Ella West

Check out an Author: Ella West

Olga Hemmingsen has a yarn over the farm gate with the author of Rain Fall, Night Vision and the Thieves Trilogy.

Ella West is a writer for Young Adults based in Otago. Her first book, Thieves (Longacre Press, 2006), was a finalist in the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. Anywhere but Here (2008), the sequel to Thieves, was a finalist in the SFFANZ (Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand) Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2009.

Ella's novel, Night Vision (Allen and Unwin, 2014) won the Young Adult Fiction Award at the 2015 LIANZA Children's Book Awards, and also won the YA Children's Choice Award at the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Her latest book Rain Fall (Allen & Unwin, 2018), is a young adult thriller about a girl and her horse caught up in a murder investigation on the wild West Coast of New Zealand.

When she's not writing books, Ella is a sheep and cattle farmer called Karen. She lives on the Taieri, and is often better at catching trout than her family.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?

A: As well as writing fiction, I’m a freelance journalist and with my husband we run a small farming business which means looking after lots of sheep and young cattle. We have farm dogs and spring is always a time to look forward to with lambing. Hopefully one day we will be able to afford to buy our own big farm.

Q: Did you ever get told off for reading when you were a child?

A: My English teacher made me stand in the corridor because I had a Sam Hunt poetry book on my desk when I was 15.

Q: What were you like at school?

A: Bookish, and always running around organising putting on play or something.

Q: What was the first ever story that you can remember writing?

A: There was something with birds in it when I was very young. And fairies. Lots about fairies. I was a big reader of fairy tales.

Q: How did you feel when you saw your first book in print? 

A: A sigh of relief – I’d finally done it!

Q: Do you have a ritual you follow before you start writing?

A: I do a lot of thinking, sometimes days and nights of thinking (my mind loves to brainstorm at 3am) and then I start writing. I don’t think I’ve ever just sat in front of the screen and gone, okay, now write!

Q: Of all your characters which one would you most like to hang out with?

A: I quite like Jack in Rain Fall. He would be fun – if I was 16! All the mums are quite cool though.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: I am re-reading some of John Marsden’s books – Checkers and Letters from the Inside. Such great books and now becoming forgotten.