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Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to start telling lies for a living instead. Elizabeth Ducie trained as a scientist and worked in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years before deciding she wanted to make a complete change of direction. She gave up the day job, began studying the craft of creative writing, and has now writes fiction more or less full-time. When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write about some of her travel experiences instead. She took some courses in Creative Writing and discovered to her surprise that she was happier, and more successful, writing short stories than memoirs or life-writing. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. In addition to her debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink, she has published three collections of short stories and a series of ebooks on business skills for writers. Elizabeth Ducie was born and brought up in Birmingham. As a teenager, she won a holiday to France, Spain and Portugal for writing essays and poetry in a newspaper competition. Despite this promising start in the literary world, she took scientific qualifications and spent more than thirty years as a manufacturing consultant, technical writer and small business owner, publishing a number of pharmaceutical text books and editing a technical journal along the way. She returned to creative writing in 2006 and since then, she has written short stories and poetry for competitions — and has had a few wins, several honourable mentions and some short-listing. She is also published in several anthologies. Under the Chudleigh Phoenix Publications imprint, she has published one solo collection of short stories and co-authored another two. She also writes and lectures on business skills for writers running their own small business. Her debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice rink, was published in 2014. Having left Birmingham to study in London, Elizabeth lived for more than twenty years in Wilmington, Kent. In 2007, she moved to the South West of England, where she lives with her husband, Michael, in a converted granary sited picturesquely on the banks of, and occasionally within the path of, a small stream. In 2012, she closed down her technical consultancy in order to concentrate full-time on her writing. In 2013 she graduated from Exeter University with an MA in Creative Writing Elizabeth is the editor of the Chudleigh Phoenix Community Magazine, a monthly online newsletter and runs the Chudleigh Phoenix Annual Short Story Competition. She is a member of the Chudleigh Writers’ Circle and one of the organisers of the annual Chudleigh Literary Festival. She is also a member of Exeter Writers. She spends far too much time on Facebook and Twitter, but has met some wonderful members of the writing community as a result. When she is not writing, Elizabeth is a keen reader and singer (she is a member of two local choirs). She also enjoys live theatre of any kind and shares with her husband a love of fine dining and is a real sucker for the kind of country house hotel where you can kick off your shoes and curl up with a book in front of a log fire. She would like you to believe she is also a keen walker, enjoying the beauties of Dartmoor and the South Devon coastline—but, as a writer, she’s good at making things up. Elizabeth Ducie is an author and publisher. She lives in a small town in Devon and these days she rarely travels further than Exeter; she finds going to London is a really big thing; and she rarely goes anywhere near an airport. But it wasn’t always like that. For more than thirty years, Elizabeth was a scientist in the international pharmaceutical industry working with factories and governments around the world, helping them to improve the quality and safety of the drugs on sale in those countries. She has made more than one hundred visits to the Former Soviet Union countries and has visited more places in Russia than many Russians. She has worked with hundreds of people, has made some wonderful friends and treasures many happy memories. In the late 1990s she also started writing articles and textbooks; she was editor of a technical journal for a number of years. In 2006, Elizabeth decided to turn her hand to creative writing and get some of her travel experiences down on paper. She discovered, to her surprise, that the best way for her to capture these experiences is by way of fiction. She has now written a number of collections of short stories and her first novel was published in late 2014. Tonight she’s going to talk to us about… When I was at primary school, I was one of the fastest runners and used to take part in local and regional sporting events. I was a sprinter and a hurdler, and I always ran in my bare feet, long before Zola Budd made it fashionable. I swam a mile, in Erdington swimming baths, when I was about 14. You had to stick to one stroke throughout, and I chose backstroke, as it was the only one I thought I could sustain that long. I had a stiff neck for days afterwards—but I still have the certificate. When I went to University in London in the 1970s, I was having far too much fun to concentrate on my studies; I failed most of my first year exams and had to take a year off to re-sit everything. When I returned, I was wiser, quieter—and studied harder—but don’t regret that fun year in the least. One of my early jobs was running a small factory in north London. Most of my employees were quite young and I was the only one considered responsible enough to operate the fork-lift truck. I loved the look on the lorry drivers’ faces at the sight of this young woman driver. They were always waiting for me to drop the load off the forks—but I never did. When I went back to University to study Creative Writing, I panicked for weeks beforehand; not about the studying, but about what I should wear for my return to campus after a break of nearly forty years!
Elizabeth’s Russian Experiences Now Translated into a Novel
A local author who helped modernise a key Russian industry in the chaotic days following the end of the Cold War recalls her experiences in a new book.
The Soviet Union had been dead for just over a year, and the population was still getting used to huge economic, political and social changes when, in 1993, Devon author Elizabeth Ducie flew into Sheremetevo airport on her first business trip to Russia. Over the next twenty years, while helping to bring the region’s pharmaceutical industry up to modern standards, she made more than one hundred visits to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. She observed a system in flux; ate and drank her way through many professional and social occasions; and made some wonderful friends along the way. Now these experiences form the basis of her debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink which was recently published by Chudleigh Phoenix Publications.
“While the story is completely fictional, there are lots of incidents in the book that come straight from my work in Russia. In fact the title character is based on the first Russian I ever worked with,” says Elizabeth, who lives in Chudleigh.
Gorgito’s Ice Rink is a tale of love, loss and broken promises. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito Tabatadze promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again. With the help of of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor, who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, Gorgito battles bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to re-unite a young boy and his sister.
Gorgito’s Ice Rink is available on Amazon as both an ebook and in paperback; or as a paperback directly from the publisher. Review copies are available on request. For more details or a media pack, contact Elizabeth Ducie on 01626 854611 / email@example.com
Gorgito Tabatadze battles bureaucracy, corruption and the harsh climate in his quest to build a championship ice-rink in post-Soviet Russia and bring a lost sister home.
A story of love, loss and broken promises
Bureaucracy, corruption and the harsh climate are just some of the barriers Gorgito Tabatadze faces in his quest to build a championship ice-rink in post-Soviet Russia. On the surface, he is helping a distraught young boy whose sister has moved to America to train. But inside, he is motivated by memories of another lost sister and a promise to his mother which he was unable to fulfil.
Two small boys grieving for lost sisters — torn between family and other loves. Can the fulfilment of one promise make up for the failure to keep an earlier one?
When Gorgito Tabatadze sees his sister run off with a soldier, he is bereft. When she disappears into Stalin’s Gulag system, he is devastated. He promises their mother on her death-bed he will find the missing girl and bring her home; but it is to prove an impossible quest.
Forty years later, Gorgito, now a successful businessman in post-Soviet Russia, watches another young boy lose his sister to a love stronger than family. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice-rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again.
With the help of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, can Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to build the ice-rink and bring a lost sister home? And will he finally forgive himself for breaking the promise to his mother?
Gorgito’s Ice Rink is available on Amazon as both an ebook and in paperback; or as a paperback directly from the author: Elizabeth Ducie on 01626 854611 / firstname.lastname@example.org.