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Five Zany Questions with Ellie Marney, author of Every Word. #Wattscroft

Five Zany Questions with Ellie Marney, author of Every Word

Hi from the Australia, and welcome to the Every Word blog tour!
Yes, Australia is far away.  But I’m bringing a little piece of Oz here for your entertainment at Sukasa Reads today, where I get to answer some slightly odd questions about myself and the creation of Every Word, the second book in the Every series (the series with the hot guy with the curls and the Sherlock-esque name – James Mycroft – and his partner-in-crime, former country chick and supreme all-rounder, Rachel Watts).
I had a lot of fun with these questions, and I hope you enjoy the answers!


1. My work space – lemme tell you about it:

Well, it’s small.  And it’s cluttered.  And there’s no real door, just a screen door to keep out the flies.  But it is slightly detached from our house – it’s actually a little room tacked onto the shed behind our carport – so I’m a bit removed from all the action inside when I need to be.

This is the outside of it: 

 And this is the inside of it:

See?  I told you it was cluttered.  I am basically like a magpie (a crow-sized Australian bird with black-and-white colouring, that often enjoys swooping on you from high gum trees, and is notorious for collecting things), but I tend to collect bits of paper.

When I was a kid, I had a habit of cutting things out of magazines and newspapers and sticky-taping them up on the wall.  This habit has never really died.  And I also often find little passages of text, or writing prompts, or useful words of advice in books, so I’ll scrawl them onto a piece of paper and Blu-Tak them up.

It’s not the most comfortable working space in the world – it doesn’t look very professional, and it gets very cold in the winter, and very hot in the summer (I have a little fan in the corner, to blow all the papers around).  But it’s mine, and I like it very much.  It’s a huge improvement on the cafes and nooks where I used to write (has a toilet! Don’t need to buy coffee!), and I’ve written four books here, and hope to write many more (and maybe get some heating sorted out one day).

2. “Rachel Watts rocks the ‘verse” – discuss:

The short answer to this is YES, no discussion necessary.  Rachel is a Lass (which you probably know is the female version of a Lad, which happens to be the highest form of praise anyone can give at our house: ‘Oh, so-and-so is such a Lad…’), and I’ve been living with Rachel in my head for more than five years now, so I know how much of a Lass she really is.

In the first book, Every Breath, I think you get a sense of how far she’ll go to stick up for a friend, or do what’s necessary to See Justice Done – she has a very strong sense of justice – but in Every Word, she really exceeds all expectations!

Flying to another country to make sure Mycroft is okay isn’t something she takes on lightly – sure, it’s an impulse, but she thinks it through, and she knows what she’s doing is crazy, and likely to have Serious Repercussions with her parents.  But she knows deep in her gut that Mycroft really needs her.  She explains it all very simply to Mike’s girlfriend Alicia: ‘He’s my friend.  We were friends before we got together.  If he needed my support…it wouldn’t be a wasted trip.’

Apart from being an awesome friend, she’s also pretty kick-arse, and in this book I think we get to see more of that.  We know she’s stubborn (not actually a quality I usually think of as a vice) and a fighter, and in Every Word she needs that toughness.  She throws punches, handles weaponry, and crosses swords with some extremely nasty characters – and gets a few scars of her own into the bargain.  I was worried for her throughout this whole book, but she’s resilient – if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be Rachel.

3. If Every Word was a theme-park ride, it would be…:

Extremely violent, with lots of rocking around rolling around – possibly one of those rides where the carriage spins upside down and side-to-side – and probably unsuitable for children smaller than a metre high, and pregnant women.  So…maybe the dodgem cars?  If your dodgem car could ride on the roof, and there were flame-throwers set into the walls that would shoot gouts of fire at you during the ride…

Yeah, I reckon that sounds about right.

4. We’re at a dance party right now, and the DJ wants to know which song gets me out on the floor for major boogies and I say…:

Probably ‘Rocksteady’ by the Bloody Beetroots, which is the song playing during Rachel’s first crazy roller derby scene in the book.  The Beetroots are an Italian electro-house band and they do smash it up nicely.

Of course, if that one wasn’t available, I’d always dance to ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ by the Prodigy, because Best Song Eva.

5. Writing the autopsy scene in Every Word was like:

Diving into deep water without scuba gear.  No, really, it was a very strange experience – obviously writing something as intense and affecting as a human autopsy is going to mess with your head a bit, and prior to writing the scene I’d spent a lot of time researching the process of post-mortem, so I was quite rattled already.  It’s not about the gore or the squeamish aspect of it.  It’s more that you realise what a disconcerting process it really is – and it gives you a little peek into something we rarely like to talk about, which is the nature of mortality.

When I went to Westminster Mortuary in London, to research the book, I spoke to an Anatomical and Pathology technician there.  She was extremely generous and lovely, and she said very bluntly that her job was something that people find either really fascinating or really abhorrent.  In other words, it’s a conversation starter, or a total conversation killer – some folks ask what she does for a living, and then when she tells them they literally just nod and walk away.  People don’t like to talk about death, and the processes of the body after death.  Most of us are intrigued by it, but we don’t really want to know the details, even though it’s a process we’ll all go through.

But that scene was really important for Every Word.  It was the moment when Rachel realised something incredible about human life, and how precious our time really is.  It’s also a really important part of Mycroft’s job, giving a voice to the dead.  I gleaned a lot of information by reading a wonderful essay, ‘In the Morgue’ by Australian author Helen Garner, about the time she witnessed an autopsy – I spoke to her about it later, and she said she got into a lot of trouble for publishing it.


Sukasa Reads was also proud to be part of Ellie Marney's Every Breath launch for Tundra Books. If you'd like to know more about this talented author, click the link below. 

In Conversation with Ellie Marney, author of Every Breath 


  1. Fun answers to interesting questions. Thank you, Ellie. I especially enjoyed having a peek at where you work. I work in a far end of my large living room. It's cool until someone comes in and turns on the TV. I dream of my own space.
    If I could, I'd ask: Rachel flew half-way around the world to help a friend. How far have you travelled?

    1. Hey Leanne! Working in the living room sounds hard, wow. I've travelled a lot - I spent about 4 years in Indonesia, a year in Singapore and six months in India. And now I can cross 'visit London' off my bucket list! xxe

  2. Great questions, particularly the one about the mortuary. it would be fascinating but humbling at the same time. Glad to be on the tour with you.


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