Which Books… Kirsty Ferry

Kirsty has a new book coming out TOMORROW! So I sat down with her for a chat about her favorite books

So here we go…Kirsty

Which book do you wish you’d written

Nice and easy one to start with. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – it’s got some of the best phrases in ever, and to be able to write a book which has stood the test of time, like this one, would be incredible.

Which book cover have you looked at and gone that’s amazing.

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal. It caught my eye in Waterstones, and the whole hardback was beautiful, with gold edged pages as well as a little ribbon bookmark. It simply fell into my hand. Funny, that.

the doll

Which book character/s would you protect from the world.

Sounds a bit daft, but the boys from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. I studied it for my degree and it suddenly struck me that those adventurous boys would be called up in WW2 to fight. It was a horrible feeling and made me feel quite sad – it must have been a good book to strike me in that way, though.

Which was the last book that broke your heart.

I’m very careful not to read books that break your heart! The world is horrid enough at the minute as it is. I know I have had tears streaming down my face at certain books in the past – but I’ve actually blanked them out. Again, it sounds crazy, but I was emotional writing a certain scene in my own book The Girl in the Painting!  Not that I suggest every author is emotionally attached to their characters…well, actually, yes we are. However, I suppose one that inadvertently broke my heart was Us by David Nicholls. I felt so sorry for the narrator. He was trying so hard to keep his relationship going, and his wife and son were just generally horrible to him. I did like the TV version, as it closed a loop that was sort of left hanging at the end of the book, so I was happy about that.

Which book would you make children read.

I have made him read Green Smoke by Rosemary Manning, my favourite childhood book. Also, the Just William books and the Secret Seven, Famous Five and The Magic Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton. And Stig of the Dump!

Which book would you rewrite in a different genre.

That’s a hard one. Can I again return to my own? I did rewrite A Secret Rose from it’s original Gothic Romance/Victoria Holt genre to a dual timeline/timeslip – it’s still got a hint of the Gothic in though. I started it in 1997! If I really enjoy a book, why mess with it?

If you could write any genre which one would it be.

I’m lucky in the fact I do write in my favourite genres – dual timeline, timeslip, ghostly goings-on with a bit of Gothic Romance thrown in if I can sneak it by. I’ve also done some romantic comedy contemporary books, and that’s  a genre I’d like to pick up again, as it makes you feel cheerful when you write it, as well as read it. Again, ideal for these weird old times. Who wants to read about reality??? Not me.

If you could redesign any book cover which one would you choose.

Oh dear. I don’t know. I know how much thought goes into book cover design and it’s a hugely specialised field. I think there was bone chinaone I railed at a while ago for the simple reason that the heroine’s hair was a different colour on the front to what it was in the story and that irked me. I do dislike the ripped bodice, half naked Highlander ones. And maybe, if I was being truly picky, I’d change Bone China by Laura Purcell – nowhere in the book is a little girl. There is an adult who is treated like a child – but no little girls. But that is, as I say, extremely picky, because the rest of the cover is lovely.

Which book taught you the largest lesson about life.

I have no idea. I’ve always read for pleasure, never for ‘bettering myself’ or for the sake of sounding literary or highbrow. In practical terms, I would say The Secret of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph was invaluable when my son was little.

The best advice I ever read was ‘let them win the battle, then you will win the war’, closely followed by when you’re telling your child off, let them know it is their behaviour you’re complaining about, not them; so you say, ‘I love you very much but I don’t like your behaviour here.’ They were miracle worker phrases, honestly. Lots of positive reinforcement was encouraged as well.

Which three books would you take on holiday in 2021.

I’d probably take my Kobo and my Kindle and then I could choose some old favourites I like to  reread. Beyond that, it’s whatever I’ve picked up at the bookshop beforehand – something light hearted and summery would do the trick. I don’t like having to work at my reading – it has to be easy to read and engage me so I can really chill out and enjoy it.

 

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Coffee, cake and cats …

These are a few of Lexie Farrington’s favourite things, and when she walks into the Thistledean Café in Edinburgh, she’s delighted to find all three: coffee, cake, a big black cat on a purple lead being held by a very grumpy-looking pirate. Okay, maybe she wasn’t quite expecting that one …

Of course, Billy McCreadie isn’t really a pirate; he just knows a lot about them and is on his way to give a historical talk to school kids, hence the get-up. He’s also in desperate need of a cat sitter.

When Lexie steps in, little does she realise that Billy will be the key to a hidden Edinburgh she would have never discovered herself, and he might also be the man to help solve a certain piratical puzzle of her own …by little … one by one

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You can keep up with all things Kirsty Ferry related

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Kirsty Ferry’s other books can be found here.

Check out my Meet The Family post with Kirsty HERE!

 

Holly’s Christmas Secret – Kirsty Ferry

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 80 days to go!!!!

Kirsty

Hi Kirsty, great to be able to catch up again and talk about your new book Holly’s Christmas Secret and of cause Christmas!

 

Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Kirsty?

I love it.  I particularly enjoy my Christmas dinner, pjs after that and prosecco, chocolate and trashy tv all afternoon! Calories don’t count on Christmas Day, right?

Of cause all the veg we eat with Christmas dinner cancels everything else out

What are your likes and dislikes about Christmas?

I love the build-up and my favourite day is perhaps Christmas Eve as it’s still magical, even as an adult.

pedestrians-400811_640What I don’t like is the fact Christmas starts in the shops in September, and I hate the commercialism part of it – that makes me sound miserable, perhaps, but I think it’s more than just parents getting stressed and overspending. 

A three-year-old isn’t going to remember Mummy’s perfect Christmas table – they’re going to remember playing with their toys all day, and eating a boat load of chocolate until they are bouncing of the walls.

Actually, who am I kidding – that’s me with the chocolate, that is!

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

A mixture of both. My Christmas tree still has three very special decorations on it – a pom-pom owl and a pom-pom Santa which I made in primary school, and a white felt snowman I made in secondary school. He has a red knitted hat and a red knitted scarf, and my gran knitted those for him, so he’s extra special.

Since I had my own son, we have always put a mince pie, a carrot and a drink for Santa on Christmas Eve. My husband and I argue over who has to bite the end off the carrot each year to make it look as if Rudolph ate it. I usually try to bargain out of it by saying I’ll have the wine and the mince pie instead, but it doesn’t always work. My son is 19. We still do it. We still argue over it. And I’m pretty sure it’s his turn to be Rudolph this year.

We always go to the Family Crib Service on Christmas Eve with a whole load of our friends, and we always take a picture of the kids in the same position outside the church afterwards. Means as the oldest ‘child’ is almost 23, and the youngest is 16, we’ve been doing it for a while now!

Then we go home, order a Chinese takeaway and eat it on our knees in 1765f5e1906c6e0f4e5108e1ae5196ed1d-19-muppet-christmas-carol-movie-2.rsquare.w700front of the Muppets Christmas Carol. I always wrap my presents whilst watching Elf, and on Christmas afternoon it’s new pjs, prosecco, a bath with my new bath products and new Broons book or Oor Wullie book – depending on which one is out that year – and eating chocolate until I pop. Bring it on!

Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

It can snow on Christmas Eve after I’m back from church, stay white and snow a bit on Christmas Day, then melt overnight for Boxing Day! That’s it.

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

I was taken to visit Santa Claus at Fenwicks in Newcastle when I was about five. My mum and grandma took me, and we had sausage and chips in the rooftop restaurant at the Co-Op before we went. Once we were at Fenwicks, we were ushered into a magical sleigh ride, and it was really dark. The ‘sleigh’ moved off, and fake snow came down from the ceiling and I remember it settling on my coat. I was wearing one of those brown furry hats that were all the range in the 70’s with pom pom things on the cords you tied under your chin and had a brown furry muff to match! The ‘snow’ stopped, and the lights came back on, and these black velvet curtains parted and there was Santa’s Grotto in front of me! I don’t remember getting the sleigh back – we were probably let out the fire exit! But I remember the journey to the grotto  very well.

What was the best present you received as a child?

51RHNuElGqL._AC_SL1000_Tough one – I’ve had some lush presents. My Bedtime Bear Care Bear is fab – I say ‘is’ because I’ve still got him, and he lives in my bedroom. Also, I got a bike with a basket on the front when I was 16 –a purple Raleigh Caprice.  I wanted to be Myfanwy from the David Essex video. I’ve still got that bike and have been using it this summer. Love it.

That’s the one present I always wanted and never got a Care Bear!

What was the one present you always wanted but never got?

A Mr Frosty! My husband, however, sourced one out for me a couple of years ago and I was very happy. I made alcoholic frozen cocktails in it. So then I was very happy.

What is your favourite Christmas carol and Pop Song?

Ohhhhh Do they Know it’s Christmas by Band Aid is right up there, along with Fairytale of New York by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues, Last Christmas by Wham and David Essex’s Winter’s Tale. They are ageless. Can you tell I’m a child of the eighties…? If I had to go classical, I love Prokofiev’s Troika, and carol-wise I’ve always loved We Three Kings of Orient Are, Little Donkey, and In the Deep Midwinter.

If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?

All those songs I mentioned before. And a good proportion of other famous Christmas Songs. But nothing modern by Reality Show contestants….so totally not Christmas records. And that takes us back to commercialism again.

What would you buy the main characters in Holly’s Christmas Secret for Christmas?

Holly, my historical heroine, would appreciate a big box of watercolour paints. 

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Noel, my historical hero, would probably appreciate a typewriter or a nice fountain pen.

type writer

Sorcha, my contemporary heroine, would love something like a Primrose Bakery Cookbook or a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (I have both, highly recommended).

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Locryn, my contemporary hero, would probably appreciate a first edition of a certain book – but to find out which one, you’d have to read my book…

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Holly’s Christmas Secret

 

 

Once upon a Cornish Christmas …

It’s almost Christmas at the Pencradoc estate in Cornwall which means that, as usual, tea room owner Sorcha Davies is baking up a festive storm. And this year Sorcha is hoping her mince pies will be going down a treat at ‘The Spirit of Christmas Past’ exhibition being organised at the house by new local antiques dealer, Locryn Dyer.

But as Locryn and Sorcha spend more time together, they begin to uncover a very special story of Christmas past that played out at Pencradoc more than a century before, involving a certain ‘Lady’ Holly Sawyer, a festive dinner party and a magical secret encounter with a handsome author …

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Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale ‘Enchantment’.

Her timeslip novel, ‘Some Veil Did Fall’, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, ‘The Girl in the Painting’ in February 2016. ‘The Girl in the Photograph’, published in March 2017, completes the Rossetti Mysteries series. The experience of signing ‘Some Veil Did Fall’ in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!

Kirsty’s first timeslip novel ‘The Memory of Snow’, commended in the Northern Writers’ Awards, is set on Hadrian’s Wall, with the vampire tale ‘Refuge’ set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. She has also put together a collection of short stories, a non-fiction collection of articles and writes Gothic Fiction under the pen name Cathryn Ramsay.

Kirsty has had articles and short stories published in Your Cat, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices, The Weekly News and It’s Fate, and her short stories appear in several anthologies. She was a judge in the Paws ‘n’ Claws ‘Wild and Free’ Children’s Story competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014, and graduated from Northumbria University in December 2016, having achieved a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing.

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Meet The Family – Kirsty Ferry

Meet The Family – Kirsty Ferry

 

Today, I have caught up with Kirsty Ferry whose Ebook is due out this week,  Kirsty is a Choc-Lit pro…

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Hi Kirsty and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another member of the Choc-Lit family and learn all about you and what you have in store for us.

 

What inspired you to write “Lily’s Secret?”

I wanted to write a second book based at Pencradoc, the Arts Centre in Cornwall  that started life as a stately home in A Secret Rose, and I was playing around with a theatrical storyline –  I’d been on holiday and seen a collection of old photos in which some Victorian children in another stately hEvelyn Nesbitome were acting out a Pageant and getting all dressed up. I was dipping in and out of Google for inspiration, and saw some articles and pictures of Evelyn Nesbit, who was an American artists’ model, chorus girl, and actress in the early part of the 20th century. She was a true celebrity of her time and was associated with a hugely scandalous and murderous love triangle. I really wanted to create my own version of Evelyn, and thus ‘Lily Valentine’ came into being: the beautiful and scandalous Victorian actress who stars in Lily’s Secret.

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I loved the name of it! Also, they were happy to take on romance novels of all genres without an agent, and as timeslip and dual timeline is my kind of thing, yet also quite niche in some ways, I thought I’d try it. The first draft of my first novel needed quite a bit of work, but I was very happy to accept that, and so grateful that Choc Lit had seen the potential, that I was delighted to throw myself into edits to make it better. I still am.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

‘You’ll get there, so just go on as you’re doing’. I’ve always messed around with writing from being a child, but I only thought about getting published seriously in about 2010 or thereabouts. I probably wouldn’t change much, to be honest. It’s all worked out in its own time for me and I can’t say I could have done it much differently, when I think about my job and my family. I knew I had to wait until I had time to write more. I got a part time job after twenty years working full time, and my son grew up a bit which helped a lot!

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?nougat-272934_640

Probably eating chocolate! I’d just be doing my day job, I suspect. Maybe I’d indulge in a bit more arty stuff myself, if I had the time.

 

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

I took it on the chin as you do – it was a little frustrating, but I always got ‘good’ rejections in that the YA books I was doing were “good but just too niche” so I ended up self publishing. I was very lucky though, as Choc Lit were the first people I sent my ‘grown up’ book Some Veil Did Fall off to, and it all escalated from there.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just do it. You can buy all the books in the world telling you ‘how’ to write, but you need to actually get those words on paper at some point. I was lucky that I did a couple of modules on my degree which were Creative Writing modules, and they never felt like work as I enjoyed them so much, so maybe if you can do a course where you get proper feedback, that would be an excellent bonus. It also trains you to let people read your work, without you rolling in embarrassment in the corner, like I used to!

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

I can usually write better in an afternoon, funnily enough. And I do like to have a nice coffee and some chocolate or a couple of biscuits when I do it. I just defend that habit by saying they help the words flow…ahem.

Which authors inspired you to write?

Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Barbara Erskine and Emily Bronte. No question.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

"The Great Gatsby" World Premiere - Outside ArrivalsOhhhh – good one. You know, I haven’t really thought about the character1800x1200_chris_hemsworth_others in this book in that way, surprisingly. Maybe Isla Fisher for my red-headed theatrical contemporary heroine, Cordelia, and you’ve sent me hurtling again to Google and I’ve come up with Benoit Marechal for my artist hero Matt. If Chris Hemsworth was available, of course I’d let him have first pick of the role….

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What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’ve got a Christmas book with the panel, which is the third book in the Cornish Secrets series, and I’m writing the fourth one as we speak. I’ve also got two Schubert the Cat novellas with them, so hopefully they will get published at some point as well.

More About Kirsty

Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in various magazinesHer work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.

Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.

Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

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‘There’s nothing logical about Pencradoc!’
Aspiring actress Cordelia Beaumont is fed up of spending summer in the city. So, when the opportunity presents itself, she jumps straight on a train to pay a visit to Pencradoc – the beautiful Cornish estate where her friend Merryn works.

But far from the relaxing break Cordy imagined, she soon finds herself immersed in the glamorous yet mysterious world of Victorian theatre sensation, Lily Valentine. Lily was once a guest at Pencradoc and, with the help of visiting artist Matt Harker, Cordy comes to discover that the actress left far more than memories at the old house. She also left a scandalous secret …

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Check out Kirsty’s profile on the Choc-Lit website for more information on her  books!