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Q&A with Ellery Lloyd, Authors of The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby

Q&A with Ellery Lloyd, Authors of The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby

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Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for the London-based husband and wife team of Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos whose last novel, instant New York Times bestseller The Club was a Reese’s Book Club pick.

Collette is a journalist and editor, the former content director of Elle (UK), and editorial director at Soho House. She has written for the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Sunday Times. Paul is the author of two previous novels, Welcome to the Working Week and Every Day Is Like Sunday. He is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich. They are the authors of People Like Her and The Club.

I really enjoyed The Club! It was so entertaining and a total wild ride.

The authors are back with a new novel: The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby. This is a twisty mystery involving a cursed wealthy family and a Surrealist painting which holds the key to three suspicious deaths over the course of a century.

Let’s get to know Collette and Paul as they talk favorite novels, their writing process, The Club being selected as a Reese Book Club pick and more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

Collette: In researching The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby, we read a lot of mysteries set in and around the world of art and antiques. It’s a favourite sub-genre of mine! My absolute all-time favourite is Headlong by Michael Frayn, a farcically funny page-turner which features a long-lost Breugel. Totally different but fabulous is LS Hilton’s Maestra series – a steamy and glamorous art romp through the high-stakes world of auction houses and art sales. And as a huge fan of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, we were absolutely thrilled that Dominic Smith read and loved our novel. 

When did you two decide to start writing novels together?

Collette: Paul has written two previous novels and is a professor of creative writing at Greenwich University, and my background is journalism, but we’d been together for eight years before we actually tried writing together.  The catalyst was not being able to go out – we’d had our daughter (she’s six now) and our social life took a nosedive, so decided to do something productive with our evenings – after we’d watched every single season of Game of Thrones

What is the writing process like?

Paul: Fun, for the most part. If there’s a knotty plot problem, we can untangle it by talking it through (we used to do this on car journeys but now our daughter is old enough to understand we find it harder to talk about murder…). And when one of us is unable to write, the book still gets longer as the other one keeps going – what’s not to love?

What interests you both the most about writing thrillers and mysteries?

Collette: It’s the genre I read in most frequently, and I really love creating complex and intricate plots. There’s always one more twist and turn! Paul’s previous novels were comedies and they’re wonderful, but I can’t understand how you you’d know where to start or end one of those as a writer – I like books that race towards a denouement, where you just have to read one more page before turning off the lights…Anyway, when we started writing together I persuaded him to come over the dark side!

What was it like to find out The Club was selected as a Reese Book Club Pick?

In the moment, quite stressful! I’d taken our daughter to see a Christmas film as a treat but it really scared her and so she was running in and out of the cinema. And then our editor called from New York out of the blue, and I was trying to speak to her at the same time. In the end, the lovely girl who worked there gave our daughter a chocolate ice cream and sat with her while the life-changing news was delivered!

What can the audience expect when they start The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby

Paul: To be, we hope, immersed in a darkly glamorous world. 

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Collette: We have gone down the rabbit hole with time travel books and the history of London’s streets…all in the name of research for book four!