My love affair with romance started when at eleven I discovered a stash of my aunt’s books. After a summer holiday spent devouring them from cover to cover, I was hooked on bad boy heroes and smart heroines. An avid reader for as long as I can remember, I always knew I’d write a book of my own someday, and finally after a career spanning advertising, marketing, and social media, I finally wrote Catching London in 2017.
Amazingly, once I sat down to commit this story to paper (it lived in my head for a long time before that), it pretty much wrote itself. I’m lucky that I had plenty of personal experiences to inspire my writing – which no doubt, made the job easier.
I know what it’s like to fall head over heels in love with a badass musician, having followed my heart and my HEA halfway around the world to be with one.
I moved from my hometown of London to Sydney after a steamy holiday romance with a sexy bass player in sultry Brazil. I have toured with said badass and several bands, in Australia and overseas, and draw from the things I saw and heard during those crazy times in my novels. Twelve years, two children and a dog later, and I’m still in Sydney, and still smitten.
I just LOVED writing this book, it was so much fun! I won’t lie, I fell in (and out of) love with Arlo several times along the way, and found myself really wanting him to get his happily ever after. I especially enjoyed writing the dialogue between them. Arlo is rough and raw – he’s a musician, after all, but despite her delicate appearance, London is no wallflower. She gives as good as she gets always ready with the pithy one-liners designed to put Arlo in his place, and their interaction simmer with sexual tension each and every time.
Let’s Get To Know MV Ellis
Q: What are the top five books that have influenced your career?
A: The first romance novel I ever read was a now somewhat controversial YA classic by Liz Berry, called Easy Connection. In many ways, that book is where my road to becoming an author began. I read and reread it countless times, marvelling in the writing, the themes and the emotions it evoked in me. It’s out of print now, unfortunately, and somewhat of a collectors item, as copies are few and far between. However, somewhat serendipitously, as I submitted my final edit of Catching London to my publisher, I randomly stumbled across a copy on eBay here in Australia. It wasn’t cheap, but I had to have it – it seemed like to much of a good omen, and a fitting reward for my hard work!
The first adult romance novels were those I unearthed at my aunt’s house – they were by Virginia Andrews, Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele – stalwarts of romance. I guess they were influential in introducing me to some of the main tropes and themes of the genre.
My first experience of being truly wowed by a book was Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I think I would have been 8 or 9 years old. To this day I’m still a die-hard Dickens fan. I couldn’t (and still can’t) get enough of the his vivid characterisations and skill at bringing the sights, sounds and feelings of Victorian Britain to life on the page.
Other than that, all of the books I have read have left something with me, and influenced me in some way, especially my favourites.
Q: If you could go back in time before you published your first book, what advice would you give yourself about publishing?
A: Although this is my first book, amazingly, once I sat down to commit this story to paper (it lived in my head for a long time before that), it pretty much wrote itself. I’m lucky that I had plenty of personal experiences to inspire my writing – which no doubt, made the job easier. I decided to just throw caution to the wind and jump in feet first with no real planing. It kind of felt like a case of “now or never,” and I didn’t want to spend time planning and lose the momentum to actually write the book.
With hindsight, though I don’t regret just getting the novel written, I can definitely see the potential benefits of doing a bit more planning upfront, so this would probably be my advice to the former me: take time to plan, it will save time in the long run.
I’m road testing the more planned approach this time around, especially as I will now be writing to deadlines for the first time. Now that Catching London is complete and ready for release, I am focusing on plotting and planning my second novel, and have done some early stage chapter outlines. At the end of this process I’ll decide what method (or combination of methods) works best moving forwards.
One thing I’m learning is that the whole process is trial and error – you can’t expect to nail every aspect of it first time around, but as long as you learn from your “mistakes,” they’re all worth it in the end!
Q: What fictional character would you punch if the face if you thought you could get away with it without going to jail?
A: Not that I advocate violence, but hypothetically, I would happily pop Humbert Humbert, the central character from Nabakov’s Lolita, in the face (and then some). Though this is one of my favourite books in many ways, Humbert is an odious cretin. I first read this book before I had children, and it angered me then – now as a parent, it really makes my blood boil.
About Catching London by MV Ellis
He’s not looking to change his bad boy ways.
Arlo Jones is a badass millionaire rock star with the world at his feet. He lives the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle to the max, and believes in working hard and playing harder. He’s a man who always gets what he wants, especially when it comes to women. Until he meets London.
She’s a damaged dancer not looking to fall.
All London Llwellyn wants is to rebuild her life following the tragic car accident that robbed her of her fiancé, and ended her career as a professional ballet dancer. She’s working two jobs to scrape together the cash to set up her own studio, and reinvent herself as a photographer. The last thing she wants is to get involved.
Arlo promises to always be there to catch her, but can London trust him enough to let herself fall?
I’m immersed in my thoughts when I’m startled out of my reverie by someone grabbing me by the wrist and yanking me backward. Hard. I smack into solid muscle, and know straight away who it belongs to. That doesn’t stop me from screaming in shock—it all happens before my brain registers that I’m in safe hands.
“I. Said. Stay. Where. I. Can. See. You.” Anger drips from every word.
I quickly turn to face him, furious too.
“Arlo, are you fucking insane?” I hiss. “You scared me half to death, grabbing me like that. Did you really just walk off the stage in an arena full of screaming fans to tell me that?”
“Yeah, I did. So what?” The venom in his voice is palpable, as is the wild fury in his eyes.
“So, that’s nuts, is what. You can’t just do that. People are waiting for you.”
The crowd noise has morphed from an indistinguishable din into a distinct chant.
“Arlo! Arlo! Arlo!” over and over again.
“I can, and I did. I’ll do it again if you can’t follow a simple instruction. I don’t give a fuck. I asked you to do one thing for me this whole tour, and—”
“You asked me to do two things —lose the short shorts, and not to leave your sight. But look—neither of those things are in the contract, so I’m under no obligation. I’m a grown-ass woman, and you don’t get a say in what I do or what I wear, no matter how much you throw your weight around. You’re my client, not my keeper,” I add, for good measure.
“So that’s all I am to you, is it…?”
I roll my eyes. “Basically, yes.” Lie. Lie. Lie. “What else would you describe us as, Arlo? We’ve hooked up a bunch of times, and yes, the sex was great, but that’s all it was—mind-blowing sex. Now we’re here, and we’ve agreed to keep it strictly business. So yeah, I’m a contractor, you’re my client, we’re free agents, and you need to get back to your job and let me get on with mine, before we’re both in a lot of fucking trouble.”
At those words, Arlo drops my arm as though it’s red-hot, and begins pacing the hallway like a caged animal. I can tell he’s livid—I’ve seen him in a temper before, but this is something else. Clearly I know how to push his buttons, but this isn’t the response I was hoping for. I figured simply telling him to go back on stage wasn’t going to cut it. In fact, it probably would have prompted him to do exactly the opposite, but I thought my scorn would be enough to get his mind off me, and back to the concert in progress, and the thousands of people waiting to be entertained.
Clearly I misjudged the width of his stubborn streak. Internally I’m starting to freak out—surely the brown stuff is about to hit the fan in a major way if Arlo doesn’t get his ass back out there stat? Unfortunately, I’m now all out of ideas to make that happen.
The chanting in the arena is getting louder and more frenetic—“Arlo! Arlo! Arlo!”—and they’re clapping now too. It sounds like they’re going for blood. He’s a brave man—there’s no way I’d risk riling those women up like this.
I’m completely thrown off guard when he suddenly stops pacing, grabs my arms, and pulls them above my head, pushing me against the wall at the same time.
“Arlo, I think you should go—” I start.
His lips crash down on mine, stealing the rest of my protestation. Despite my reservations, my treacherous body yields to him immediately, and I kiss him back ferociously.
My favorite quote from Catching London is:
“Tomorrow. I’ll give you space tomorrow. Tonight you’re mine, and I’m gonna crowd you like a motherfucker.”