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.
Ella West is a multi-award winner teen thriller writer who farms sheep and beef with her husband near Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. She likes cooking and gardening but doesn’t like cleaning the bathroom. She occasionally goes trout fishing with her family and they hate her when she catches a fish and they don’t. Her chickens keep getting out and destroying her garden. In other words, life is tough.
And then there’s the sheep.
WARNING: Do not start reading an Ella West book when you are about to go to sleep. Ella West will not be responsible for late nights, sleeping in or missing the start of school the following day.
I lived in Westport for about 15 years after I graduated from university. I went there for my first fulltime job and fell in love with the place. When I went back a few years ago for an author tour, a pupil at one of my talks asked me why I hadn’t written a book set in Westport and I didn’t have an answer. So I wrote this book.