I chat to fellow Choc Lit Author, Kirsty Ferry


I'm thrilled to be sharing this Festival of Books and Bookishness with fellow ChocLit author Kirsty Ferry, who has been writing for much longer than me and has an impressive sixteen published novels to her name.

Sue: Hi Kirsty! You are very young, but you have quite a string of published novels behind you. When did you start writing?
Kirsty: I’ve been writing since I was a child, but had to have a break when my son was born, and I found I had no time to do anything.
When he was about seven I got made redundant and did an OU writing course which I enjoyed, then went on to complete my degree with them alongside starting a new job. Two of my modules were Creative Writing, so I had fun with those, and actually all of the stories I wrote for the course have all ended up published in some shape or form, so I guess I’ve been writing ‘seriously’ for about thirteen years now. 
Some Veil Did Fall
 was based on a short story I did for the first course, and I decided it had some mileage to grow, so I wrote the novel and submitted to Choc Lit. They took it on, and to my delight it was published in 2014.
It didn’t do that brilliantly to start with – always scary for a debut author to hear; but I wrote a sequel called The Girl in the Painting and suddenly, I don’t even know how, my books became hugely popular. It was unreal – at one point, The Rossetti Mysteries held first, second and third place in the Amazon charts which was amazing to see.
After a couple of promotions at my new job in a University, I ended up in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Science which was brilliant, and as staff development they  put me through an MA in Creative Writing. I was quite strategic in that  a lot of the work I did for that was based around the Hartsford Mysteries series, and in fact Watch for me by Candlelight was my dissertation. In between, I wrote some novellas, which were relatively easy to dash off as I enjoyed them so much, and A Secret Rose finally became my seventh full-length novel, and part one of the Pencradoc series.    


Sue:  I see that there is often a supernatural slant to your stories, and I love a few ghostly happenings in a book. Is this influenced by living in the mysterious North East, with it’s Dracula connections?

Kirsty: Yes, Some Veil Did Fall is set in Whitby, and what better place could there be to set a ghost story?! But yes, I’ve always loved writing about ghosts and Wuthering Heights is my favourite book – the idea of Cathy’s ghost wandering around the bleak old Yorkshire moors and finally being reunited with Heathcliff when he dies has ‘haunted’ me (excuse the pun) since I first read the book when I was a teenager.
I live a bit further north, near Newcastle, but we are also quite close to Northumberland which has it’s own magic and mystery, and I’ve always loved visiting historic houses and mystical places. My imagination has run riot with ghosts and the supernatural for as long as I can remember. 
Some of my contemporary books and novellas don’t have ghosts in – and I have had readers ask where the ghosts are, so I guess I am getting a bit of a reputation for writing supernatural stories; which is absolutely wonderful as it’s exactly what my inner Emily Bronte always wanted to be recognised for.  


Sue:  Do you have a writing routine/pen/musical playlist/perfect tea and biscuit combo? 

Kirsty: I seem to write better in an afternoon – usually by then my more practical jobs are done and I can relax into it. I have an absolute glut of lovely notebooks and pens, and I wish I could say I used them – but I tend to write straight onto the computer and just stroke my books and pens affectionately every so often. I love getting set up with a nice coffee and a treat in the afternoons when I write – I have a Tassimo machine and the posh coffees come out of that, and the treat is anything I can lay my hands on. My dog helps me hoover up any crumbs, and he lies sentinel under my seat waiting for bits to drop. I’m not fussy about the treat – just something loaded with sugar and chocolate will be perfect, thank you very much! 
Playlists do happen  - I wrote practically the whole of The Girl in the Painting to James Blunt music on repeat, but other writing favourites include 80’s soft metal, rock ballads, U2, CDs from the ‘Now’ collections, OMD, Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, The Script, Linkin Park, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Imagine Dragons … the list goes on. We have Amazon Music and it’s great as I can just blast something from that out depending on my mood. Big sweeping ballads work well with big sweeping stories, but something a bit more light-hearted can work with me warbling tunelessly along to Take That! 
Did I mention I really need to be on my own to write?! 


Sue:  Who would you cast as your hero if you were making a film of your books? 

Kirsty: Oooh the book I have just submitted, the Christmas story for the Pencradoc series has a hero who is based very much on Dan Stevens! 
In the interests of research, I therefore watched live action Beauty and the Beast, and Summer in February. I’d also take on Ewan McGregor without a second glance at his CV – that smile in Moulin Rouge gets me every time and Miles in Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea was based on him. Aidan Turner is a huge contender for Stef in The Girl in the Photograph, and Jamie Dornan was always Jon in Some Veil Did Fall. I’m pretty sure I could write in some parts for Brad Pitt and Leo di Caprio if they were available into any one of my books – and who else could possibly be Will in Watch for me by Candlelight, if not Chris Hemsworth?



Sue:  I see you paint – do you draw inspiration from your own drawings or do you illustrate your stories?  

Kirsty: I’ve tried to draw some of my historical heroines before, but always made a complete mess and they never look like what I imagine they should. 
Dreadful pictures of Ella from Some Veil Did Fall and Daisy from The Girl in the Painting spring to mind. I’m actually much better at copying pictures, and especially love the mythical, magical side of fantasy art, with fairies and nature spirits and Gothic ladies. 
Painting is something I go back to when I’m stuck with my writing and need that creative outlet. I think part of it is proving to myself that I’m not completely hopeless at it, even though I failed my O level art! 
Baking is another thing I do if I can’t write, but there’s less calories in a painting, I think. 
I adore so many of these fabulous fantasy artists like Selena Fenech, Meredith Dillman and Anne Stokes and sometimes I just look at their pictures and think, ‘I wish I’d thought of that.’ 
It’s terribly easy to start weaving a story around them, and actually I have a beautiful print by Ivan Kramskoi called Moonlit Night near my computer which is very inspirational. 
I also love the George Roux painting Spirit, which I discovered quite recently – but the lady on there is the epitome of Ella  - and it’s really exactly what I hoped my picture would turn out like. But mine ended up torn to shreds in the bin!

Thanks Kirsty! I feel as if I know you a whole lot better now - although I'm going to have to fight you for Chris Hemsworth as a lead. He's a bit busy right now, being the hero in my third novel in the Art Cafe series  ;)


All of Kirsty's books can be found here: https://www.choc-lit.com/productcat/kirsty-ferry/
Her blog is: https://rosethornramblings.wordpress.com/

Comments

  1. Great interview, Thank you , Sue and Kirsty. I loved finding out more about you.

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    1. Thanks Jan! Gosh, I think you're the first person who's ever commented on this Blog! xx

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  2. Lovely to get a sneak peek at the real Kirsty!

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    1. It was! She always seems so quiet that it was lovely to see a bit more of her enormous talent! x

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