A quiet child, Rachel was an obsessive reader, but she wanted to become a vet. “My passions were animals and books,” she says.
After university Rachel did some post graduate work in sociology at Derby University. She started a PhD there, but left that to work in magazine publishing in Bath. She stayed 10 years, working for digital arts magazines; writing, interviewing visual artists, and proof reading.
“Then I started writing short stories. Some were published and were shortlisted for things. I wrote a different novel which was a finalist in the Dundee International Book prize.” It wasn’t published, but Rachel got an agent through it. And that’s when she wrote her debut.
“It started with visual images. I kept sketching and writing odd words.
“Once I had written Miriam’s first chapter, the rest came really fast. took stock of it as I went along.”
Who is Rachel Elliot
Date of birth: 1972. Born in Suffolk, but she grew up in Norfolk and then the Midlands.
Education: Secondary school in Litchfield: Staffordshire University, sociology.
Family: Partner, and a Miniature Schnauzer called Henry.
The Day Job: Part time psychotherapist; part-time writer.
Interests: Going for lots of long walks with the dog. “It’s how I resolve things in the book.” Seeing plays; visiting galleries; driving to St Ives.
Favourite Writers: Lorrie Moore; Ali Smith; Jon McGregor; Chris Ware; Nicola Barker.
Second Novel: “I’ve started it. It’s at the images stage.”
Top Writing Tip: If your first draft doesn’t feel right, start from scratch rather than hacking away at it. It’s the things you remember that are important.
Web: www.rachelelliottbooks.com Twitter: @onepushkinpress
Whispers Through a Megaphone; One (an imprint of Pushkin Press); €18.18/Kindle, €14.34
Miriam hasn’t left her house for three years. And when, finally, she makes the effort, returning to a place of terror for her, she bumps into Ralph; a psychotherapist who has walked out of his life to plan the next step.
Through the unlikely pair’s quirky friendship, we learn of their lives. Is it possible they can change their life stories?
The Verdict: A beguiling debut. Perceptive, touching, and threaded through with humour. I loved it.
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