Ella West was born in Invercargill. When she had read her way through the children’s library she used her older brother’s card and began on the adult section.
She intended to study science like her brothers at the University of Otago but a drama camp she went to when she was fifteen made up her mind to persuade her parents to let her study English literature instead. She completed a BA at Victoria University.
A university holiday job, reporting at the Southland Times, taught her an understanding of the craft of writing and led her to the West Coast after a stint at the Evening Post in Wellington. In Westport, the journalist married a shearer and together they went dairy farming on the banks of the Buller River. It was there, between getting the cows in for milking, teaching drama and raising two sons, she wrote her first novel, Thieves, which was shortlisted in the New Zealand Post Book Awards the following year.
Anywhere But Here and Real Life quickly followed to complete the Thieves Trilogy and her many fans are wanting a fourth book.
She and her family now live on a rural property at Janefield near Dunedin, where Ella writes full time when she isn’t chasing sheep and cattle on the farm.
Her book Night Vision won the 2015 Young Adult section of the LIANZA Awards and was the Young Adult Children’s Choice winner in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.