She thought she would never go back…
Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father.
Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.
With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…
Lexie Elliot’s debut novel, The French Girl, was a brilliantly suspenseful summer read in which six university friends on holiday in the idyllic French countryside become inexorably entangled with Severine, the fascinating girl-next-door.
Lexie’s latest novel, The Missing Years, promises more suspense, with Alisa Calder forced to return to her claustrophobic childhood home in order to settle her mother’s estate.
But what makes the author of these books tick? In today’s blog post, I’m delighted to welcome Lexie to The Shelf to introduce herself and to tell us Ten Things About Lexie Elliott!
10 Things About Me
By Lexie Elliott
I swam the English Channel. Solo.
It was in 2007, one year after having my first child. I think it was driven by a need to do something that made me feel like I was still the person I had been before. It took twelve and a half hours – and no, I didn’t wear a wetsuit. It remains one of the things in life that I’m most proud of, because it was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The Channel is known as the Everest of open water swimming challenges, but it’s not really the distance that makes it so hard; it’s the cold and the currents.
The French Girl wasn’t the first book I wrote
Like most writers, I have a previous novel saved in a folder on my laptop. You don’t become a writer by suddenly turning up at the gates of a publishing house fully formed. I learnt a lot from writing my first novel—and even more from editing it. I hope I will always keep learning; I hope every novel will be better than the one before it.
It’s an incredibly important part of my identity. I grew up in a tiny village at the foot of the Highlands and the impact of the natural physical landscape was inescapable; it confronted you every time you stepped outside the front door. Now I live in London—which I love—but that connection with the land itself isn’t present. Writing The Missing Years gave me an opportunity to pay tribute to the setting of my childhood.
My favourite book is Sheri S Tepper’s Grass
I return to it every few years. The world-building is spectacular, but it’s the characterisation that draws me back to it. Good sci-fi only becomes great if the characters are strong enough to take you along for the ride.
I have a tattoo. . .
. . .but you won’t ever see it. I got it done when I was 18. I had a belly ring for a few years too, but that became a casualty of pregnancy.
I have a PhD in Theoretical Physics
I hated the lab work in my undergraduate Physics degree so I took a theory option to escape it, and it turned out I was pretty good at the theory side. I never thought I would stay in academia; I just wasn’t quite done with physics after my first degree. I picked my doctoral thesis topic partly because it required me to teach myself to computer program, and I wanted to finish with an obvious transferable skill.
I ran 100km
It was in 2015. We are a family dealing with Alzheimer’s and I did it to raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland – and, of course, to prove to myself that I could. It took just over 10 hours. Some of my toenails sheared off from the nail bed and began floating in blister pockets of blood and pus (I have pictures). Four years later, those particular toenails still aren’t quite what you would call normal.
I cry every time I hear Fairytale of New York, by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
Listen to the words—properly—and you might cry too: the idea of looking back on a life of unfulfilled dreams is heart-breaking. My two boys are used to it now; they come to cuddle me as soon as they hear the opening bars on the radio.
I still work in the city of London
Everybody keeps asking me if I’m going to ditch the city job now that the writing is taking off, but I love my job—I’ve worked hard for that career. I also don’t see why I have to be one thing. There are many different sides to me. Why can’t I be many things?
I met my husband in a swimming pool
It was at the highly uncivil hour of 5.45am. I had just joined the triathlon club that he was already a part of, and my first training session with the team was a swim session. He claims I swam over him several times, whereas I would use the word past. Either way, he can’t have minded much. And anyone who thinks you look good at 5.45am is a keeper. . .
Thank you so much to Lexie for coming to guest on The Shelf and for telling us more about her!
As someone currently training for my very first 10k (shameless plug: it’s in aid of the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice and all sponsorship is greatly appreciated!!), I am in absolute AWE of that 100k run – and of the early morning triathalon training sessions!
My thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy of the book in return for an honest and unbiased feature, to Lexie Elliott for providing a guest post, and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. The tour continues until 15 June 2019 so please check out the other stops on the way for reviews, content and more!