Hi. My name is Ellen Allen

I’m an avid reader and indie author, usually found in the south of France, either wild swimming or writing my next story, sometimes with a glass of wine in hand…

I collect titbits on all things bookish as well as advice on how to write, submit, & publish really good fiction.

My First Book, The Sham; What Music Playlists Can Bring To The Party

My First Book, The Sham; What Music Playlists Can Bring To The Party


Six months ago, my boyfriend was quite a catch. Ask anyone.

But that was before the stubbly face, the cruddy clothes, the living rough in the woods. Before the headaches forced him to constantly rub his forehead like he’s trying to remove indelible ink. And way before now where he’s covered in blood, slumped under HOT DRINKS & CAKES on the supermarket cafe floor.

This book is phenomenal when it comes to thriller novels, and is in my Top 3 Thriller Novels of 2014!
— The Book Ramblings Book Blog
What a start! Most YA books are predictable… This murder mystery is something else! A great first book, I can’t wait to read more.
— The Bohemian Housewife

The Sham has a playlist of songs, corresponding to major events in the book.

Playlists can be a different way to market your book to new readers or just provide a useful, and interesting, entry point than the usual “read my book, please?”

1.Emily is witness to four of her classmates bullying a small boy but after meeting Jack, they are able to save him.

2. Some mood and atmosphere for when Emily finds out that her classmate – one of the playground bullies – is dead.

3. Some upbeat vibes for a sad point in the book. After Jack disappears, Emily convinces herself that she really is “better off without you”.

4. Before Ed Sheeran hit the big time - this is the music playing for Emily and Jack’s first kiss; “Take me into your loving arms. Place your head on my beating heart.” Aaaah.

5. Jack doesn’t give his emotions easily away and this song perfectly encapsulates what Emily thinks Jack is feeling – that he doesn’t want to commit – and how he should “dig a little deeper”.

6. The police are trying to convince Emily that Jack is a killer. She’s angry, hurt, upset and feels betrayed: “You killed the love that was once so strong. With no regret to what you did wrong”.

7. This song is playing over the speakers of the supermarket cafe when Emily finally finds everything out – about who Jack is and why the girls died. It encapsulates the complexity of Jack and Emily’s relationship and the situation she has to deal with; “we could be the greatest, we could be the worst of all”.

8. Before the song was everywhere - Will Jack and Emily end up together? Who is the killer? All is revealed to an upbeat tone from Clean Bandit.

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Ka-bam! The Sham! … her book scares the shit out of me!
— Nat's Book Nook
This should be the YA novel of the year!
— Book Stop Corner book Blog
I finished reading this in one sitting and, wow, what a rollercoaster ride… There’s some gritty realness in this truly shocking story… I was a disappointed when the book finally ended. More, please?
— Carrie Reads A Lot Book Blog
Having a plot with a surprising twist at the end and excellent writing, The Sham is a must-read!
— Readers' Favorite
"Old Man" For The BBC; Why It's Good To Start Out By Writing A Play

"Old Man" For The BBC; Why It's Good To Start Out By Writing A Play