Elli Lewis - A Darkly Comic Tale About Winning the Jackpot
Elli Lewis grew up in North London before studying law at university and qualifying as a solicitor. In the course of her career, she worked at some of the UK's most prestigious law firms, representing a host of A-list clients. Her time in the City gave her a unique insight into the world of high society, fame, and fortune, experiences that would later inspire her literary career. From law, she went on to found a successful copywriting agency, with clients including national newspapers and media brands, including the BBC. To date, Elli has written three novels, the first of which was published in early 2016. Today, Elli lives in North London with her tired husband, two boisterous boys and a colossal Siberian cat. Her favorite pastimes are drinking coffee and sleeping, ideally at the same time. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Lottery Club.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Lottery Club is about.
The Lottery Club is a darkly comic tale about winning the jackpot. It follows the members of a lottery winners’ support group, an unlikely gaggle of misfits, as they come to terms with their good fortune. Unbeknownst to them, someone believes he has a very permanent solution to all their problems.
What inspired you to write about a support group for former lottery winners?
I wanted to explore what happens to ordinary people when extraordinary things happen to them, and winning the lottery is just about as extraordinary as it gets. It seems like a foregone conclusion that winning millions would transform lives for the better, but what if it did the opposite? What if it ruined a person’s life? I chose the support group because of its absurdity in this context – why would lottery winners need a support group? – but also as it brought together a mix of people and experiences.
Do you think that winning the lottery ruins lives in real life, too?
I love this question because it was my research into this that inspired my characters’ arcs. I have no doubt that most lottery winners’ lives change for the better, but there’s no shortage of horror stories, what some call the lottery curse. Sometimes sudden windfall magnifies problems that were already present, such as addiction or family conflict. Some people can’t cope with the magnitude of it all. While others have become victims of crimes ranging from fraud to robbery to murder.
Saying all that, I’d still take my chances...
You have worked for several law firms. How has this influenced your writing?
My work in the City broadened my horizons, giving me insight into the world of the super wealthy, a recurring theme in much of my work. What’s more, both in this and my first book, Trophy Life, parts of the story are based in legal settings. This is both because of the adage that you write what you know and the fact that legal wrangles can flush out people’s most interesting flaws.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I don’t want to boast, but I can name pretty much every item in the IKEA catalogue.
Tell us more about Mark. What makes him tick?
Mark Jones yearns for a peaceful life, a decent version of whatever amounts to “normal” and life’s little pleasures. He loves nothing more than a good night at the pub with friends. He has vague notions of wanting to travel and eventually having a family, but doesn’t plan ahead, expecting that he will eventually arrive somewhere in that vicinity. Despite this, Mark is far from laid back. He fears conflict and change, always opting for the simplest route and allowing others to make decisions for him. When he wins the lottery, he allows his girlfriend to convince him to keep it a secret and cannot cope with the duplicity of his new double life.
Which character did you find the most challenging to create?
I think it has to be Graham Gill. There’s a real test in creating a character that is as quirky and unusual as Graham whilst also making him relatable to others.
Was there a single defining moment or event where you suddenly thought, 'Now I'm an Author,' as in—this is now my career?'
Every time someone buys or downloads one of my books I get a little shiver of excitement.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if it was my best idea, but I was giving my children a bath when I came up with the concept of The Lottery Club.
How much fun do you have coming up with these storylines and characters?
I have the best time creating and developing characters. Then I just wait and see where they take me.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
It’s just me, the cat, my coffee, and a computer for as much time as I can shut out everything else.
What are you working on right now?
The audio version of The Lottery Club is in the works with a fantastic narrator – watch this space – and I am always writing. I’m hoping to release my next book in the coming months.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’m on all the things. You can find me on Twitter @ellilewistweets, Instagram @ElliLewisAuthor and Facebook (ElliLewisAuthor), usually sharing memes and random thoughts. You can also follow me on Goodreads and Amazon. Plus, check out my website, ellilewis.com.