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Interview with Elspeth Tavaci

My favourite pen is a Pilot G27-XS-L from Paperchase. They are small and easy to carry. The ink comes out very smoothly and they come in lots of colours. I buy purple, black and blue for writing with and red and pink for editing with. The idea is that if I like the look of my notes I will read them but what generally happens is I can’t find those special pens or my glasses and I scribble the words down quickly, before that amazing idea vanishes into the ether.


I usually choose my notebooks by the cover and the look. If it looks nice then I’ll want to use it and it will encourage me to work. The size is also important. I like writing outside or in cafes so I always have a small notebook (Virginia Woolf cover Waterstones) I carry with me. I have a larger notebook at home (Time for Tea Paperchase) which I keep by my laptop when I’m working to jot down ideas. I found one with dividers which was useful as I often work on more than one book project at the same time and my notes can get lost. The dividers helped me to keep my notes organised. It also had a zip pocket at the back for keeping slips of paper in. This was ideal for me as I often save pictures and newspaper clippings.

At the moment I have a fixation on copper, so my latest purchases are some copper paper clips and clips from Paperchase. I travel on the tube a lot so I usually print out some pages to take with me and read through. I clip them together.

I have worked for many years in ELT publishing, both as an editor and as an author. I write stories for children learning English and I also adapt famous classics into graded readers. This can mean cutting a 300,000 word novel to under 10,000 words. I’ve adapted books by Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and Virginia Wolfe. I have just finished working on a version of The Railway Children for York Press and I am now working on Shakespeare’s Macbeth – a huge leap. I really love this work as I get to study the books in great detail.  I have also written a children’s book for Frances Lincoln: The Stone of Destiny Tales from Turkey under my married name, Elspeth Tavaci. My ELT books are all written under my maiden name Elspeth Rawstron and they can be found on the Helbling Readers website.

About Mystery at the Mill

My original stories:

The adapted classics:

My two latest releases are:

mystery of the three domes - elspethThe Mystery of the Three Domes published by Helbling Languages in 2016. It’s a mystery story set across three cities, London, Venice and Istanbul. It can be purchased from

Keltic International – Baker & Taylor (UK) Ltd

Phone: +44 (0)1869 363589



Phone:   +44 (0) 333 800 1900

The Birthday SurpriseJPG - elspeth

The Birthday Surprise self-published in May 2017 which was inspired by a visit to the Tower of London and which I have self published as a 16 page story card. It makes a nice alternative to a birthday card. In 1252 King Haakon of Norway gave King Henry III of England a polar bear as a gift and he kept it at the Tower of London. Any queries about The Birthday Surprise please contact me

You can find out more about me on or on my wordpress site:

P.S. the house on the website is available for rent to writers only. Most of my books have been partly written there and I’ve always found it the best place to write and would love to share that special space with other writers.

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