Lesson in crime for Sutterton author

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Joy Ellis’s partner doesn’t talk about the incidents she was involved in during 35 years in the police.

Joy imagines some of them were pretty awful, such as the time she tackled a knife-wielding woman intent on killing her husband in an alleyway.

Joy Ellis in one of the garden pods she uses for writing and painting. Photo: SG020415-102TW

Joy Ellis in one of the garden pods she uses for writing and painting. Photo: SG020415-102TW

That particular episode earned Jacqueline Parrish a Queen’s commendation for bravery, the first female police officer to receive it.

While Jacqueline is reticent about re-living some of those experiences with the Surrey force, she is much more expansive when it comes to making sure that the police procedure described in Joy’s crime novels is realistic and accurate.

“She is my harshest critic,” says Joy who shares a home in Sutterton with Jacqueline and their two Springers, Alfie and Woody.

Joy has five books available – two published and the others are e-books, although the author has had some of them printed in paperback to meet the demand from people in the village who read her work.

Joy Ellis (right) with partner Jacqueline Parrish. Photo: SG020415-103TW

Joy Ellis (right) with partner Jacqueline Parrish. Photo: SG020415-103TW

Joy admits she has written a total of 15 books, and that most of them are still in the attic. She has also learned that, as well as making sure that the police procedures are all accurate, producing a book is about the mechanics, of knowing how to introduce a new character, for instance.

She says: “I thought when I had written ‘The End’ I would have a book. I had no idea how many times I’d be re-writing to make it technically correct, and I had no idea when I started writing that I was starting an apprenticeship all over again.”

Joy’s first apprenticeship was with the famous Constance Spry, flower decorator to royalty – Constance decorated Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Joy went on to own her own floristry shop in Surrey, providing decorations to celebrities, as well as for the Westminster Abbey memorial service to actress and singer Anna Neagle.

The books Joy Ellis has in print so far. Photo: SG020415-106TW

The books Joy Ellis has in print so far. Photo: SG020415-106TW

Then recession struck, a supermarket sprang up in town, and by the late 1980s Joy no longer had a business.

Always a book lover, Joy worked for book shops until forced to give that up by a knee injury.

That coincided with Jacqueline’s retirement, so they decided to make a fresh start and fell in love with Lincolnshire.

A writing course in Skyros in Greece that Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend was leading had already given Joy the confidence to begin to write.

The peace of this county gave Joy the space and time to pursue her writing and Mask Wars and Shadowbreaker, published by Robert Hale, followed, and then the e-books. For paperback books, email joy.ellis55@btinternet.com