Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living .
Elizabeth Ducie trained as a scientist and worked in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years before deciding she wanted a complete change of direction. She gave up the day job, began studying the craft of creative writing, and now writes fiction and creative non-fiction more or less full-time.
When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write about some of her travel experiences instead. She took courses in Creative Writing and discovered she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction than memoirs or life-writing. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. She has published five novels, three collections of short stories and a series of manuals on business skills for writers.
Elizabeth has been writing for more than thirty years; initially producing audit reports, text books, articles and training modules for the international pharmaceutical industry. In 2012 she gave up the day job to concentrate on fiction. She has so far published five novels and three collections of short stories.
But she has also run her own small business since the 1990s. As a scientist, she thrives on spreadsheets. But few writers she meets feel the same way. She writes her Business of Writing series to provide a toolbox of skills, allowing writers to spend minimal time getting their business systems right and releasing them for the creative work they love. She regularly lectures at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and elsewhere.
Elizabeth believes indie-publishing is an exciting opportunity and not merely the choice of last resort. In the past ten years, she has published more than twenty titles under her own imprint, Chudleigh Phoenix Publications, and has coached a number of new indies through the process of getting their books ‘out there’.
Elizabeth Ducie was born and brought up in Birmingham. As a teenager, she won a holiday to France, Spain and Portugal for writing essays and poetry in a newspaper competition. Despite this promising start in the literary world, she took scientific qualifications and spent more than thirty years as a manufacturing consultant, technical writer and small business owner, publishing a number of pharmaceutical text books and editing a technical journal along the way. She returned to creative writing in 2006 and since then, she has written short stories and poetry for competitions — and has had a few wins, several honourable mentions and some short-listing. She is also published in several anthologies.
Under the Chudleigh Phoenix Publications imprint, she has published one solo collection of short stories and co-authored another two. She also writes and lectures on business skills for writers running their own small business, and coaches new indie authors. Her debut novel, the prize-winning Gorgito’s Ice Rink, was published in 2014. This was followed by a trilogy of thrillers, Counterfeit!, Deception! and Corruption! between 2016 and 2018.
Having left Birmingham to study in London, Elizabeth lived for more than twenty years in Wilmington, Kent. In 2007, she moved to the South West of England, where she lives with her husband, Michael, in a converted granary sited picturesquely on the banks of, and occasionally within the path of, a small stream. In 2012, she closed her technical consultancy in order to concentrate full-time on her writing. In 2013 she graduated from Exeter University with an MA in Creative Writing
Elizabeth is the editor of the Chudleigh Phoenix Community Magazine, a monthly online newsletter and for 5 years ran the Chudleigh Phoenix Annual Short Story Competition. She is a member of the Chudleigh Writers’ Circle and Exeter Writers; and is currently Director of Exeter Literary Festival. She spends far too much time on Facebook and Twitter, but has met some wonderful members of the writing community as a result.
When she is not writing, Elizabeth is a keen reader and singer (she is a member of a number of local choirs). She also enjoys live theatre of any kind and shares with her husband a love of fine dining; she is a real sucker for the kind of country house hotel where you can kick off your shoes and curl up with a book in front of a log fire. She would like you to believe she is also a keen walker, enjoying the beauties of Dartmoor and the South Devon coastline—but, as a writer, she’s good at making things up.
Elizabeth Ducie is an author and publisher. She lives in a small town in Devon and these days she rarely travels further than Exeter; she finds going to London is a really big thing; and she avoids going anywhere near an airport. But it wasn’t always like that.
For more than thirty years, Elizabeth was a scientist in the international pharmaceutical industry working with factories and governments in more than fifty countries around the world, helping them to improve the quality and safety of the drugs on sale in those countries. She has made more than one hundred visits to the Former Soviet Union countries and has visited more places in Russia than many Russians. She has worked with hundreds of people, has made some wonderful friends and treasures many happy memories. In the late 1990s she also started writing articles and textbooks; she was editor of a technical journal for a number of years.
In 2006, Elizabeth decided to turn her hand to creative writing and get some of her travel experiences down on paper. She discovered, to her surprise, that the best way for her to capture these experiences is by way of fiction. She has now written three collections of short stories and five novels. Today, she’s going to talk to us about…
When I was at primary school, I was one of the fastest runners and used to take part in local and regional sporting events. I was a sprinter and a hurdler, and I always ran in my bare feet, long before Zola Budd made it fashionable.
I swam a mile, in Erdington swimming baths, when I was about 14. You had to stick to one stroke throughout, and I chose backstroke, as it was the only one I thought I could sustain that long. I had a stiff neck for days afterwards—but I still have the certificate.
When I went to University in London in the 1970s, I was having far too much fun to concentrate on my studies; I failed most of my first year exams and had to take a year off to re-sit everything. When I returned, I was wiser, quieter—and studied harder—but don’t regret that fun year in the least. Not least because the man who has been my husband for nearly 45 years was now in the same class as me.
One of my early jobs was running a small factory in north London. Most of my employees were quite young and I was the only one considered responsible enough to operate the fork-lift truck. I loved the look on the lorry drivers’ faces at the sight of this young woman driver. They were always waiting for me to drop the load off the forks—but I never did.
When I went back to University to study Creative Writing, I panicked for weeks beforehand; not about the studying, but about what I should wear for my return to campus after a break of nearly forty years!