I am delighted to have a guest with me today.
Ellie Rose McKee’s debut novel Full Term is out today, and to coincide Ellie kindly allowed me to ask her a few questions about the book, and her writing in general.
Hi, Ellie. First of all, congratulations on your new book. I was wondering when and why you started writing.
I remember working on short pieces––stories, poems, or the generic ‘write a page about your holiday’ type stuff––for primary school, and really enjoying the process of expressing myself with pen and paper. I’m still writing now because of that enjoyment. Writing can be difficult, sometimes, but it always feels good to me in the end. I’d be lost without the outlet it gives me.
What are the best and worst things about being a writer living in NI?
I think it’s a double-edged sword. Because Northern Ireland is so small, a lot of people in the arts community know each other. That has both benefits (when everyone’s getting along) and downsides (when something happens to cause a rift, be it big or small). There’s also the factor of being caught in the middle between Great Britain and Ireland. For a long time, I saw that as a bad thing––that we fell in a gap that didn’t get the attention it needed––but now I’m more of a mind that it can be turned into an opportunity. To spread your work further afield, you don’t have to set your sights south, on the republic, or over the sea to the rest of the UK. You can––and, I think, should––do both.
What can you tell us about your new book?
Full Term is about a sixteen-year-old girl (Mya), who goes into labour one day in the middle of her maths class. Obviously not ideal! She’d calculated her due date and wasn’t expecting the baby to come before it. And she hadn’t told anyone out of fear of what her step-dad might do, so she hasn’t got any kind of support in place. Now that the baby’s on the way, however, Mya is forced to deal with her reality head-on. The book charts her first month of being a new mum, trying to keep herself and her baby safe, attempting to recover her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and if she can manage it, get her step-dad put behind bars so that he’s kept out of all their lives for good.
What inspired you to write your novel/series?
I got the specific idea to write Full Term from a nightmare I had. There was an entire scene from my unconscious that I was able to pull out and write directly into the opening chapter of the first draft. But I think the origins probably go further back than that. The series is contemporary, centring on dysfunctional family dynamics, which is something I love reading from other people. And pregnancy and motherhood are themes I keep returning to, I think partially because of my own upbringing and partially because of my (so far) failed attempts to have a child of my own. I didn’t start out writing a trilogy. I didn’t even mean to start working on a new novel––I’d been fighting with an entirely different work in progress for years when I had the nightmare that sparked Full Term––but the spark happened and everything else followed organically. Looking back at it now, it’s kind of like staring at the cosmos, filled with so much matter you can’t really get your head around it, and trying to pinpoint the exact place it began.
Tell me about the different forms you write in. You are also a poet?
Yes. In much the same vein as I started out with the school projects, I still write in a number of mediums: primarily poems, short stories, blog posts, and of course novels. I just can’t help myself!
What are you working on at the moment?
As of 1st April, I will be rewriting book two in The Family Ties Trilogy. And in July I’m aiming to work on book three. But I’m not planning to release either of them quite yet. The next thing in the pipeline for being published is a poetry pamphlet called ‘Linchpins.’ I haven’t officially announced it yet, so that’s the inside scoop!
Thanks for giving me the scoop, Ellie. Good luck with Full Term, and happy launch day!
Full Term is available to buy NOW.
Paperbacks can be ordered from Waterstones in the UK, Barnes & Noble in the US, and Amazon around the world. Libraries should be able to order the book in for you, on request, and independent bookstores should also have it in their wholesaler catalogues.
There’s also an audiobook currently in production.