Stepping into my author spotlight today is Edinburgh born author Pat Elliott. She’s talking about her ‘Too Much’ trilogy – two of the books have been published and the final part will follow later this year.
Thanks for joining me today Pat. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Born and brought up in Edinburgh in a book-loving-story-telling family, writing was in my DNA. And, it transpired, so were (i) my hunger for a large family – I have four adult children and, to date, three grandchildren – and (ii) my inability to turn down any opportunity.
As a result, after graduating in criminal psychology then in community justice, I followed more careers than is quite respectable. From four weeks as an estate agent to ten years as a newspaper and magazine columnist and features writer. In between, I’ve worked as an adult tutor, a lifestyle coach, an interior designer, manager of a sexual health centre, a suicide helpline volunteer and a probation officer. And, having moved house thirteen times, I’ve lived in nine different areas of the UK, from Surrey in the south to Inverness-shire in the north.
A veritable compendium of raw material.
What inspired you to start writing?
Blessed (or cursed?) with an overactive imagination, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write. But it was not until my sixtieth birthday hove into view that it dawned on me I needed to focus on writing if I was going to achieve anything pre-posthumously. I’d already written two full-length novels which were consigned to the recycling bin before a traumatic family history of adoption and sudden death inspired ideas for The Letter – a work currently on the back burner.
Interrupting work on The Letter, the Too Much trilogy arrived almost fully formed. Three novels following a relationship bedevilled by suicide, sexual assault and sudden death, its cast of characters demanded that their stories be told.
Tell me about your journey to publication
Too Much to Ask was published in February this year. Too Much to Risk followed at the end of June and Too Much to Lose is planned for December publication.
Having disciplined myself to take several creative writing courses, I disparaged self-publication as a vanity project. But I discovered I was too impatient to follow the traditional – usually lengthy – route of finding an agent and publisher. Tempus fugit. So, I made the impulsive decision to go indie.
Thanks to five-star reviews and the lavish praise I’ve had from readers, I don’t regret indie publishing … even if my lack of marketing experience means I risk languishing in obscurity.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Too Much to Ask is a dual protagonist story of love fractured by a brutal death and an ultimatum. When ambitious young journalist Christy Jackson and mature property developer James Louden fall in love, life promises perfection. Until James makes a tragic discovery and Christy issues an ultimatum. Can they recapture the life they’ve lost? Is it too much to ask?
The sequel, Too Much to Risk, follows Christy and James as they build their family. Missing the adrenaline rush of property projects, James finds a new dream. But Christy has reservations. As their lives begin to diverge, a terrifying set of encounters spiral out of control. Had it, in the end, been too much to risk?
(Too Much to Lose sees the family face a devastating event. Having overcome obstacles and looked forward to success, will the whole edifice collapse? Can they build a future when events suggest they’ve too much to lose?)
How did you come up with the title for your book?
As with the three storylines, the titles were there, waiting for me. Sadly, many twenty-first century relationships founder on expectations of too much. Too much emotionally, financially, pragmatically. Thus the three novels, Too Much to Ask, Too Much to Risk and Too Much to Lose were born.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Too Much to Lose is underway and the cast continues to direct their storyline in time for their appearance in December.
But The Letter is still in the wings, hoping to make its debut in 2022.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
There are so many, that’s a difficult question. But perhaps Sally Rooney’s Normal People (pub 2018). A sensitive portrayal of tender young love, I can’t better The Guardian’s review that this novel is a ‘delicately observed play of often anxious feeling, and … interludes of startlingly graphic, passionately intimate sex.’ With so many socio-cultural strands woven through the story, it’s like an intricate web of contemporary comment.
What are you reading just now?
Perhaps because I can identify with the characters of the title, I’m rereading my all-time favourite author, Joanna Trollope’s Mum & Dad (pub 2020).
Not only is Trollope the consummate master of family relationships and evocative descriptions, but this novel opens with a vineyard setting. Married to a wine writer, I have an ongoing love affair with vineyards, a fictional version of which features in the second and third of the Too Much trilogy.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Would it be too arrogant to suggest that the Too Much trilogy would make a great Netflix series? For anyone into tales of relationships ruptured by reversal, it would be a must watch.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I’m afraid I’m not very techy and I regret I haven’t yet a huge presence on social media. To date there’s Amazon’s ‘follow the author’ section (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Much-Ask-emotional-rollercoaster), Twitter (@pdewrites) and Goodreads.com (P.D. Elliott). A Facebook page is planned … but still to be executed. Most of all, I love to receive reader emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
It’s probably no surprise that I’d choose to be one of Joanna Trollope’s characters. And, although I’m more than fortunate in having wonderful daughters-in-law, I could understand how Rachel, the matriarch in Daughters-in-Law (pub 2011), has to adjust when her three sons marry. She manages to adapt to and overcome rifts and crises in their relationships and I trust that, were I faced with similar issues, like Rachel I could adjust and find a new family dynamic.
Too Much to Ask and Too Much to Risk are available on Amazon as both paperback and e-books.
Order your copies here.