About Me

Ella West

Ella West, the pen name of Karen Trebilcock, was born in Invercargill and writes novels for young adults. She now lives on a rural property near Mosgiel, Dunedin, with her husband and two sons. As well as writing fiction, she also works part time as a journalist.

Her novel Thieves was published in 2006 by Longacre Press and is the first book in a trilogy about Nicky, a girl who is taken by a sinister group called the Project who want to use her for her ability to teleport herself with the power of her mind. The second book in the series, Anywhere but Here, was published in 2008 and the third and final book, Real Life, hit the bookshop shelves in late 2009.

Thieves was a finalist in the 2007 NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

She says about the trilogy: ‘I never intended to write a science fiction series. All I started with was the idea of a teenage girl hiding in her closet but I did know I wanted to write a thriller. I wanted to capture teenagers in a story which, once they started, they had to read to the end to find out what happens. However I think I have been too successful – teenagers and also adults have told me off as they have lost sleep reading my books late into the night! What  higher praise from your readers can there be than that?’

Ella was awarded the Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary in 2006.

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40 responses to “About Me

  1. Welcome to the blogshpere, Karen

    • Alyssa

      Hi, I have just started reading your books for a novel study in my english class and really enjoyed them. I am going to get out Real Life from the library today. I really have become attached to both Paul and Nicky and the other characters as well. I hope you keep writing because they are amazing

      • Hi Alyssa
        I hope this site is useful for your novel study. If you have any questions let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
        Glad you like the books.
        Ella

  2. Candace

    Hello. I am a fan of your books. I have jsut finnshed reading real life. I like it alot. It is very brilliant. The only problem with it is now there is none left to read. I did not want it to end. I want to know what hapens next. I also want to know who lived and who died. I hope that you write lots mroe books. I will read them. Even if they are not about Nicky and the others. I will keep cheekign the libary when I am there. I hope that you write lots more books. Thank you for writing the books about Nicky and the others. bye.

    • Hi Candance
      Thanks so much – it’s great to know people are loving the Thieves Trilogy. It makes all the hard work so much easier!
      Yes, it would be great to figure out “the what happens next” at the end of Real Life but at this stage the publishers are not interested and unless film or TV get involved (wouldn’t it make a great TV series?!) there is not a lot I can do – getting a story out there is not just in the hands of the writer!
      But thanks again for your comments – they made my day!
      Ella

  3. Candace

    hello
    Yes a tv series would be very brillaint I think. I know lots of people who would watch it. Two of my friends have also read your books. I think they would like to watch it on tv also. If we wrote a letter to a place that does TV series would that help it become a TV series?

    thank you for replying. I was very suprised. It is nice to get a reply from a writer you think is brilliant. thank you. bye.

    • I course I would always reply – you read my books!
      And thank you for getting me thinking just how to get the story told on the screen – it’s not easy knocking on doors in Hollywood, especially when you live in Dunedin, but I’m going to give it a go and, of course, will let you know what happens. As to writing letters, I think the best thing is for you and your friends to leave comments on this site about how you would love to see the story as a movie or a TV series. Then interested producers, when they check out this site, can see them all.
      Here’s fingers crossed. I’ll need a lot of luck!

    • Sarah

      i would watch it! it sounds awesome

  4. Jess

    Hi Ella,
    This is so exciting if your reading this.
    My teacher gave me your book about three years ago and she said it was great even though I never read I gave it a shot; I loved it!!! It was the first real book I read and I hated that there wasn’t more after them. Then afew weeks ago I was at the library and searched your book to get it out and I saw that it was a trilogy!! So I got them all out and have been falling asleep with your books in my hands at about 5am. Now I’m getting width draws because I’m not hearing about what Nicky is doing. I can’t wait until Asorbed comes out and more of your books after that. Thankyou soooooo much 😀 Its great to hae awesome kiwi authors.

    From Jess 15 Wellington(:

  5. Toni

    hey you came to Tahuna school and talked to my class i really enjoyed your talk and want to say thanks for coming.

  6. Izzy

    Hello,
    I discovered ‘Thieves’ about a year ago through my grandma. I live in England and she sent the book to me through the post. I read it immediately and was hooked! It means a lot as I don’t really go for thrillers but your writing just captivated me. I have now lent out that book to so many of my friends it is well read. I hope you carry on writing! It is nice to read something different once in a while!! I agree about the tv series because it sure would make it easier to get over the internet than having to get sent it.
    Izzy 13 England

  7. Hi Izzy
    Great to hear from a reader from the other side of the world! I wonder who your grandma is and whether I know her???? Whoever she is, it’s great she sent you Thieves. If you want to get other New Zealand books there is a website http://www.nzbooksabroad.com where you can order them (including Anywhere but Here and Real Life) – go to children’s then click on literature then young adult.
    We’ve heard lots about the snow in England recently on the news so hope you’re keeping warm. Must be perfect weather for reading!
    Ella

  8. Jarno Geurtsen

    Hello Ella,

    My name is Jarno and the last 2,5 years i have been working on a book and i am trying to get in touch with the right people who can help me finish the book. It is my first book and i would love to get to know some people who currently write as well. Get some general background, some ideas etc.
    I have been in touch with the Uni off Otago in CHCH and they suggested to contact Ray Prebble, they gave me his e-mail. So i send an e-mail and now waiting with patience.
    It would be great to hear your feedback and love to hear about any gathering at some stage.

    Kind Regards

    Jarno Geurtsen

    • Hi Jarno
      People think writing a book is the hard bit but it is sending it off to someone who hopefully will help you get it published that is really hard. The waiting, the wondering if it’s good enough – I hate it all! There are a few things that can make it easier (although there is no route to guaranteed success I’m sorry). Firstly, have a look at the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) website http://www.authors.org.nz and you might even think about joining. There is lots of information available through NZSA to help you and at the very least you will get to meet people who are going through the same struggle as you. Secondly – keep writing and don’t give up.
      all the best
      Ella

  9. Hi Ella. I’m not sure if you remember me, but you interviewed me for The Star a few years back and I attended your book launch. Way back when you had just put out Thieves. =)

    Anyway, just wanted to drop you a line and find out how you’re getting on.

  10. That’s great to hear. I’ve been buying your Thieves trilogy over the years, and I’m looking forward to Absorbed. It looks really, really promising. Any idea when that will be out? =)

    I’m currently based in Auckland at the moment. I took time off writing for a few years, but I’m getting back into it.

  11. I moved to Auckland after graduation, and I took a few years off writing, but I’m getting back into it once again.

    Do you have any idea when Absorbed will be out? I’ve checked out that chapter you posted, and it looks really really promising. =)

    • If I knew when Absorbed would be on the bookshelves I’d be telling everyone! It’s still at the wait and see stage I’m sorry. Glad to hear you’ve got back into writing. All the best.
      Ella

  12. =) I’ll be waiting for it with baited breath nonetheless! You’re a great writer, and I’m sure it’ll be another hit for you.

  13. Eva Ioannou

    Hi Ella,
    i have just finished reading the third book of Thieves and was wondering if you were going to write a fourth book or write another book from another character’s point of view? I have to say that your books were amazing and that I loved each one of them! Uour books have inspired me to read more so I would just like to say thank you, from Eva 🙂 xx

  14. Shae

    Dear Ella,
    I am Shae and I’m 12 years old.
    I have your book, Thieves, out from my school library and after a lot of avid reading this morning, I am on page 184, I am addicted. And I think I’ve fallen in love with Paul =)
    I’m dreading the end of this book because I just want to keep reading and reading!
    My library doesn’t have the sequel and trilogy so no doubt I’ll be searching desperately for them!
    I’m hoping Paul & Nicky stay together!
    Thanks so much for your amazing books,
    Shae.

    • Hi Shae
      Great to hear you’re enjoying Thieves! Don’t panic about finding the other two books of the trilogy. Either you can buy them (see the Where to Buy page of this blog) or go to your library and ask them to do an interloan for you. An interloan is where your library borrows books from another library – they do it all the time so don’t worry. You just have to ask. Let me know how you get on.
      all the best
      Ella

  15. Jean

    Hi,
    I absolutely love your books, you should definitely write more novels. It’s really cool that you come from New Zealand :). What inspired you to start writing?

    KEEP WRITING 😀

    Jean 12 Auckland

    • Hi Jean
      What inspired me? Not a person, maybe a few books, but mostly I write because it’s fun. This is what I do. I’m a writer and some days it’s really hard and some days it just works but it’s me. Does that sound weird?
      And so, of course, I’ll keep writing!
      Ella

  16. Alyssa Miles

    Hello 🙂
    I am a year 12 aspiring to become an author and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions?
    The first is about money. I’m not going to ask how much you earn because I don’t that would be fair. I’m not really sure how to word this. But..is your income substantial enough to support you? I’ll understand if you don’t answer this one but I wanted to ask anyway because its something I’m a bit worried about. The next is..with it currently being so difficult for New Zealand authors to get published, do you have any tips that might help?
    And lastly, would you recommend any writing courses?
    Thank you xo

    • Hi Alyssa
      No problem – Money, hmmmm. No, I don’t earn enough to support me (or my family) from writing novels. One day maybe I will. One day maybe I’ll have so much money we won’t know what to do with it but so far that hasn’t happened. But besides that, you never know how much you are going to earn say, in the next 12 months. You never know how many books you are going to sell, if you are going to win any awards, get arts funding or speaking engagements that pay. All this means you can’t go to the bank and get a mortgage to buy a house as you can’t state what your income will be. There are other ways to earn money from writing which do have more reliable incomes such as journalism, PR, a job writing TV scripts, so if you can juggle one of these plus writing fiction then you can find a way to make ends meet and still do what you love.
      Getting published – well that’s easy, just write a brilliant book. Which is not so easy. If you have a fantastic novel and persevere until you find the right publisher, don’t worry, you will get it published. Worry about writing the story, not what happens next.
      Writing courses – I haven’t really done any so I can’t recommend any personally but Victoria University is the big one and people who go to it seem to do very well afterwards. There’s also the New Zealand Society of Authors mentoring programme for high school kids and adults (google it and you will find out about it) which is something you should aim for. But mostly read lots. Figure out yourself what works and what doesn’t and why a book is successful or not successful. I hope this helps and all the best. If you have anymore questions just ask.
      Ella

  17. room 7

    Dear Ella, Room 7 here from Arthur Street School. Thank you for coming to our class earlier in the year and talking to us about being an author. We liked the lesson you gave us about narratives and how we need to have the ‘wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time’
    We have just finished having ‘Night Vision’ read to us and thought we would leave you some comments.

    Night vision is an easy book to read to a class of year 7&8 children. the description and information is well balanced for learning and teaching. Ms P.

    It is awesome!!! Tea-Jack H.

    It was amazing OMG wow i loved it WOW!!!!-Josie B

    This book is fantastic!!!!! Wow!!!!!! I loved it!!!!!!-Caitlin B

    A very amazing book you’re a great author – Cailyn M

    Thank you for the epicness! I am glad I read this awesome book! – Amelia R

    You’re a great author Ella West i loved your book Night Vision we thought a movie of this book would be awesome as well – Storm B

    This is a really good book and i really like it P.S you should make a movie -Tenuri E

    Amazing book, awesomeness (enter jazz hands here). Corey S

    loved your book different to most books that i have read so you should keep the good books up. Timothy Tim Tam Lattimier W.

    This was a great book! Alice HP.

  18. Ana

    Hi Ella, i met you in Dunedin and i had you sign Night Vision. i have kept up with your blog and you’re a really great author (my favorite). Please write more books!
    Ana

    • I am writing more books don’t worry but it’s not easy. I must admit one of the few times in my life when I feel really dumb, that is not intelligent enough, is when writing (okay – 3D Trig back at high school was pretty hard too). But writing is soooo hard.

  19. Jessica

    Hi, Ella. I’m Jessica. For my English project, I need to write about you. I read your book ‘Night vision’. I was wondering how you got the ideas for the night vision. And I love your books!

    • Hi Jessica
      Easy question – I saw a 60 minutes doco on TV about kids with XP and I thought what would a kid see who could only go out at night and then I thought the worst thing they could see would be a murder. Then would they tell anyone about the murder, if it then meant they would no longer be able allowed to go out again at night? The rest, after that was easy – of course Viola would lie to protect her freedom, she has to live on a farm because that makes her isolated and vulnerable and her understanding that one day soon she will die makes her brave. She’s a great character. So glad you like my books.
      Good luck with your English project!
      Ella

  20. Evie

    To Ella West,
    Hi I’m Evie Howe and I am from Kaiapoi North School. I went to the Authors workshop on Thursday and really enjoyed it. I was wondering if I could email interview you about your career as an Author?
    Please reply asap.

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