Meeting Elizabeth Ducie – Hysteria 2015 Judge

Elizabeth is a writer and publisher who has won and been placed in a number of short story competitions in the past seven years. She has also been published in several anthologies. Elizabeth runs the annual Chudleigh Phoenix Short Story Competition, currently in its fifth year; and as a member of Exeter Writers takes part in the judging of their annual competition.

Elizabeth DucieWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

When I was a primary school, I was quite a fast runner. I represented the school in several local and regional competitions. I ran the relay, the sprints and hurdles. I couldn’t get on with running shoes, so ran in my bare feet long before Zola Budd made it acceptable to do so.

Have you ever written naked?

I don’t write naked—although I once wrote a short story about rolling naked in the snow, a story that came straight from my experience of working in Russia during the winter—but I frequently write in my PJs. I’m a lark; I get up very early most mornings and start work without bothering to get dressed first. If the work is going well, I will sometimes work through to lunchtime or beyond before stopping to put some clothes on.

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

I started writing Gorgito’s Ice Rink in 2007. For three years, I worked on the first four chapters: rewriting, changing the order of the chapters, rewriting again. I was scared to move on from there and wondered if I should jack it in and stick with short stories. In 2010, I enrolled for an MA in Creative Writing, not to get the qualification, but to give myself the discipline and structure to finish writing it. By the time I graduated in 2012, I had the first draft more or less finished and the fear had gone.

What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?

There have been so many: our wedding day; watching the mists clear over Iguacu Falls in Brazil; a surprise dinner party with friends that my husband organised for my 60th birthday; but if I had to choose one, it would be sitting on the window sill at the top of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on Sunday 1st April 2012, listening to Anne Tyler give one of her very rare public interviews. The sun was shining through the stained glass and was hot on the back of my neck. The previous day had marked the end of my technical career and this was my first day as a full time writer – and I had a shiny new notebook to prove it!

Where do you find your inspiration?

I spent more than thirty years working in the international pharmaceutical industry, visiting more than 50 countries. Many of my stories are set in locations I have visited, and based on people I have met or incidents I have observed: an unusual item in a newspaper story; a table full of food left uneaten in a restaurant; a family in tears as they say goodbye to a young man at an airport.

Finding Elizabeth Ducie

You can also meet Elizabether on her blog at: elizabethducie.blogspot.co.uk; on her website at: http://www.elizabethducie.co.uk/; on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Ducie-Author/312553422131146 and on Twitter by the name of @ElizabethDucie.

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