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Ella Allbright

Ella Allbright A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, ‘The Last Charm’, was published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins and is released in paperback today. Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the bestselling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I’ve always been an avid reader. I love the chance to be entertained, to escape, to live in other worlds and experience other people’s lives. Growing up, reading naturally led to writing and I wrote fairly dark short stories when I was doing my English GCSE. Luckily, my English teacher told me I was talented and gave me encouragement to keep writing. A few years later, I wrote my first category romance aimed at Mills & Boon and that manuscript got as far as an acquisition meeting (I didn’t realise that was actually very good for a first book plucked off the slush pile!) Another romance imprint showed interest in my second book, but I ended up putting writing aside while I gained HR qualifications, built a HR career and had children.

    In 2010, following a serious illness, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a published author and started writing again, first entering short story competitions (and to my surprise being placed as a finalist several times) before writing a romance that later became my debut novel as Nikki Moore – ‘Crazy, Undercover, Love’. Joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I went through their New Writers Scheme – where your manuscript is reviewed as part of your membership – for four years, before being offered a four-work contract by HarperImpulse, a digital first romance imprint of HarperCollins. Six years later, I’ve had three short stories, five novellas and three novels published, and my next book is with my agent for feedback. I consider myself very lucky, but still have much bigger dreams, for instance to see ‘The Last Charm’ turned into a film.

  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Last Charm’.
    ‘The Last Charm’ is an epic love story set in beautiful Dorset, based around the charms on Leila’s very special bracelet. Jake and Leila meet as young teens, and over the following fifteen years move in and out of each other’s lives. At heart, this book is about love, loss and hope – themes I felt it important to write about, and could relate to. Reviews have been amazing, and it’s been compared to ‘Me Before You’, ‘Normal People’, ‘One Day in December’ and ‘The Notebook’; all books I’m very happy to be linked with.
  3. Why did you decide to write female fiction?
    This is an interesting one, because even though ‘The Last Charm’ is marketed as commercial women’s fiction, I think the themes are universal enough to relate to everyone, regardless of how they identify. I also have some male readers, as I had with my Nikki Moore books. While being savvy enough to write for the market, I’ve not made a conscious decision to aim my books at certain people – I simply write stories I’m passionate about, believe in, that I hope might touch others and whose characters are talking to me. I do have ideas for a couple of psychological thrillers, so we’ll see who my readers end up being if those get written and published!
  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    This is such a good question. I have so many favourite authors, and am lucky enough to know some of them or to have connected with them over social media. My book club would be composed of a mixture of authors writing psychological thrillers, police procedurals, romance and general fiction. As a starting point – Miranda Dickinson, Kim Nash, Lisa Jewell, Angie Marsons, Adele Parks, Catherine Isaac/Jane Costello, Jenny Colgan, Sue Moorcroft (who is also my aunt), Jules Wake, Catherine Miller… the list is endless – it would be a very large book club!
  5. If the story of Leila and Jake were brought to screen, who can imagine playing the characters?
    I find this easy to answer for Leila: Emilia Clarke. She has such an expressive face, is adorable and also looked amazing with long silvery blonde hair – which Leila has – when she was in ‘Game of Thrones’. I find it much harder to cast Jake because I think of him as so unique, and I’ve not been able to think of someone who would absolutely fit the bill. In different Facebook Lives etc Tom Burke, Tom Ellis and Jonathan Rhys Meyers have all been discussed. Noah Centineo from ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ might make a good teenage Jake, if he could do a British accent.
  6. The Last Charm

  7. Is there anything that you would change about your writing journey?
    Funnily enough no, even though there were times I was offered contracts and turned them down, meaning I could have ultimately been published much sooner. But I had to do what felt right at the time, and I stand by those decisions because I’m one of those people who puts little stock in having regrets. Every experience teaches us something, so I’m glad my writing journey has been what it was. Despite being published for the last seven years, I still feel that I have a lot to learn – luckily I’m a natural student (I read a lot and have lots of notebooks to take notes in!)
  8. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    I actually love every part of the writing process – from coming up with the initial ideas, characters and plot; to storyboarding a book out on a long piece of poster paper that goes up on my writing room wall; to carving out the first draft, and then on to all the endless rounds of edits – which I see as opportunities to polish stories until they shine. I must admit that with every novel I write, I get to a point about 40,000 words in where it feels like a real slog and I convince myself what I’ve written is a pile of rubbish, but I’ve found over the years that I just have to push through those feelings and keep going until the story is finished. A bit like running a marathon!
  9. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    This is so hard as I’ve read so many books and have lots of favourites. If I absolutely had to pick one, it would be from ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ by the Brothers Grimm… ‘Once Upon a Time…’ It’s a magical line to start to any story, rich with endless possibilities.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Another really tough question! ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig, ‘Remember Me’ by Christopher Pike (my favourite book as a teenager), and ‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyes.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    There are so many things I can think of, but really I think it comes down to understanding the nuts and bolts of what makes a great story in the genre you’ve chosen to write in. For me a lot of this comes from reading widely in that genre, and understanding what makes each book good, spectacular or poor, and then choosing what learning to take from that.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Something visual for inspiration which relates to the story I’m writing. The storyboard I mentioned is covered in post-it notes setting out the plot and notes about characters, but will also include film and song titles along with pictures of the book’s settings. It’s quite usual to find me pacing up and down in front of the storyboard when I’m mid flow, checking on a plot point, looking at photos or jottings down new ideas that have come to me.
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    The book I’ve just handed in to my agent for reading and feedback is a story about a woman who’s lost her way and the man who helps her find it on a road trip around Italy, while searching for her father. I wrote it as a broadly escapist read – although there are some important issues in it, such as self-discovery and self-identity – as an antidote to the world we’re currently living in. I hope that readers enjoy being transported to Italy in the same way that I enjoyed being there in my head while writing it. More details to follow next year!

    Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Bronagh!

    You can find Ella Allbright on Twitter and Instagram

    If you’d like to hear my thoughts on ‘The Last Charm’, then check out my review here.

Belfast Book Festival 2017

Belfast Book Festival 2017

Running from 7th-17th June, Belfast Book Festival is a must for all book lovers and aspiring authors.

Now in its 7th year, the festival has a jammed pack schedule with over 100 live events and workshops taking place across Belfast.

Featuring well known authors, comedians and journalists, the festival promises to have something for everyone, young and old!

To find out more about the event, click here.

Christmas Gifts for Readers and Writers

Favourite Books

No gift guide would be complete without a few great books thrown in, so along with a collection of reading related gift ideas, I have compiled a list of books which I have enjoyed recently and would happily read again and again.

If you can think of any great festive gift ideas for book lovers, share it in the comments below

Recommended Books

  • Cuckoo by Julia Crouch
  • About Last Night by Adele Parks
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sara Manning
  • The Accidental Proposal by Matt Dunn
  • Meet me At the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
  • Me and My Sisters by Sinead Moriarty
  • The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
  • The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon
  • Kate’s Wedding by Chrissie Manby
  • The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

Personal Library Kit

Personal Library KitThe “Personal Library Kit” is the perfect gift for book lovers that don’t mind lending their books out, but like to keep a track of them. With the aid of this quirky kit complete with stamp and checkout cards — it is the ideal gift for the secret librarian in all of us.

Penguin Mug

Penguin MugsOne thing I have discovered from interviewing authors, is that the one item most writers need beside them whilst sitting down to write, is a hot mug of tea. These traditional Penguin mugs featuring Penguin classic’s such as “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice”, are sure motivational tool to help inspire a best seller.

Amazon Kindle

KindleIf you know someone who loves reading and can’t to take enough books with you when out and about, then the Amazon Kindle may be the ideal gift. Small enough to fit in your pocket and capable of holding up to 1400 books, you will definately not run out of something to read with this handy little device.

The Creativity Hub Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory's Story CubesLike a story with your own personal twist? Then “The Creativity Hub Rory’s Story Cubes”, may just be the thing to make Christmas morning a little bit more entertaining. The ideal gift for a party, Story Cubes provide hours of entertainment with unlimited story combinations, as the roll of each cube opens the door to a unique twist on each story. It is a a game for everyone and is perfect for young and old alike.

Misery Bear’s Guide to Love & Heartbreak

Misery Bear's Guide To Heartbreak“Misery Bear’s Guide to Love and Heart break” is a delightful book for a more mature audience, based on the story of Misery Bear. It contains a collection of his poems, thoughts, photos plus so much more. Though it will probably not improve your love life, it will make a lovely thoughtful gift, as we all cross our fingers and paws that Misery Bear will eventually find someone to love him.

Moleskine Large Plain Notebook

MoleskinesMoleskines, the perfect treat for jotting down notes in the simple, traditional ruled notebooks that have become popular with designers and writers.

What I Read (Red) Mini Journal

Mini JournalIf you are like me and like to keep track of books that you have read then the “What I read” Mini Journal is ideal for jotting down book names and ideas and small enough to slip into the smallest of bags. With its beautiful red cover, the mini journal makes the perfect stocking filler.

Alice In Wonderland, Retro Shopping Bag

Alice in Wonderland Bag Like a lot of girls that in the world, I not only love books but I also love bags. So combine these two key ingredients together and you will find this retro “Alice In Wonderful” canvas shopper is a lovely treat. Throw this over your shoulder and fill it with books, just like all bags should be.

SUCK UK Bookrest lamp

Book Rest Lamp Is it a book, is it a light? Nope, it’s actually a Book Rest Lamp, perfect to rest your book on whilst you pop out to the kitchen to put the kettle on. Made from frosted glass, the lamp gives off a soft light, making an ideal environment for reading.