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Liz Elwes

Star Sign
Sagittarius (December 21st)

How old are you?
I was born in 1957 so that makes me very, very old.

Where were you born?
Plymouth, Devon, England. Till I was 9 months old.

Did you grow up there?
No. I moved to Malaysia when I was 9 months old, stayed till I was five and then moved between lots of places in England and Germany.

What schools did you go to?
A nursery school in a cricket pavilion in Port Dixon
The Forces primary school Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
A primary school in Rutherglen, Glasgow
A primary school in Penn Street, Beaconsfield
A primary school in George Green, Bucks.
St David's primary, Rheindahlen, Germany
St.Patrick's primary, Rheindahlen, Germany
The Bar Convent, York
St.Mary's convent, Cambridge.

My father was in the army and we moved around a lot! I went to boarding school at St. Mary's Cambridge for 5 years, easily my longest stay in one school. It was great to know I was going back to the same place and friend's each term. I met my best friend at the Bar Convent. We both got sent to different convent boarding schools and wrote to each other a lot. My other best friend I met at St. Mary's Cambridge and I still see her too!

What were you like at school?
When I was young I was very good and was head girl of my primary etc etc, This slipped in secondary school where I got distracted by living in Cambridge which is a beautiful town with lots to do. Especially as there was a boys school called the Leys around the corner. I did work hard enough to get my exams though. I liked English and Art best.

Have you got brothers and sisters?
I have one older brother and two younger sisters. They all live quite near so I see them and their children a lot.

Where do you live now?
North London. After university I moved down here and have lived here for ages. All my children were born here and have lived in just two houses. Very different childhood from mine. I like the fact all their friends live around here too, like Carrie's friends.

Who do you live with?
Husband Giles, oldest son William, daughter Alice and younger sons Thomas and Jamie.

How did you get started writing?
I discovered they were doing a 6 months writing course around the corner from where I live. So I joined up with my neighbour. We went every Monday and a wonderful woman would be really harsh about the tosh we wrote until we got better. It was a short story writing course and I got a reputation for writing dark, wierd stories. I don't quite know how that happened! I've never wanted to write one since. I just used to like looking at people's faces when they had read them because I don't look like the sort of person who would write anything like that. It confused them.

When did you start writing teenage fiction?
In 2004.

What did you do before you were a writer?
I worked for Phillips auctioneers and then at Sotheby's editing catalogues which was quite boring as I wanted to be their watercolour expert and then found there was quite a queue of people wanting this job so rather than wait twenty years -I left -to join the Royal Academy in Piccadilly, I worked in a commercial gallery selling paintings and original prints for 5 years.
I then worked in Soho at another little gallery and did this till until I felt the art world wasn't going to work for someone with two children so I stopped.
I then trained as a teacher which I loved and taught in Primary schools for ages until a few years ago when I went to the Institute of Education and trained teachers instead. This is much, much easier than teaching yourself.
So that is what is I did. And looking after my own children of course, which has kept me very busy.

Where do you write?
I started writing in a corner of the room the boys keep all their computer games in. It looks out onto the garden but then I got a lap top and moved to the kitchen table which is handier for making cups of tea. Of which I drink gallons every day. I do not listen to any music because it will just distract me. I like to write with as little noise as possible around me. I think this is because our house is so noisy most of the time.

What's your favourite TV program?
I do like Hollyoaks, I do watch it every day. I'd like to say its just because my children watch it but I think that might be a lie.
I love 'How clean is your House' because it makes me feel that my house is very, very clean. I also have a guilty secret love for Big Brother which I always swear I will not get into but it draws me in each and every time.
I think Planet Earth is an extraordinary progamme and I never miss it.

Who makes you laugh?
Catherine Tate, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross.

What did you want to be as a child?
An artist. I'll get there one day.

What was your favourite book as a child?The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

What's your favourite children's book now?
There are so many good ones to chose from. But I promise you Winnie the Pooh is funnier when you are older. You get the jokes better.

What's your favourite adult book?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime. Mark Haddon. It's for children too.

What's your favourite movie?
Four Weddings and a Funeral.

What's your favourite colour?
Duck egg blue.

Do you have an agent?

What is the most important lesson that being a writer has taught you?
Keep going. Any work is better than no work in a day.

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