Author Interview She’s Bad News


How long have you been writing?

Since I was about eight years old! I was always obsessed with books, and had a lot of Ladybird books when I was younger. So I used to make my own, by folding sheets of A4 paper and writing my stories on one side, and illustrating them on the other.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Currently I love to write women’s fiction. I enjoy writing stories that are uplifting, with relatable heroines and plenty of laughs.

Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

People have told me I should try writing crime fiction which, I admit, would be an interesting genre to explore. Maybe it’s something I’ll consider in the future! Other than that, I’ve had a YA idea in my head for many years, so hopefully soon I’ll finally sit down to write it.

Please tell us about your book.

She’s Bad News is about Bella Brown, an aspiring reporter still living in her small hometown, who wakes up one day to find she has super powers. Seeing as her journalistic dreams have yet to be fulfilled, she decides to use her abilities for a bit of career progression. Bella decides to keep her ‘P-Word’ a secret until she’s managed to find out just where her powers came from, but she soon finds out that leading a double life is not easy.

Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?Oh, and she’s an overnight superheroine. So there’s that.

As for my least favourite, Tom is a prime candidate, along with Bella’s boss, Layla. But I don’t want to spoil anything.

Predictably, my favourite is probably Bella! And not just because I envy her super abilities. Bella sticks to her goals despite the obstacles that get in her way, and persists even when she thinks she’s failing. She’s also funny, resourceful and daring! Yes, she has her faults, but hey, who doesn’t?

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The most difficult part was probably the editing, having to cut the initial word count down by a big chunk and, inevitably, lose some scenes that I really liked. I did several rewrites to get it just the way I wanted, but I always had to cut chapters and, in some cases, characters (sorry, Cameron!) When it comes to editing and rewriting though, after a while there comes a point where you have to be cruel to be kind.

What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I don’t have a set schedule (but I’m trying to maintain one at the moment!) Strangely, I seem to do my best writing when I have limited time. Targets and deadlines work well for me. I have a full-time job, so I fit my writing around that, going to the cafe nearby for an hour or two before the working day begins, or having a writing session in the evening. I always keep a notebook with me at all times should inspiration strike (and it usually does at the most inconvenient moments). That’s the one thing I always need to have!

How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

The initial first draft took me a month. After that, I did several rewrites and each took a good 4-6 months! I wrote a few versions of the novel before settling on the final. There was even an earlier draft in which Bella lived in London, but I didn’t fall in love with it and instead returned to Bella as a small-town heroine as she was in the original story.

Can you tell us about your editing process?

When it comes to editing, the first step for me is the Red Pen of Doom. I get a printout of the manuscript and sit down to scribble all over it. (I’ll admit, it’s a bit old fashioned but it’s therapeutic!) I’ll read through, taking into account any feedback I’ve received, and note what needs to be removed or changed. Once that’s done, I’ll start a new Scrivener file and begin writing a brand new draft.

Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

At the moment Bella’s story is a standalone novel, but I have been thinking of writing a sequel (and I even have ideas for the plot!). However, I’m currently enjoying working on other projects, so any plans of revisiting the town of Hartleybourne wouldn’t be for a while yet.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Also, if you want to write, write what makes you happy. Don’t write something because you think it’ll be the next big trend; write for you.

The most important advice (which you’ve probably heard a million times already!) is to read and write as much as you can. Just keep writing. If you’re thinking about writing a book but are also considering all the reasons why you can’t – ignore them and just do it. Write a first draft, and keep writing – don’t keep going back to edit and make it perfect, that part comes later. The feeling of actually writing ‘The End’ is amazing.

Why should everyone read your book?

Because it’s fun, it’s a bit quirky, and it explores the idea of a regular person getting super powers! If She’s Bad News gives people a couple of hours of fun reading it, then I will be immensely happy. That’s all I want!

If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose? Secondly, I’d like to meet Gina Kirkham. Her debut novel, Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, was released last year and I love it. She’s a wonderful author, a former police officer, and is absolutely hilarious. Her book and blog posts have made me laugh and cry; she sees the funny side even in times of such sadness and her writing is so uplifting. Plus, if she’s anything like her character Mavis Upton, meeting her would be so much fun.

And my third choice? Jayne Fisher. In the 1970s, Ladybird Books published the Garden Gang series, which Jayne wrote and illustrated (at the age of nine!). As a child in the 80s I had all of these books, which sparked my ambition to become a writer. I wanted to be a young author like Jayne, so I wrote and illustrated stories too. Sadly, I don’t know if she has written any books since, and I would love to meet her to find out what she’s doing now, if she still writes, and of course, to say a huge thank-you!

Hmm, that’s a tricky one! Firstly, I’d choose Stephen King. I love his books (well, I’m still working my way through his many novels and recently finished Pet Sematary), and I’ve also read his memoir, On Writing. The advice in it is fantastic, and he seems very down to earth and realistic. I’d love to chat about writing and his love for horror.

What inspired you to write your book?

I’m a huge fan of comic books and have always wondered what it would be like to have amazing powers. It’s one of those big questions we all ask ourselves sometimes, isn’t it? Like, if you won the lottery, what would you spend it on? If you had super powers, what would you do? I thought it would be a great concept to explore. I also read a lot of women’s fiction, and wanted to combine my favourite genres and write a women’s fiction novel with a superhero element. And so it began.

Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

Right now I’m working on the rewrite of my second novel, which is quite different to She’s Bad News. After that, I’ll go back to working on the first draft of book three. It has nothing supernatural or strange in it, which is a first for me!


Elle Spellman is a writer and comic book geek living in Bristol, UK. She’s been writing since a very young age, spending her childhood afternoons penning stories about fictional adventures, and illustrating them too.

Now, Elle writes contemporary fiction with kick-ass heroines and a little bit of magic. Her other interests include running, red lipstick, the paranormal, and all things Batman.


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Twitter: @capesandcorsets