James Ellson

Location: Hayfield, Derbyshire
About me...

I used to be a police officer, starting in London and finishing as a DI at Moss Side in Manchester. When I left the police I started writing and have been writing ever since. Six manuscripts including a memoir, From Cop to Coppicer. After 10 years of trying, my debut novel was published in 2020 – a crime thriller called The Trail.
I now wear two hats; in addition to writing, I run a smallholding. I live in the Peak District with my wife. We’re self-sufficient in fruit and veg, and keep chickens and bees (turkeys at Christmas!). My passion is fruit trees, especially apples.
I’m also a keen mountaineer, and an experienced public speaker.
I may be available at short notice, it is always worth contacting me if you have been let down.

About my Talk...

I will bring a projector and laptop with my talks on PowerPoint. I will need a screen / wall to project onto.
I can also deliver talks ‘stand alone’ which is often required for After Dinner and Luncheon presentations or where the venue is not suitable for presenting an illustrated talk.

My talks can be delivered as virtual presentations – zoom etc


£75 Plus mileage costs from my home in Hayfield, Derbyshire SK22; the nearest town is Glossop and I’m prepared to travel 90 minutes, possibly further depending on the size of audience and appropriate travel expenses.

My Contact Details:

07958 930049

Cops & Jotters

Public Speaker in Derbyshire James Ellson presents his talk Cops and Notebooks.

After leaving the police, it took me 10 years to write and publish my debut novel, a crime thriller called The Trail.
It wasn’t for lack of trying!
This is the story of that long road.
The talk starts with my police career, and my interest in mountaineering.

It then covers my writing journey from magazine articles on climbing, to an MA in Creative Writing, to published author.

I will discuss my attempts at the various routes to publication (traditional / independent / self-publishing / hybrid). And highlight the route which worked for me.



From double-glazing to crime fiction: how to sell a book (or anything) in a crowded marketplace

After taking 10 years to publish my debut novel The Trail, I was surprised to discover I also had to sell it!

I put together a 25 date book tour, and launched at Waterstones in Manchester.

Then Covid-19 struck and scuppered the rest of the book tour!

This is the story of how I tried to promote and market The Trail before, during, and post Covid-19.

Living Sustainably – is it possible?

We’re all familiar with the bleak environmental outlook, climate change and the pressure on resources.

Most of us are trying to do something about it.

In this talk, I look at what sustainability is, and how better to achieve it with our food, and our day-to-day living.

It’s something I believe passionately about.

I will draw on my experience of managing our smallholding . . . we are now just about self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. We have solar panels, a wood pellet boiler, and are zero sum users of electricity. And we try to follow the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle.

This talk will give everyone at least a few ideas how to live more sustainably.

I Ate My Last Herefordshire Russet This Morning – An Introduction to Growing Apple Trees

My passion on our smallholding is apple trees, and I am aiming for 100 varieties. Currently, 64! 

I propagate all my trees by whip and tongue grafting or budding, and I am experimenting with apple breeding (developing a new variety). 

This talk looks at the history and geography of the apple tree, how to grow them, propagation, and breeding. 

Includes the story behind the naming of the Bloody Ploughman apple. 

And a demonstration in whip and tongue grafting.

A Turkey is Just for Christmas – Winter On the Smallholding

A light-hearted talk for November and December, this talk looks at winter jobs and activities on the smallholding. 

Including . . . 

  • How we name our turkeys after the (not so) good and great 
  • Winter in the kitchen, for example, how to make cassis 
  • The story of the discovery of the Christmas Pippin apple (2005)
James Ellson Contact Details:

07958 930049

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