Elizabeth Lee

Born in London, Elizabeth Lee now lives in Warwickshire with her teenage children – a coincidence I found as in 1818, another woman named Elizabeth Lee lived there. It’s a small world.

Her love of books stemmed from her love of reading as a child, where she spent most of her time with her nose in stories by the likes of Enid Blyton and William Shakespeare.

Elizabeth has been writing for several years and her work has been selected for the Womentoring Project and Penguin’s WriteNow Live – an award-winning programme aiming to seek out, nurture and publish new writers. In 2018, she was awarded the Marian Keyes Scholarship to study on Curtis Brown Creatives’ novel writing course.

Her debut novel, Cunning Women, was published by Windmill Book in 2021.

Meet Elizabeth Lee

Questions On Writing

What has been the hardest part of your writing experience?
Getting to the end of the first draft! I always find this the hardest part of writing, it’s difficult to keep faith in the work at this stage.

What did you learn about yourself as a person when writing it?
That I’m stubborn enough to get to the end of the first draft, despite the doubts!

How much planning do you do prior to writing, or do you let it flow freely?
Probably not as much planning as I should! I start with characters, setting and a bare-bones plot, but tend to let it flow freely. Perhaps that’s why the first draft is such hard work, though!

Do you make yourself write everyday/regularly, or do you wait for inspiration to strike?
I try to write regularly because it keeps that connection to the book fresh, but of course life does get in the way sometimes.

What does literary success look like to you?
My mind is still blown very time I catch a glimpse of my own book on the shelf (yes, I do have a copy in my living room!) It’s literally a dream come true for me.

How did you celebrate the publication of the book?
My partner (who is a writer too) took me out for dinner. I’m also part of a wonderful writers’ group, and we always have a bottle of bubbly when one of us gets published!

What was it about this particular genre you wanted to write?
I actually hadn’t planned to write historical fiction, although I loved reading it. But I watched a documentary about the Pendle witch trials and was inspired by that to write Cunning Women. I do think writing historical fiction is a great way to explore issues that are still relevant today, thought.

Questions on Books and about You

Firstly, the most important question: what books are currently ‘on your bedside table’?
I’m a bit of a slow reader, so I only read one at a time! Currently Radical Love by Neil Blackmore, which is out in June. I’m lucky enough to have a proof.

What children’s book would you suggest every adult read?
Any book by Robert Cormier, I love his dark and twisty writing. I’d especially recommend The Bumblebee Flies Anyway and I Am The Cheese.

What does your writing space look like?
A bit messy, usually! I usually write at the little bureau in my living room, although I sometimes decamp to the kitchen table.

How many books do you think you own?
Far too many! And I still keep buying more…

Who is your literary icon?
This would probably be my agent, who is extremely clever, patient, and hard working!

If you could own one rare/first edition of a book, which one would it be?
A first edition of A Christmas Carol, it was beautiful.

Is there an author who you always read?
So many! I’ll read anything by Tracy Chevalier, Helen Dunmore, Jim Crace, Rose Tremain… And I loved The Confessions of Frannie Langton, so I’m very excited to see what Sara Collins writes next.

And finally, are there any plans for any new books? If so, what teasers can you give us?
There are definitely plans! But I don’t think I’m allowed to give any teasers right now…

Thank you Elizabeth for your insightful answers 😊 my dream first edition would also be A Christmas Carol, so great choice.

Elizabeth Lee Books

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