Please welcome today, Ella Allbright. Ella is not only a prolific author but also happens to be bestselling author Sue Moorcroft’s niece
Ella, what was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
The Last Charm is an emotional and heart-touching tale of love, loss and hope. A story about what happens when life throws unexpected things at us and how loving someone can make us better people. Meeting as young teenagers, Leila and Jake form an immediate friendship and their lives become entwined over the preceding years – with the story told around the charms on Leila’s bracelet.
The inspiration behind the book was actually my amazing editor at One More Chapter, Charlotte Ledger, asking me to write an epic love story centred around a charm bracelet, as she had one from her grandmother. We spent some time together coming up with themes, a setting and a few charms before I went away to think about the characters and come up with a plot. I then wrote a twenty chapter outline which I sent to Charlotte and after some tweaks, I started writing the book.
Without giving too much away, what was the hardest part of the book to write?
One of the themes is loss, partly because it’s a natural link to hope (another theme, and you need the dark to see the light) and partly because I’d suffered several bereavements and had been on a difficult journey to come out of the other side, and felt it an important subject to write about. The scenes in the book that deal with loss were far from easy to write, but felt very cathartic, and a lot of reviews have remarked on how heartfelt and heartwarming The Last Charm is.
What was your journey to publication?
I had a few near misses in the early 2000’s with a couple of romance publishers including Mills & Boon, before putting writing aside to build a HR career and have children. After a serious illness in 2008, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a published author. I started with short stories and began entering them in competitions. To my surprise and delight, within a few months I’d been a finalist twice, giving me the confidence to start working on a new romance novel.
In 2010 I joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, which I went through four times before being offered a four-work contract by HarperImpulse shortly after the annual conference in 2013. In the meantime, my short story A Night to Remember had been published in the RNA/Mills & Boon anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Since then, I’ve had two short stories, five novellas and three novels published, with more coming soon!
What book do you wish you had written?
There are so many to choose from as there are so many talented authors out there, however I finished The Midnight Library by Matt Haig as an audiobook recently and have been raving about it ever since. It has a unique concept (the Midnight Library, a place between life and death that allows you to explore the possibilities of all the lives you could have lived) and the story unfolds naturally as the main character Nora sets wrongs right and learns about herself in the process. It’s authentic, sensitive, warm, wise and beautifully written – with lessons we can all learn from.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Stop making excuses – sit your bum in that chair and write! Also, keep going! I’m exceptionally lucky to have been a member of the RNA for the last ten years, and have had such great advice from a lovely bunch of people, but the one thing I always pass on is something my aunt – bestselling author Sue Moorcroft – once told me. ‘The only difference between a published and an unpublished author is that the published author kept going.’
Rejection is a normal part of a writer’s life, and we have to learn to deal with it. Don’t stop writing just because your submission was rejected – use it as proof that you’re getting yourself out there and trying, take any advice given by an agent/publisher/editor on board and then submit again. In the meantime, get on with writing your next book.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I’ve just handed in an early draft of my next women’s commercial fiction novel to my agent and am awaiting her feedback and suggested edits. I wrote a lot of it during lockdown, and as a consequence it’s an escapist read – because I feel it’s what people will appreciate, and what I’ve enjoyed reading – and is built around a road trip through Italy. I have two more book outlines sketched out and am currently deciding which one to write next.
A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her latest novel The Last Charm has been in the Top 10 of several Amazon charts including Hot New Releases and Coming of Age fiction.
She is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership and also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!
Durdle Door beach, a significant location for The Last Charm.
You can email Ella via firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Ella/Nikki via:
The Last Charm can be purchased via Amazon as a paperback (from 12 November) – https://amzn.to/340NXLz, eBook https://amzn.to/3a1kroG or as an audiobook https://amzn.to/31WjDin It’s also available via Google Play, Kobo, Hive and Waterstones.
About the interviewer.
Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.