Ella West was born in Invercargill, a city too small to be exciting but too big to allow her any freedom while growing up. When she had read her way through the childrenís library she used her older brotherís card and began on the adult section.
She intended to study science like her brothers at the University of Otago but a drama camp when she was fifteen gave her the confidence to persuade her parents to let her study English literature instead. She completed a BA at Victoria University of Wellington.
A university holiday job, reporting at the Southland Times, taught her an understanding of the craft of writing and led her to the West Coast (after a stint at the Evening Post in Wellington). In Westport she married a shearer and together they went dairy farming on the banks of the Buller River. It was there, between getting the cows in for milking, teaching drama and raising two sons, she wrote Thieves.
Ella lives on a rural property at Janefield near Mosgiel, and works as a journalist. She still misses the bush and the mountains of the West Coast and swimming at the beach.
Ella is the winner of the 2006 Louis Johnson/Creative New Zealand Bursary for New Writers and Thieves was a finalist in the 2007 NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
The sequel to Thieves, Anywhere but Here, was published in August 2008 and was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award in 2009. The final book in the trilogy, Real Life, is due to be released in October this year.