"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

An Interview with Ngaire Victoria Elder

Independent Publishing and marketing can be a real warzone, but it can also be a pleasure. I've met so many lovely people lately that if I don't sell another book, I'll have experienced one of the best times of my life. In the world of Indielit, you get used to seeing the same people hanging around the videprinter and there's a little esprit de corps developing, a pleasant sense of community in our little corner of the world. 
Cecilia Spark Scribbler Ngaire Victoria Elder
A big part of this are the regular bulletins from a page called The Adventures of Cecilia Spark, written by the charming Ngaire Victoria Elder and when the opportunity arose to chat to her, the Wizard dropped his cauldron stirrer,magic wand and book of spells and grasped it with both gloved hands.

Hi Ngaire, lovely to meet you.

And you, Wiz! This is my first ever interview and to be honest I'm a bit nervous!

I'll be gentle with you then ! So tell Wizardwatchers a bit about yourself.

Thanks. I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and spent a lot of my childhood playing outside with my brother and my imaginary friends. 

I remember the day my grandfather found the wild bunnies that I had caught and hidden in my bedroom. My childhood was memorable.

After leaving school I went to college and university (part-time) and embarked on a career in the health and safety sector, qualifying in 1993.

I met my husband through my work and we have 4 children. By the time my third child was born childcare was too expensive and working was not feasible. We moved to Southern Spain about 8 years ago and have not looked back. 

Sunkissed Alicante - Paradise on Earth

We have adapted to the Spanish way of life very well and my children attend a local Spanish school. It is a great life.

Love theme from BBC's doomed expatcom, El Dorado

Allow me to express my official state of Envy, Ngaire.

You're welcome to! Now, I spend my time taking care of my family our collection of animals and testing my skills in the kitchen garden. I devote any spare time to learning and speaking Spanish, reading and writing.
It sounds ideal, but at the end of every day I’m exhausted …. But I love it … I’m hoping it will keep me young (te, he, he!)

Si senora! Pollo con patatas avec Cerveza, pour favour!

Something like that, Wizzy. Something like that!

Okay, you’re a writer of children’s books. What attracted you to that medium?

Juvenile fiction found me! I didn’t sit down and think ‘Okay which age group am I going to write for?”

I think what appealed to me about this ‘genre/age group’ was the interaction that I could have with younger children. I adore it.

I visited a primary school in Northern Ireland this year in May (Hezlett Primary School, Castlerock, County Derry) and the experience was enriching.  

I read my first book (plug time The Adventures of Cecilia Spark, the Brimstone Forest) to 120 children. It was more of a reading event – there was prizes given out and my sister-in-law and I baked 135 dragon shortbread cookies for the children and teachers.

Cecilia Explores The Brimstone Forest

These little extras made the reading experience unforgettable for the children thus creating a greater interest for them in the book world.

Tell Wizardwatchers about your current project.

I’m in the process of doing the final edits on Book 2 in the series, The Adventures of Cecilia Spark. 

It’s called the "Mystical Mountains of Terra". 

I’m looking to publish it as an ebook and paperback autumn 2012.

Also, I’m working on a project with my daughter, Fearn. She is an amazing artist and I had an idea for a younger Cecilia Spark book, a sort of introduction for children to Cecilia Spark’s adventures. 

And so, I asked Fearn if she would like to be the illustrator of the rhyming picture book and she agreed.

Fingers crossed, by Christmas this year I hope to have the Mystical Mountains of Terra and the Cecilia Spark rhyming picture book available on Amazon.

I will be producing a Book Trailer to accompany the release of the Mystical Mountains of Terra. This is an area that I’ve learnt so much about.

Do you work with an illustrator? How does the partnership work? What are the nuts and bolts of the partnership?

The illustrator for both books in my series is Peter Maddocks.  Peter is the creator of children’s greats such as Jimbo Jet Set, Penny Crayon and Family Ness. 

He was a cartoonist for many years for several major tabloid newspapers. www.petermaddocks.com

I’m very fortunate to have Peter Maddocks as illustrator of my children’s books; his talent is awe-inspiring. 

As for the ‘partnership’ it isn’t one; it’s a friendship. Peter reads my manuscripts and creates what he sees. The book cover images are amazing and he has captured the characters perfectly and brought them to life!

I notice you are a prodigious marketeer. What does your typical working day involve? Do you set aside writing time?

Wow … my working day includes anything from mucking-out the horses to cutting our home-grown hay to finally getting all 4 kids to bed before I collapse. There is never a set pattern to my days.

Yes, I do the ‘networking/marketing thingy’, and at times it does eat in to my time. But that balances itself out. When I’m busy I won’t spend as much time being the Marketeer.

Realistically, writing comes second to my family and that’s how it shall remain. That’s not to say I’ll produce inferior work or not support other Indie Authors or not read Blog posts and other features etc etc relating to writing. It simply means that if I don’t get the 2 hours I need to write today, I’ll do it tomorrow.
And as for being a Marketeer, I enjoy it because I get great satisfaction from supporting other authors.

What were your ambitions as a younger woman? How did you come to be a writer?

Who’s to say that I’m not still a younger woman … ! ha, ha ,ha.  Ambitions as a younger woman … mmm … let me see. Simple really, was to be happy and be good at what I do and I believe I have achieved that.

And as for getting in to writing, well, I had some time on my hands when my children were at school and experimented with some ideas that had been floating around in my head.  

I didn’t fall out of bed one day and decide to be a ‘writer’. It sort of just happened. And I still have my note pads from 5 years ago when I first started jotting down notes and scribbling ideas.

Beastly Moorish slavers have kidnapped you while you were sunbathing and you find yourself clapped in irons in the dungeon of some Marrakesh castle. Luckily, the Caliph is a kindly soul and allows you three books, two CDs and a DVD (or any combo you choose, as long as the 3-2-1 proportion remains the same.) What would you choose?

The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Complete Call of the Wild Audiobook!!!!!

The Blown Away Rabbit by Enid Blyton (childhood memories and many broken golf umbrellas later).

Endless Nostalgia

Anything by Mark Rashid – A Good Horse is Never a Bad Colour.

Mark Rashid Horse Trainer

Mark Rashid - the man in the black hat

Eva Cassidy any of her albums.


This is a toughy … ! It would have to be House of Flying Daggers by Zhang Yimou.

Kung Fu Fighting

Which 2 artists would you invite for dinner and what would you cook and where would you eat.
Beatrix Potter and Monty Roberts. I wouldn’t cook as I’m a hopeless cook. I would phone for take away. Which would be a mixture of seafood, paella, salad and garlic bread, finishing with my mother’s homemade sherry trifle.
I think we would have to dine outside, in a field surrounded by wild horses.

We've got something in common on the cooking then! I love my food. Also, I'm a big fan of Monty Roberts: What are your feelings on the great horse whisperer?

Famous Monty Roberts blanket for stalls entry

I think his style and approach to horsemanship is so natural. I've read his book 'The Man Who Listens to Horses' and it was a wonderful insight in to the world of horses for my family and myself. At times I cried. His understanding and kindness towards these beautiful creatures was and still is unique. 

If you haven't read 'Shy Boy' by Monty Roberts I recommend you do. He is truly a horseman in a million. 

And do I like horses ... ? I love horses. As a child I was scared of them, a couple of bad falls and that was it. It was my daughter who introduced us to the wonderful world of horses because of her addiction to horse-riding. We have a mare and her foal. Well, the foal, Legend, is know over 2.5years. He was born in our stables. 

So, you see Monty Roberts natural horsemanship has played a big part in our rearing of Legend and of course helping Misty overcome her fears

As for horse racing I don't know a thing about it. Love the film Secretariat. 

Oh, and my grandfather had a race horse - Solhaven. Broke his leg in his box and was put to sleep, that was in the 1950s. Think he held the track record for Ayr Race Course (trial) before his life ended rather tragically. 

Secretariat's 1973 Belmont Stakes - truly astonishing

(Scuse me a minute...Ngaire. I'm filling up. Unbelievable sport...ahum)

Thanks for that, Ngaire. Fascinating. What do fans of Ngaire and Cecilia Spark have to look forward to in the coming year?

I have fans do I (emphasis on the plural ‘s’) …? ha ha ha Well, I shall continue with Book 3 in the series and hopefully have that published by summer 2013.
Also, I’m planning more Cecilia Spark books for younger children (2-6 yrs of age).

I would like to fit in a few more school visits. In fact I have one booked for October this year.

And, if I achieve all that and maintain my sanity I’ll be very happy.

Ngaire, you are an inspiration and an Indy success story. Your enthusiasm is a credit to us all. It's been lovely to talk to you.

Thank you, Wiz for the opportunity to share with your followers. It has been a wonderful experience. Take care, N x

Contact Ngaire on:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478172002 link for US customers for paperback edition of Brimstone Forest.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1478172002  link for UK customers for paperback edition of Brimstone Forest.

http://www.amazon.com/Ngaire-Elder/e/B006VXOUN8  link for Amazon Author Central page


www.ceciliaspark.com  link for my website where you can browse the Things To Do page, have a look at Cecilia Spark’s adventures and read a bit more about what’s being going on in Cecilia Spark’s world.


  1. Great pictures and a great discussion.

  2. love this interview - very interesting

  3. loved finding out about my dear new friend, what a great interview!

  4. I read the interview again, nearly a year on, wow, did I say all that ...? HAH, loved our interview, Wiz ... great blog you have at the Cauldron, thank you n x

  5. Great interview - lovely to find out more about other authors - especially all the horse stuff that is so close to my heart!


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