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😄 I'm a Judge 😄
16th May 2024

So I got invited to be a judge of the Claymore Award – the winners announced at the Killer Nashville International Writers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee!


I’m judging, along with lots of other judges, the first fifty pages of unpublished novels “with the hope of helping writers find agents and break into the publishing world”. It’s unpaid but there’s some glory as my name is there with the other judges at the conference. (And no, I don’t get paid to go to the conference!)

So lots of questions huh? Firstly, how did they find me? It was because my novel Night Vision won the LIANZA award back in 2015. They looked me up and thought I’d be great – which of course I am!

And why did I agree to do this – for free? Okay, I like helping which is why I said yes. But, as I read through these first fifty pages and then decide whether they’re good, and if not then why not, I’m learning loads. There are common mistakes like too many characters that are not needed, at least not in the first few pages, not enough happening to push the story and uneven writing that seems very much first draft. All of these have made me think about my own writing. And work harder.

And what’s it like? It’s difficult, not the judging bit, but I’m struggling with holding the future of these unnamed writers in my hands. And there are so many of them.


It’s a huge amount of work to write a book and so hard to get it right – all these people who have entered are amazing. I wish them all well.   

It’s Out!
30th March 2024

Finder Seeker, the fourth (and maybe not the final!) book of the Thieves Series is now on Amazon! After all those grumpy emails and reviews from you, yes you, about the ending of Real Life, I had to write it. Apologies it’s taken so long – see my earlier post about finding the wonders of Amazon. I love this book. I think it’s my favourite of all the Thieves books. I so hope you love it too. Thank you for believing in me and the series and wanting it so badly I had to write it. All I can say now is enjoy!

I've finally found...
17th September 2023

Don’t laugh! Please! I can hear you from here! But yes, I have finally found the wonders of Amazon. And it is a big deal. Not only can I now publish all the books that have been languishing on my computer for years (THE SOUND OF MY HEART put in Amazon link here is the very first) but they will be more accessible to all of you. Who doesn’t have a phone or a tablet or something to read an ebook on these days? You can buy them for a few dollars instead of $20 or more and download them straightaway. And you can change the typeface to make them easier for you to read (those with dyslexia take note!) I’ve been reading ebooks for years but I never realised all the benefits for me the author and for you the reader. So get excited. There are a whole lot of books coming!

Big, big news!!!
29th June 2023

There’s going to be a new book for you guys to read!

THE SOUND OF MY HEART will be available, all going well, in September.

It will be ebook only to start with and then we’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed!

I wrote it about five years ago and it has sat on my computer for far too long. I love this book and I’m sure you all will too. I am so excited to again be bringing you great stories!

The right books are so important
30th June 2022

Did an online talk with five students from Te Kura (correspondence school) yesterday and it was great fun – they laughed when they found out the some of the problems I had writing Night Vision and it was good for me to remind myself what a difference we as writers make to young people’s lives.  

I remember pre-pandemic how much I used to hate online talks but now they are so much part of everyday life I don’t even worry about them.  


So please – use me!  I’m here!  Get in touch through the Chat With Ella section on this website.  I’m still trying to get books published, I’m still trying to get great stories out there that kids want to read, that get them into books.  And I’m still loving every minute of it.

6th April 2020

Well, almost two weeks into lockdown and I must admit, I’m finding it hard. I miss people! I miss giving people hugs and going for coffee and to the movies and to book shops and visiting schools and well, just everything! I’ve had a few people asking me if they can still buy Night Vision and Rain Fall and although books are not essential items so you can’t buy the paperback versions you can buy them both as ebooks on Amazon, Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Kobobooks and Google Play and a lot of other places. And, if you are studying from home, there are teacher notes for both books – the link is on the book page of this website. Stay safe, stay well and I’m very much looking forward to the day when I can give people hugs again!

Twisty Plots on again next year!
13 December 2019

I’ve had heaps of fun this year holding a free drop-in session for young writers at the Dunedin Library on the second Tuesday of each month 3.30 to 4.30pm. I’ve met lots of amazing kids who are mad keen on writing and who are really, really good at it. Hopefully I’ve managed to answer their questions and help them with working out plots and characters for their stories.

The library has put some of their writing on their website:

So looking forward to this!
16 September 2019

In Dunedin this year we are welcoming some of New Zealand’s best children and young adult writers and illustrators for Wild Imaginings. Wild stands for Writers and Illustrators Love Dunedin (of course!) and we certainly do with so many coming for the weekend – Friday 8 November until Sunday 10 November. If you are a writer or illustrator and want to learn from some of New Zealand’s best creatives book your tickets now!

The full programme is at:

In the Auckland Herald newspaper
13 July 2019
So Excited!
13 June 2019

Rain Fall is part of this amazing list! It’s one of the finalists for the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel which is for crime books written by New Zealanders. There are two other books for teens included – Brian Falkner’s Outlaw and Tina Shaw’s Make a Hard Fist. Check them out! Dame Ngaio Marsh was one of New Zealand’s best crime writers. She was born in 1895 in Christchurch and died in 1982 and was known as one of the then “Queens of Crime” along with Agatha Christie. This is the tenth year of the awards in her name and I am honoured to be part of it.

School Visits
14 May 2018

Rain Fall is part of this amazing list! It’s one of the finalists for the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel which is for crime books written by New Zealanders. There are two other books for teens included – Brian Falkner’s Outlaw and Tina Shaw’s Make a Hard Fist. Check them out! Dame Ngaio Marsh was one of New Zealand’s best crime writers. She was born in 1895 in Christchurch and died in 1982 and was known as one of the then “Queens of Crime” along with Agatha Christie. This is the tenth year of the awards in her name and I am honoured to be part of it.


It’s always great to hear comments afterwards too. Here are some from the Menzies College year seven kids:

“Just started reading Rain Fall and loving it”
“She was a good explainer - you could picture the books in your head”
“She's da man!”
“I really want to read Night Vision!”

So if you want me at your school get in touch. Would love to meet you!

On National Radio . . .
23 February 2018

Sarah Forster from The Sapling ( reviewed Rain Fall yesterday on National Radio Nine to Noon show with Kathryn Ryan – so thrilled.

Listen to it here → Sarah Forster from The Sapling reviews Rain Fall by Ella West

It's here!
17 January 2018
So close but so far away . . .
15 November 2017

The publisher sent me this photo yesterday to tease me! Early copies back from the printers. Very exciting but I wish they were in my hands – not so far away in Melbourne!

9 October 2017

Finally, finally (I think) finished edits for Rain Fall. Off to the printers this week, due in bookstores January. Allen & Unwin have done an amazing job. Very excited (if not a little bit terrified).

Hey, been meaning to tell you!
13 May 2017

Been meaning to tell you about the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It’s in northern Italy and is the biggest children’s book fair in the world and is held every May. My publisher Allen & Unwin represent me there every year but this time my books were also there at the Dunedin City of Literature stand.

Dunedin, where I live, was given the opportunity because it is a UNESCO City of Literature and Bologna, being a UNESCO City of Music, invited us there. I wrote it about for The Sapling which you can read in the link below. So, pretty exciting, for Dunedin and for me!

Auckland Writers Festival
12 May 2016

Loving the Auckland Writers Festival! Talked to thousands of kids, workshops, meeting other authors, it's like, wow! And now I've done my stuff and can just sit back and listen and watch everyone else for the next four days. Thank you Auckland!!!!

23 December 2016

Latest news! My new book is coming out March 2018 (I know, so far away!) with Allen & Unwin. And it’s the one that made me cry when I wrote the ending (see post 2/3/2016) so it’s dear to my heart and it has a murder and a girl and a boy and it’s set in one of the most amazing places in the country. Hope the waiting will not be too unbearable but it will be worth it, I PROMISE.

2 March 2016

What does it mean when you have to stop writing to go find tissues (and I'm not talking about because I'm sneezing) when you are writing the last words of a book?

Great News!
21 December 2015

It's official - I can tell everyone! The New Zealand Film Commission is funding the writing of a script for Night Vision. This doesn't mean that a film is definitely going to get made but it's a step (a very small step) to that happening and it is so great that the commission thinks it's a story that could be made into a film. Wow. Very, very exciting!

4 July 2014

My Italian copies of Night Vision have arrived in the mail and not only are they hard cover (I've never been published in hard cover before) but the yellow piece at the bottom translates as (thank you to Google) "As poetic as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and as disturbing as The Lovely Bones. A fabulous novel." I'm trying to get my head around being compared with such heavy weights in the book industry. Wow. And you can buy it in Italy for 12 euro!

19 June 2015

Stopped in at Unity Books Wellington in Wellington with Leonie Agnew on Tuesday. Our thanks to the staff at Unity for the amazing welcome - fantastic book shop!


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.


The long-awaited fourth Thieves book

is out now on Amazon!

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