Author Ellie Campbell
Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. Transplanted from Scotland to England as teens, they took up writing between full-time work, world travelling and child-raising. Each of them had over 70 short stories published in major UK and international magazines before they decided to collaborate in writing a novel based on their experiences as the youngest of four sisters, despite the fact that they now lived on separate sides of the Atlantic. How to Survive Your Sisters, published by Arrow Books, was quickly followed by a second ‘Ellie Campbell’ novel, When Good Friends Go Bad and now a third, Looking for La La.
Pam lives in Surrey with her husband and three children while Lorraine has settled on a ranch in Colorado with her husband, three horses, dog and multiple barn cats. They still talk on the phone almost daily and regularly send ideas, chapters, and novel drafts to each other over the internet.
In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.
Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?
Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.
With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.
10 Things That Bring A Smile To Our Faces by Ellie Campbell
(sisters and co-authors Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell)
- 1. Other people smiling
Or better still, other people laughing by themselves, for no apparent reason. Probably thinking back to something funny. It happened to me this morning when I was out dog walking. Some girl was heading down the path as I was heading up. Just ten yards from me she suddenly stifled a giggle. I checked my clothes, face etc. when I arrived home. I don’t think it was me she was giggling at, but even if it was, it made smile. So that’s OK in my book.
- 2. Chocolate
Especially when I’ve been scouring the house for some. I know it’s bad for me, makes me overweight, terrible for skin, etc. etc. But when you get that craving… I’ve taken cupboards apart, searched through drawers and texted people late at night begging them to bring some over if I’ve been unable to get out.
- 3. Those TV Programmes where they Reunite Loved Ones
I’m a sucker for them. All that reuniting of friends, long lost sisters and brothers, mothers, fathers. Those programmes partly inspired our second novel, When Good Friends Go Bad, about three women searching for their missing school friend. After I smile though, I usually end up blubbing my eyes out. I don’t care that they’re made to wrench at heart strings, my heart strings are still well and truly wrenched.
- 4. My Dog Milly
She does stupid things all the time that make me smile. I walk in and see her wagging her tail in greeting and it makes me smile. How can it not? She rushes to fetch her “tugger” and nudges it at me so I can play tug of war, and it makes me smile. I mention my friend’s name (who often accompanies me on dog walks) and immediately she races for the window, leaps onto the sofa and peers out the window to see if she can spot her car. Whenever I’m down or worried about stupid irrational things, I only have to look at her and I smile.
- 5. My Family
How could I not include them? Especially when they’ve been away. With five of us and the dog in the house, it’s sometimes crowded and usually messy. And I often crave solitude (to write – not to clean I might add). This year I didn’t join them on their marathon annual bike ride in freezing weather around France in April (wonder why?). Instead I went with friends to visit Hungary. It was a fantastic experience but I did miss them. And I did smile when they returned.
- 6. My husband, Gary.
He chats to everyone, just like my mother used to, sometimes it’s great and sometimes embarrassing. I sat behind him on a plane recently because we couldn’t get seated together and had to laugh as I heard him engage the women on either side in non-stop conversation, telling them jokes, finding out their life history. Of course then he asked if they’d read this new brilliant novel, Looking For La La, and raved about it while I cringed. (Need I add, he hasn’t read it yet.) I was dreading him pointing back at me and saying ‘there’s the author”.
7. My beautiful horses: Sylvarr, Sugar and Luna.
I made a 20’ wide exercise track around my pasture and I love to watch them galloping around it, bucking and playing, three white Arabians with flowing manes, tails up and waving like flags. There is no prettier sight in the world.
8. My dog Remy.
He’s a woodle – part wheaten terrier, part poodle, even the name is comical. He’s like a rasta muppet. I love the way he runs full speed to his bed and collapses instantly into sleep, upside down, paws in the air, legs wide apart. If you give him something good – a tennis ball or a nice juicy bone – he’ll rush upstairs and bury it in our bed. I once noticed a dead vole (something like a mole or rat) that Remy had dug up lying on top of the duvet next to a blissfully unaware Gary. Threw it out. Next night Gary slid his hand under the pillows and encountered another, also dead. Two days later his feet touched something cold and furry. Yep, another corpse. Our boy was so proud of his hunting skills.
9. My cat Cotton.
She’s part Manx, tail-less, was supposed to be a barn cat but when she got spayed I had to keep her indoors and she won Gary’s heart – and he’s not even a cat lover. Funnily enough she’ll sleep in the dog bed in the same inelegant upside down, legs splayed position as the dog. She loves to attack our feet when we’re in bed, pounding on anything that moves under the covers. And when I let Sylvarr graze dragging a long lead rope, she’ll attack that too – this tiny cat using all her might to hold back an oblivious 1,000 lb horse.
- 10. My Friends
Last but not least…my friends always make me smile and I include my family – sisters, nieces and nephews – among the laugh-makers. I am lucky that we all share the same sense of fun and aren’t afraid to be silly, whether it’s dressing up for Halloween or a murder mystery dinner, dancing on top of the houseboat at Lake Powell dressed in evening gowns and feather boas (or sarongs and home-made masks), throwing down chips at a Las Vegas craps table, or holding an impromptu party for twenty of our nearest and dearest with about 30 minutes notice. There is nothing like seeing a friend walk in with a bottle of wine to put a smile on my face. Or even if they show up without one.