Award-winning author E T Ellison grew up in Southern California. He jokes that he wrote his first novel at the age of 12, but that it took him many decades to get one to be longer than a single page. While he’s been writing nonfiction professionally for many years in his work as a business consultant and creative pro, he only got serious about writing fiction in his early 50s.
Never one to do things the “normal” way (something he learned from his father), he developed his fiction chops not by writing stories for magazines, but by writing “occasional tales.” These were stories for an audience of one — usually for a family member (he has a large family) — and written specifically to commemorate a special occasion.
By 2000, he had several thriller-type novels in various states of incompletion. Then something odd happened. What began as a 16th birthday story for his youngest daughter turned into a scifi/fantasy/slipstream novel called The Luck of Madonna 13.
In 2002 Wynderry Press, a boutique publisher conceived around the idea of “books that blossom on the web,” published the Chronicler’s Edition of The Luck of Madonna 13, a hardcover signed and numbered limited edition of 2,434 copies. There was also an elaborate companion website.
In 2003 Wynderry published Recipe Rangers in the West, co-authored by Ellison and fellow Recipe Ranger, Barbara Montgomery. This one-of-a-kind recipe/travel/tale book introduced the world to mobile backroad recipe trading and documented their adventures around the American west in a vintage pickup/camper rig. This book also had an elaborate website.
Among other accolades, the Chronicler’s Edition earned a Book of the Year award and was named to January Magazine’s 92 Best Books of 2002. Although this edition sold out its initial print run, the company ceased operations before the trade paperback edition was completed. Disappointed, Ellison moved on to other projects.
After completing drafts of the first two books in the Hallah Saga, a Young Adult fantasy/scifi series featuring another tough young heroine, he tackled a comprehensive rewrite of The Luck of Madonna 13 and also created a new companion volume: The Chronicler’s Compendium. His new publisher, Clownbox Press, soft-released Kindle ebooks and trade paperbacks of all three novels at about the same time in early 2014. Ellison is currently at work on additional books in his two series.
What passes for a “day job” in Ellison’s world is his role as Chief Unscientist for the Institute for Perplexive Amusement. He lives west of the Cascades in a pigeon-friendly barn with his wife, Womana, and many of the usual barnish suspects. •
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