Elizabeth Gill was first published at the age of eleven when she wrote a poem for her local weekly newspaper and got an article and a picture in the paper because of it.
After that it was all downhill. Being an author is not a recognized profession where she comes from and her mother always wished she would get a proper job.
Alas, having started as a journalist, which she hated, and then being a house journal editor, which she hated even more – and worst of all it was a really good salary – she started writing full time and spent her husband’s meagre earnings for several years before finally having a short story accepted when she was twenty five. It paid fifty pounds and took care of the Christmas presents that year. So you can tell how long ago that was. However the magazine which accepted it promptly went bust and it was never published.
At the age of thirty she finally had a novel published with Robert Hale. It was a short historical and brought in the princely sum of £150. She wrote six historicals for Hale and fourteen Rainbow Romances and they did very well abroad.
When Rainbow Romances finished she had already begun the first saga. The Singing Winds took seven years on and off to write. It was taken on by Hodder and Stoughton who published the next five novels between 1995 and 2001. They then thought better of it which was a shame because the last novel they published was the first in a trilogy.
Severn House published the sagas which followed, including two more trilogies and several stand alone books. All her sagas have been published in big print by Magna books and all but the first saga – there were no audios at the time ! – in audio.
Elizabeth Gill was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and brought up in a tiny pit village in Durham where it has been known to snow in July. She began writing before she could join up letters. Her father owned a steelworks there. Her mother was a farmer’s daughter from Weardale.
She went to Durham High School for eight years and also spent a year in upstate New York at Emma Willard School when she was seventeen.
30 Second Questionnaire
Where were you born?
Newcastle upon Tyne
What’s you comfort food?
Smelly cheese like Stinking Bishop
What’s your favourite tipple?
Dog or cat?
I’m a country girl. You name the animal I love it and have probably kept it
What keeps you sane?
What scares you?
Town or country?
I live in the city and have a static caravan in the country.
What’s your favourite holiday read?
Anything by Hilary Mantel or Peter Robinson
What is the best present you’ve ever received?
The three diamond ring my husband gave to me the last Christmas we had together.
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve got older?
That the most important things to me are the state of my daughter’s happiness and the size of my overdraft.
What would people be surprised to discover about you?
I can milk a goat.
Sweet or savoury?
Cheese and olives
What is your favourite sport?
Tennis. Also snooker. One mind on one.
What is your favourite way to travel?
Would you rather read the book or watch the film first?
Don’t mind. I love both.
Night in our night out?
Out. Restaurants, theatre, concerts.
What are you currently listening to?
Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. I love opera. Favourites – Madam Butterfly, Handle’s Julius Caesar. We are having Christmas concerts here almost every night so it’s Ralph Vaughn Williams and Britten. Live music is so inspiring and fills me up and makes me happy.
What are you currently reading?
William Boyd, Waiting for Sunrise and various books about women in medicine, especially the first women doctors in America in the 1860s.