Welcome to the official website of the author Kate Ellis

Welcome to the official website of Kate Ellis

Kate Ellis is the author of two exciting series of crime novels, two historical novels and many short stories.

February 2013

Well the hardback edition of THE SHADOW COLLECTOR (as well as the Kindle edition) is out on 7th February.  I’ve already received my author copies and they look fantastic.  I was talking to a bookseller about the factors that attract readers to a certain book and without hesitation he said it was the cover.  In the case of THE SHADOW COLLECTOR my publisher, Piatkus, has certainly done me proud.

I do hope everyone enjoys THE SHADOW COLLECTOR and its background of Civil War and seventeenth century witchcraft (as well as a reality TV show called Celebrity Farm)   I certainly enjoyed writing it and found the main character, Lilith Benley, stayed with me long after the book was finished.  Strange how some characters you create can seem so real.

Forgetting writing for the moment, I was very excited on Monday 4th February about the announcement from Leicester that bones found in an uninspiring car park have been confirmed as those of Richard III.  Normally archaeologists labour long and hard and important discoveries can be elusive, but in the case of Richard they just opened up the first trench and there he was.  If I put that in a book, my editor would tell me it wasn’t very believable!!

I first read THE DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey (one of my favourite crime writers) a long time ago and since then I’ve read a good deal about the Wars of the Roses and the various theories about Richard’s nature.  As far as killing the princes in the Tower is concerned, I consider Henry VII (or maybe loyal Lancastrians in the tower under the orders of Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort) to be a more likely culprit.  After all, Richard had already declared the princes illegitimate (and produced proof that their father Edward IV had already had a wife when he married their mother Elizabeth Woodville).  However, Henry VII intended to marry the prince’s sister, Elizabeth of York so it was important to him that she was legitimate, which in turn would mean her brothers were legitimate and the legal claimants to the throne.  For Henry to become king he had to get rid of the boys whereas Richard had no real reason to dispose of his nephews. 

I was very impressed by the University of Dundee’s reconstruction of Richard’s face – Professor Caroline Wilkinson and artist Janice Aitken did a fantastic job.  Of course Professor Wilkinson is an expert in facial reconstruction and her work has been used in many murder investigations.  It turns out that Richard was very good looking and slightly built with one shoulder a little higher than the other because of a deformity of the spine known as scoliosis which would have developed at puberty.  I suppose I can claim a special interest as my Yorkshire based detective, Joe Plantagenet is reputed to be descended from one of Richard’s illegitimate children.  The Plantagenet name lives on.

I’ve been working very hard on my next Wesley book…but I’m not ready to reveal anything about it yet.  Watch this space.

January 2013


I think I’ll have to apologise again for another long period of silence.  No sooner was my son’s wedding over (and it was a fantastic day, very informal and very happy) than Christmas was upon us…then New Year and my birthday.  All in all, it seemed as if we were lurching from one celebration to another which was lovely. 

However, once the holiday period was over I had to get back to work and I’ve been wrestling with the first draft of the next Wesley novel that I completed in December.  I don’t know whether it was being distracted by my father’s illness or being swept up with the wedding and Christmas celebrations, but I found the draft needed considerably more work than I anticipated.  This has meant the draft has needed to undergo considerable revision (a bit like knitting fog with sheets of paper scattered all over my office).  I’m just waiting for that moment when everything starts falling into place – for every writer it’s the best feeling ever!


It’s good to begin the New Year with something new and my fellow member of The Murder Squad, Cath Staincliffe www.cathstaincliffe.co.uk has asked me to take part in a blog movement called ‘The Next Big Thing Blog Hop’.  In essence an author answers a handful of questions, posts them on their blog or website and then tags two to five other authors. It's a way of highlighting talent and recommending authors to followers.

The Questions are:

What is the working title of your next book? 

The Shadow Collector

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

A visit to Gallants Bower, a Civil War fort above Dartmouth Castle.  I started thinking what the West Country was like in the seventeenth century.  As I researched, I discovered that witchcraft was a major preoccupation at the time. 

What genre does your book fall under? 

Crime with a bit of history thrown in

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

Definitely Adrian Lester as Wesley Peterson

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

An alleged witch is jailed for the brutal murder of two teenage girls and when she is released the killings start again…but when terrible secrets are uncovered, DI Wesley Peterson finds that all is not as it seems.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by Euan Thorneycroft of A M Heath

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Three months to write a rough first draft but a lot of rewriting after that

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I suppose I could say it’s rather like Peter Robinson or Colin Dexter with a historical back story.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The fact that anybody regarded as an outsider can be particularly vulnerable to accusations, something that has been true throughout history. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The blend of a modern day murder case (which even involves a reality TV show!) with a four hundred year old mystery.

One of the aims of the Next Big Thing is to bring attention to other crime writers’ websites and blogs.  Here are a few for you to visit:

Martin Edwards is the award winning author of two series, one set in Liverpool and one in the Lake District.  His next Lake District Book The Frozen Shroud will be published soon.  www.martinedwardsbooks.com

Priscilla Masters is the author of two series, one featuring Joanna Piercy and the other featuring Coroner Martha Gunn as well as a number of stand alone crime novels.  Her website is www.priscillamasters.co.uk

Frances Brody is the author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries set in 1920s Yorkshire.  Her latest novel is A Woman Unknown. www.francesbrody.com