Elisabeth Linley has a master’s degree in Natural Sciences and is a clinical psychologist. A nature lover, she lives in the Northumberland countryside surrounded by wildlife. In her spare time she enjoys long walks in the hills with her husband and their dogs; visiting stately homes and agricultural shows; cooking; baking; gardening; reading and knitting. Last, but not least, Elisabeth cherishes her relationship and time spent with her son. Lanesbrough Hall is her debut novel.
In many ways, my story begins with my childhood passion for books. I loved reading - I still do - so much so that my mum used to say, “you devour books.”
For me, reading is not something you do to pass the time. It is pure enjoyment to get lost in another world, and live the highs and lows of the characters. However, when I was 18, it never crossed my mind that I could become an author.
I studied psychology and have been practising for almost thirty years now. Over those years, my clients would tell me ‘Elisabeth, you should write a book.’ They meant a book on psychology and mental health. My answer was, “well, maybe one day I will.” But I meant a novel!
I guess the seeds were sown somewhere in the depths of my mind until 3 years ago, when I was considering a career change, and I decided it was finally time to pursue my ambition.
I began to write in the evenings and at weekends when I had time. It was the strangest of experiences. The words would pour onto the screen like water from a tap that was suddenly turned on, and just as abruptly they would stop. Eventually, after 3 months, I had written a full manuscript.
Recently I read on an author website that the first manuscript is usually just getting the story out of your head, and the next three versions help you to refine the story. But at the beginning, I did not know that - so call me naïve – and I sent my first manuscript to some agents and publishers. You can imagine what happened next! Of course, nobody was interested, but to be fair, a few gave me constructive feedback along the lines of “you have something good but it needs a lot more work”. Then I contacted Cornerstones, a literary agency who, after reading a sample of my work, felt they would be able to work with me.
I spent the subsequent 18 months working with 2 mentors and it was one of the best things I ever did. Writing is a skill and there are so many techniques and Do’s and Don’ts. I learned so much in that time and eventually I had a book that I was proud of - and Lanesbrough Hall was born.
Though Lanesbrough Hall is a family saga, and not a textbook, I have addressed a number of serious mental health issues through my characters’ journeys including loss, bereavement, depression, trauma, domestic abuse, complex parent-child relationships and transgenerational trauma. I hoped to share some of my knowledge gained as a psychologist with my readers.
As for me, I have so much more to learn, and we all know the only way to hone a skill is by practising. I already feel excited about writing my next book!