Janet Ellis talks to Our Patch about her journey from TV presenter to published author

Hammersmith resident, Janet Ellis, is most commonly associated with 80s children’s television, but the former Blue Peter host has had quite the intriguing and varied career…

Nowadays, Janet is more likely to be found, with a bag of children’s books over her shoulder, volunteering for West London projects such as The Doorstep Library Network, to inspire children to read. She has also just published her first book, The Butcher’s Hook, in February.

Our Patch recently had the opportunity to catch up with Janet and find out more about the inspiration and journey which lead to her finally getting published.

Janet found inspiration for the book, set in 1763, in her love of the Georgian era, but was initially daunted by the prospect of writing it. After joining a writing group, she was able to summon the courage to finish the book. Of her writing, Janet said “I do quite a bit of scribbling… Sometimes I have a theme in my head, sometimes ideas come from scrapbook items.”

Her research for the book allowed her to indulge her fascination with the Georgian period and the architecture she regularly admires whilst walking in London:

“As a Londoner, I walk around a lot, and the Georgian style has always appealed to me… I’ve always loved the Georgian period, partly because it’s always so overshadowed by the Victorian era that followed. I always thought it would be fascinating to know how it felt to live there, how it looked, how it smelt!”

After 26 years of living in the borough, Janet is firmly planted in Hammersmith. Her daughter, singer Sophie Ellis-Bexter, and her grandchildren were all schooled in the area. However, the younger ones will have to wait to enjoy The Butcher’s Hook for now. She describes it as ‘uncompromising’ and likely to give them unsettling dreams.

The Butcher’s Hook, by Janet Ellis, is available now.

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