to work very long hours as a teacher of young people in a Secondary school so once I stopped working I really appreciated the village much more than previously because when I go out walking I can walk through the woods, visit the castle across the road or go five miles to walk on the beach or visit an art gallery. It’s a unique location I think. My friends and family mostly live nearby so that’s an added bonus. When I was teaching, I hardly had time to look at these wonderful places and people.

  1. What ignites your creativity?

Thinking about life and inequality I think. Some of my writing is based on thinking about righting wrongs. I have joined two local face-to-face groups who write. One group sets tasks which we work on at home then bring to the session to get feedback. The other group writes on the spot before we share work. Last year I signed up for courses at Glasgow University which I have really been enjoying. Much of my recent work has revolved around memoirs from my time overseas but I am also very interested in crime writing so have been working on some short stories and am aiming to eventually write the novel that I have been mulling over for a while. There’s an online group of writers who completed an Open University course on creative writing and they set regular challenges which spark creativity if I am casting about for ideas.

  1. Do you have a favorite word and could you incorporate it into a poetic phrase?

Ha, it’s funny you should say that. For a while cacophony was appearing in several pieces so I had to stop using it as it was becoming a “thing.” However, here’s a sentence where I used it in a piece of memoir:

“He drives too quickly through the cacophony of city streets.”

  1. What is your pet peeve?

My pet writing peeve is the way punctuation is changing with regards to dialogue in novels. Punctuation helps the reader to work out what’s happening. What used to be called quotation marks/speech marks are sometimes seen as old-fashioned. The emdash has been appearing in novels for a while and I am just getting used to that but I read a great novel recently which didn’t even use that as a marker. Trying to work out what was speech and what was plot was trickier than it needed to be.

  1. How would you describe the essence of Ellie Ness?

I have spent my working life advocating to make life easier for children and young people on three different continents and I love nothing more than hearing how well they and former colleagues are doing now. Recently retired, I love to walk along the beach or through the woods with Shona my dog as new characters and scenarios rattle around in my head begging for their stories to be told. I would rather tell a tale than scrub the floor. I love to catch up with friends and family whenever I can and hope to continue to make new friends and read other people’s stories for a long time to come.

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This publication is part 400 of 404 in the series Spotlight On Writers