Hello, friend! I'm Ellery.
I started writing because I believe in the power of words to build bridges, to foster empathy, and to shift our perspective. A well told story can change the world.
I grew up in rural Virginia and found my love for words as a child. Long summer days and chilly winter nights by our living room fireplace were spent with books, soaking in the words of writers and learning the ins and outs of good storytelling.
I wrote my first 300-page book when I was 12 and continued from there. It was something that felt innate in me. When Eric Liddell would run and he said he felt God smiling, that’s how writing feels to me. Sometimes it’s extremely frustrating and the words don’t come and feel forced. But sometimes I feel God smiling.
I went on to study creative writing through masterclasses and workshops and books over the next ten years, writing a new manuscript every year or two. Then I had a 4-year-long season with no words. Work demanded all my creativity and left me bleary-eyed and dry. Until 2020, when slowly the spark began again and the slower pace forced by the pandemic brought me back to what I truly want to do with my life: tell stories that shift perspectives, broaden horizons, and build empathy.
In a digital age where we are segmented and isolated and surrounded by voices that sound like our own, I think books, and especially novels, are more important than ever.
There is something unique and sacred about a story’s ability to let us see life from a different point of view. So my hope is that my books are a breath of fresh air, a return to delight, an opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world in a new way.
Joy is a soft rebellion. A gentle uprising. A mutiny against the pressing darkness.
Words are powerful.
Every person is valuable. And their stories are worth sharing.
Good food is always worth it.
WRITING BRINGS ME JOY.
And if I had to choose between joy and ambition, I would choose joy hands down. But I don’t think those two are necessarily mutually exclusive. For me, joy redefines ambition.
Instead of climbing the corporate ladder or necessarily pursuing the “American dream” of more and more stuff, pursuing joy and meaning offers a different set of benchmarks for success. I find myself prioritizing people over projects, slowing down and noticing the world around me, creating a life with enough margin that I have time and energy to write.
The pandemic was really good for me because it forced me to slow down in a way I don’t think I would have otherwise. I’m a pretty high-capacity high-achiever and it’s really easy for me to get focused on performing.
The slowing down made me reconsider what I value and what I want at the end of my life. When I die, there are a few things I truly care about: I want to look back on a life that was lived with people I care about and I want to do work that matters and I want to write books that shift people’s perspectives.
Of course, to some extent I had made moves in that direction before the pandemic (quitting my job at a large nonprofit and moving laterally so that I could live in Charleston, reading books like Deep Work and Rest and Get Your Life Back and doing some incredible life-coaching with my friend Jess Connolly). But the pandemic was the longer-than-normal moment of pause that I needed to really decide to shift things.
So, I think my pursuit of joy and a more holistic life that allows me to focus on the main thing (in my case, writing) started a long time ago, with small moves in that direction and a deep internal “knowing” that I was called to write and tell stories. But the pandemic clarified that I needed to make those moves now.
So here I am, an entrepreneur and sister and friend and food lover and writer. On a journey to write stories that shift perspectives and bring joy.
(The Short and Sweet and Random)
WHO I AM:
I am the middle child in a family of 5 sisters. (People call us modern day Pride & Prejudice or Little Women but I don’t love either of those because, let’s be honest, Mary is boring and Beth dies.)
A big believer in joy and building a life where you love the day-to-day.
I’m very extroverted and love my friends, my church, my city.
WHAT I DO:
Read about 1 book per week.
Never fully finish TV shows because the last season always ruins them.
Spend way too much money on quality balsamic vinegar and good Irish butter.
Development consulting for nonprofits. (My sister and I started a business together.)
WHAT I LOVE:
People. People are fascinating.
Lounging. By the beach. At the lake. With friends. Or alone.
Old records and music from the 50’s and the 70’s.
Elvis. Need I say more?
Anything made with exorbitant amounts of sugar.
My mom’s chili.
Farmers markets and art galleries.
Finding old photographs and old houses for story inspiration.