Guest Post With Kirsty Ferry
This week, I'm very pleased to welcome author, Kirsty Ferry, onto the blog to answer some questions about her writing and her latest novel, Christmas of New Beginnings. It was published by Ruby Fiction on October 19th.
Thank you for having me on your blog Jan! I’m Kirsty and I live in the northeast of England with my husband, son and aged Yorkie. I write for Choc Lit and, as of Christmas of New Beginnings, Ruby Fiction as well. Christmas of New Beginnings is a contemporary romantic comedy, all told in the heroine’s voice, and that’s why it’s a Ruby book.
I believe Christmas of New Beginnings is your sixth Christmas novel. Why do you think Christmas books are so popular with readers?
I think they are quite nice to escape with when you’re getting all stressed about Christmas. Also, they are a lovely way of beginning to feel festive and a good excuse to start on the mince pies early… I do think Christmas books which are part of a series are a nice way of reconnecting with the characters as well, and I’ve really enjoyed writing them too and seeing what my characters are getting up to in the festive period.
What was the inspiration for this book?
I wanted to do a fun, romantic comedy and I had already invented the village for my summer 2022 book – as I was writing that one, I realised a couple of characters might need a story of their own and I hadn’t got anything planned for Christmas 2021; so I went away and thought about it, and a Christmas book seemed like a really good way to introduce Padcock village and its inhabitants. I must apologise to the Tasting Panel – I’m sure I completely confused you all by submitting book number one in the series second. I hope you can forgive me!
Can you summarise your new novel in just a few sentences?
I can indeed. Cerys has relocated to Padcock and meets Edie and Sam on more or less her first day there. Edie and Cerys soon become great friends, and we find out more about Cerys’ budding relationship with Sam as she tells her story over five Christmases. Five years might seem a long time for them to get together, but as you will see, a few complications arise in the shape of Awful Belinda, who has her hooks well and truly into Lovely Sam for all the wrong reasons.
any of your family’s Christmas traditions appear in your novel?
Yes, the fact that there is a Christmas Eve carol service and Cerys goes there with her family and friends. We love to do that – we have a photograph of all our children over several years in the same spot outside the church and it was one of the things we very much missed doing in the non-Christmas of 2020. Also, that one of the things on Cerys and Edie’s agenda for having a fun Christmas is to eat their combined body weight in chocolate and drink a lot of fizzy wine. I can - and do – do that!
When do you write best – are you a lark or an owl?
I am definitely more productive writing-wise in an afternoon or evening. I can certainly be a night owl if I’m really getting into it, and will often work quite late into the night. This feels like a great idea at the time, but it’s never such a great idea when I have to get up for work the next day.
Which is more important for you - plot or character?
Character, I think. The characters seem to drive the plot because they all develop their own personalities, and you just can’t put them in a situation they wouldn’t ‘work’ in. It helps that I don’t plot my books. They grow organically from a concept, so I’m quite flexible really when my characters take over and demand things. As a reader, I really have to like the characters I’m reading about as well. I’ve read some books which people have raved about, from some of my favourite authors – and have given up as I don’t like the characters and can’t root for them, no matter how hard I try.
Do you have a particular writing routine?
Not really. If I’m trying to finish something and have a deadline of sorts, the TV goes off at 9.00pm and I make a cup of tea and just crack on with it. It helps a bit if my husband is at work and my son is away at uni, because I can just type like a madwoman and nobody can distract me. Apart from the dog, who will try his utmost. I try to get a bit of time in during an afternoon if I’m not at my day job, but it doesn’t always work, and I’ve learned not to let it stress me out like it used to. The only person I’m putting pressure on is myself and I so don’t advocate that.
I’m amazed at how many novels you’ve written. What are you working on at present?
Nothing! I’ve just submitted the Christmas 2022 book, and I know I have two other books due out next year – the final one in the Schubert series (which I submitted a while ago), the summer book, which is the second in the Padcock series for Ruby, and the third will hopefully be the Christmas one if the panel pass it. I did quite a bit in lockdown. Although I worked from home all the way through, I’m part-time, so had four days a week to fill. I’m taking some downtime now to decide what I want to work on next, and am concentrating instead on getting a qualification in art. I failed my O level at school, and have always wanted to get an equivalent qualification, so I’m working towards my Level 2 NCFE in Arts. I’m doing it through the local Council’s Learning Skills, and have a lovely group I’m working with and a fab teacher. I’m also doing it at the same school I failed it at, which is rather surreal!
What would a reader expect when they pick up a Kirsty Ferry novel?
Ooooh – now you’re asking. I’d hope that they’d pick up a book where they invest in the characters and want to follow the series through to see what happens next. I usually pick a different pair to concentrate on romance-wise for each book, but do include the other characters in some way. A lot of my books are timeslip or dual timeline, but some are contemporary and some are simply quirky and fun. Something to appeal to lots of different readers, I hope! There’s often a mystery or secret to unravel, and a little bit of suspension of your disbelief is required as well. If you’re after Booker Prize-worthy stuff, or deep and meaningful literary fiction, you won’t get it from me. Rather, my hope is that you get a nice, feel-good story that leaves you feeling like a friend of the characters rather than simply just a reader.
A feel-good story that pulls you into the characters' world sounds really good to me. Thank you, Kirsty. I wish you good luck with Christmas of New Beginnings I and hope it flies.
Not all festive wishes come true right away - sometimes it takes five Christmases...
Folk singer Cerys Davies left Wales for the South Downs village of Padcock at Christmas, desperate for a new beginning. And she ends up having plenty of those: opening a new craft shop-tea room, helping set up the village's first festive craft fair, and, of course, falling desperately in love with Lovely Sam, the owner of the local pub. It's too bad he's firmly in the clutches of Awful Brenda...
Perhaps Cerys has to learn that some beginnings take a while to... well, begin! But with a bit of patience, some mild espionage, a generous sprinkling of festive magic and a flock of pub-crashing sheep, could her fifth Christmas in Padcock lead to her best beginning yet?
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 articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work 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.
For more information on Kirsty, you may visit:
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/
BUYING LINKS for Christmas of New Beginnings:
To see all of Kirsty's books please visit: Kirsty Ferry (choc-lit.com)
Thank you for reading. Do you agree with Kirsty about why Christmas novels are so popular? Do they help you escape from the stress of Christmas preparations? I'd love to know what you look for in a Christmas novel. Thanks.
To find out about all my books, please visit Jan Baynham Amazon Author page.