Interview with Elizabeth Ducie and Sharon Cook

Elizabeth Ducie and Sharon Cook, from Devon, have produced their first book of short stories. It is called Life is not a Trifling Affair. Here’s an interview with them. I hope you enjoy reading it.


What made you decide to do a joint book?
We were both working on short stories; we are both new to publishing. It made sense to pool our resources in order to get the book published and marketed.

How did you choose the title of your new book?
An artist friend offered the print and we liked the title which we felt fitted the mix of stories in the book.

Choose one of your favourite stories and tell us where the idea came from.
E: Second Pair of Slippers came from an item in a newspaper in Moscow. The election and the slippers were real – the rest was imagination.
S: I don’t have a favourite story. All my stories are inspired by people I’ve met or interviewed.

What books do you both like to read?
E: I read a lot of fantasy novels, although I’ve only recently tried to write in this genre. I also love crime and mystery novels – anything with a good story that keeps the pages turning.
S: I have a pile of unread books on my bedside table. People often exclaim at the titles on my bookshelves, which cover all manner of fiction and non-fiction. I just love books.

What are you working on now?
E: I’m working on a novel, based in Russia, plus various short stories and non-fiction pieces.
S: I’m currently working on a non-fiction book, based on childhood cancer.

Do you base your characters on people you know or are they purely from the imagination?
For both of us, it’s a complete mix. Sometimes it’s based on a person; sometimes the trigger is a setting or a scenario.

Tell us where you write.
E: In my garden-room, overlooking the stream during the day or in my lounge in the early mornings when it’s too dark to cross the garden.
S: Wherever I can, mostly on my laptop rather than in long-hand – unless I hear or see something that I have to commit to paper immediately.

Do you find that the local area influences what you write?
Not yet, although we both feel that it should. Once we’ve written out all the experiences that we’ve brought with us to Devon, maybe we will start looking closer to home.

(Is there anything you wished we’d asked?)

Where can you buy a copy? At the Chudleigh Phoenix website:

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3 Responses to “Interview with Elizabeth Ducie and Sharon Cook”

  1. Elizabeth Rago 25. Nov, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I do wonder how writers can collaborate together on one book. Maybe it’s because I am still working on my first novel, but I feel so personally attached to my characters that I would find it difficult to sit down and write together. I know this sounds silly, but do you actually schedule time to write in the same room or are you inspired, write it down and come together later? It does sound like a fun process and I would love to hear more about it!

    • Elizabeth Ducie 27. Nov, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth (great name, by the way). Our book is an anthology of short stories. We wrote them separately, then swapped, read, critiqued, edited and so until we were both happy with each one. (In fact there were two – one each of mine and Sharon’s – that we couldn’t agree on – so they were left out.) We then worked together on the layout – mixing the moods throughout. It was great fun. We have quite different styles of writing (as you’ll see if you read the book) so writing a collaborative piece would be much more challenging. Maybe I’ll suggest that to Sharon for next year’s challenge! Kind regards, Elizabeth Ducie.

      • Elizabeth Rago 29. Nov, 2011 at 10:29 am #

        What an exciting process! I look forward to picking up your book. My writing partner and I have really different writing styles as well, so I can’t wait to see a book that displays two different authors in one book…