Exotic pet shop onthe Holloway Road leads to Hollywood aspirations for Crouch End author

Author David Ellis

Author David Ellis - Credit: Archant

On the way to work NHS consultant David Ellis would pass a pet shop in Holloway Road on the bus every day for five years. In his eyes, the shop called Wet & Wild would be conspicuous alongside the other business on the road which looked like they had been “squeezed” into space available.

Recalling his journey, he says: “Wet & Wild had the appearance of a massage parlour because the window was always steamed up – you could not look inside.

“It always looked like there was something strange and mysterious going on.”

Mr Ellis, 62, never had the opportunity to explore inside after the shop unexpectedly closed down but that did not matter.

On retiring, the psychiatric consultant attempted to visualise himself what lay within with startling effect.

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“I always wondered what it was like in there,” he says. “The store had a reputation for having unusual reptiles.”

“When it shut down I thought maybe there is a book to write here.”

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Wet & Wild, published today (31), brings to life the very pet shop which captured Mr Ellis’ imagination so vividly.

Animal were given names, characters – and “unusual abilities” too. And so were the human characters in the book, just to put them on a level playing field.

There is Cyril, the obese mind-manipulating cat, Tibetan terrier Bruno whose gecko pads allow him to climb walls and ceilings, and Freakin’ Frank, a groovy, music-loving, dancing chameleon, who seems all set to take Ibiza by storm.

The main character Roderick, the shop’s owner, is a shape shifter with two twins “inside him” who battle to exert their own personality over the other one.

One of the twins is gay, which leads to a complex love story for Roderick.

Although on the face of it, Wet & Wild seems geared towards young adults Mr Ellis hopes it will leave a wider spectrum of readers entranced.

Wet & Wild is one of six books the Crouch Hill author has written in just two years.

Many authors in the formative stages of their careers struggle to find a publisher, but Mr Ellis, after taking advice from a friend, chose to go alone with his debut novel “Looks Could Kill”, which sold 5,000 times.

Mr Ellis is not letting his ambition stop there though. He hopes Wet & Wild will attract the attention of Hollywood screenwriters.

“I think it would make quite a good film with the individual characters,” he smiles.

Wet&Wild by David Ellis is out now, priced £6.99.

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