The Usual Stuff
Ellie Marney is a teacher and author of the Every series (Every Breath, Every Word, Every Move), a highly-awarded crime trilogy for Young Adults now published in Australia and overseas. In 2015, Every Breath was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in libraries nationwide. Ellie has helped spearhead a collaborative group of literary sector professionals under the banner ‘#LoveOzYA’ to advocate for and promote Australian YA literature, and she hosts a book club – ‘#LoveOzYAbookclub’ – online. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and is a regular speaker at schools, events and festivals.
Ellie was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia, Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about YA literature, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.
The Other Stuff
I grew up in Queensland, Australia – yes, I grew up with bananas, not haybales. I was always the reading kid. And sometimes the writing kid. In Year 6 I wrote an elaborate fantasy novel about a princess and a race of elves and a crystal…yeah, obviously a little high on Tolkien and David Eddings at that point. In high school I used to read while walking – to class, and pretty much everywhere else – so I’m probably lucky I didn’t fall down a flight of stairs or something. That would have been an early and grisly end, after a promising start (but wow, the gossip mileage at school would have been *epic*).
Before I had all my babies I lived in other countries too, so I can speak Indonesian and I know how to barter like a Singaporean, and I can order chai for five people in Hindi. I once spent five months training yoga six hours a day, six days a week – I was so fit I had a six-pack. Sadly, those days are gone, but now I get to write for hours every day, so I think it’s a pretty good trade-off.
I moved to Melbourne in 1993, to apply to film school. I quickly figured out that I just wasn’t cut-throat enough to work in film, but I fell in love with Melbourne and met my future partner there. We ditched Melbourne for years of running about overseas, where I worked as a teacher and lived in a rural part of West Sumatra for a long time and adapted to eating vast amounts of chillie. I kept journals, which are incredibly embarrassing and unbelievable to read through now. In Padang, I jumped off my bike to punch a guy who was hassling me through the passenger window of his SUV in slow-moving traffic…all the crazy stuff I did, omg!
Now I write, and I could sit and do that *all day* but I have to do other stuff as well. I read a lot (you gotta read a lot), and I live in country Victoria. I try not to be a forgetful parent and partner, and I occasionally do stuff in my garden. I grow tomatoes. I bottle stuff. I still teach, and sometimes I talk about books at libraries and schools and events – because I could talk about books endlessly, so it seems like a miracle that people actually want to put a mic in my hand and listen. I still do crazy stuff sometimes too, and I can run a chainsaw and shoot a rifle (an air rifle, come on) – so, y’know, duck. I like mangoes, and avocado on toast, and galahs, and night jasmine, and jumping in the dam on a hot night. And I like that you read all this, so thank you! I like you too.
Image © Justin Bernhaut.