Fellow Choc Lit author, Kirsty Ferry joined me for a Spotlight on Guest Author blog on 29 August 2016. Today, she returns with news of a new book – The Girl in the Photograph.
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 and ‘The Girl in the Photograph’ in March 2017. 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 day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.
I asked Kirsty some questions based around the subjects of her books:-
What fascinates you about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood?
Ooh, what doesn’t fascinate me? I think the thing that drew me to them initially was the whole Gothic incident of Rossetti digging up Lizzie Siddal’s body after she was dead, so he could retrieve a book of poems he’d buried with her. I know that’s a bit ‘urgh’ but you’ve got to admit it’s a good story.
I started to do some research after that on Lizzie and on the PRB, and the more I found out the more my jaw dropped. I did quite a bit of work on Lizzie for my Master’s Degree and if I ever progress to a Doctorate (ha ha) I’ll pick it up again. There’s so many layers to her whole situation, and above all that you have this overriding, quite dangerous passion between her and Rossetti. I was lucky that my tutor was as much of a Lizzie-fiend as I am, so we had some great conversations!
I also love the PRB artwork and the whole rebellious attitude. Rossetti’s pictures weren’t, in my mind, as brilliant as Millais’, but they were still ‘out there’ and must have caused quite a sensation in their day. A wonderful quotation that sticks in my mind is that Rossetti painted ‘pouting, inflated, over-sexed cream puffs’ – and that was from an art critic in 2012, so imagine how these rebellious young men were viewed in Victorian times?
Do you paint yourself?
I do, but I’m not brilliant at it! I like to do watercolours and pencil sketches, and have a love-hate relationship with coloured pencils. I think with me if I can’t write, I’ll draw or bake cakes to channel my creative side. Someone told me I draw like a ten-year-old, but I just happen to like doing sort of fantasy pictures with fairies and Gothic ladies and beautiful dresses.
I have done some really nice pencil sketches of people such as Marilyn Monroe and Louise Brooks, but I have issues with eyes and mouths and have put holes in the paper on too many occasions to be proud of. I lose my temper and attack the drawings with an eraser. My favourite pencil is about 3cm long. I’ll be gutted when it finally sharpens away to nothing…
Have you any art qualifications?
Ha ha – well now. I failed my Art O-level as I was too lazy to go in and stretch the paper for a watercolour. I ended up doing a really awful picture of a vase of flowers…with coloured pencils. My teacher must have despaired of me. She tried so hard to make me achieve what I was capable of. I remember walking back into the classroom to collect my pencil case after the exam as I’d forgotten it and just saw her shaking her head and staring at my picture. Whoops. Someday I will resit it, just out of devilment. I still cringe when I think about it! I also studied a bit of art history in my degree and found it incredibly interesting. I could have branched off and changed my degree to art history, but I stuck with the safer option of Literature.
You mention past lives in your books. Have you ever been regressed?
No, I haven’t! It’s something I’m very interested in, and would love to do it one day – but I’d probably be something really boring like a scullery maid. Or a cave-person. But perhaps that’s better than being someone like Anne Boleyn? I do have a horrible fear of drowning though, and hate even going underwater at the swimming baths. Maybe that’s something residual?
If someone painted a picture of you, what style would you want it to be and why?
Ohhh nice one. I’d go for someone like John Singer Sargent. He did some beautiful portraits, but I think that was also in relation to the beautiful outfits the ladies wore in Edwardian times. I can lose hours in research to get my characters in the correct clothing and particularly enjoyed searching for Lorelei’s outfits as I was writing The Girl in the Photograph.
I think if they could corset me up to make me look about three stone lighter I’d fit right in to those portraits. I love the clothes, I love the style and the Edwardians definitely had the edge in hourglass figures – much better than the twiglets women are supposed to unrealistically aspire to nowadays. I’ve never been a twiglet and I never will be. I happen to like my food too much.
Thank you, Kirsty, for some interesting answers. I look forward to reading your new book The Girl in the Photograph, which has another gorgeous cover. I’ve left it as a large picture, so that people can see the lovely detail.
What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson?
Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group – an artists’ commune active at the turn of the twentieth century.
Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall – but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar.
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her – and they’re going to make sure she gets it.
Thank you for joining me, Kirsty. I hope the book sells really well.
If you would like to buy The Girl in the Painting it is published on 7 March 2017 on all electronic platforms, but available for exclusive pre-order on Kobo for details see Choc Lit
You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at www.rosethornpress.co.uk, catch her on her Facebook Author Page or follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry.
Have you any ghostly tales or stories of regression to tell? Please add them in the comments below.
*waves!* Ms Gray & Ms Ferry!
I vaguely remember you mentioned this particular guest feature via Twitter; however, my hours & days have been a bit upturnt lately – hardly been online to keep up with everything I’m keenly interested in being clued into of late – I just caught sight of this cover via the ChocLit Stars team in my Inbox this morning (oy vie!) and happily you answered the question I had burning to mind – which cover made the cut! Wicked choice! I *love!* the arrangement and of course, I love *serial* names on the covers!! 🙂 (wicked grins)
Being a huge fan of this series since ‘Some Veil,..’ which I had the pleasure of reading last year – I am over the moon excited to continue reading the series! Being this is No. 3 is just wicked brilliant as lovely hours are ahead of me! Now, then, about this lovely feature…
I had forgotten the details of how ‘Some Veil’ was signed champion of you reminding me! I thought it was such a twist of fate moment of arriving! Plus, too – Goth Fests… ooh how I wish to attend them in the future! I personally love the Victorian Gothic fashionesque – especially if you are aware of the designs by Rose Mortem or Kambriel? Lovely creative spirits those two!
Speaking of the Pre-Raphaelites – this is one interest of my own – as well as Victorian era art – in which I transplant into my mixed media collages! There are fascinating supplies out there for collage artists and miniature art – where you can get source materials to use whilst adding in ephemera and other lovely materials such as mulberry papers, paper flowers and other bits which fashion themselves into an era of allure from yesteryear. Art History is another segue interest of my own – I’d like to disappear and engage in an art library – pulling books off shelves and take a personal sojourn through the artistic past whilst visiting galleries, too. Art is alive with possibilities and some of those are happily explored in Ms Ferry’s series!! Another reason why I love how wicked interesting she makes her stories feel contextually through the layers of her narratives!
Me, too! I love watercolours! Mind, I haven’t progressed forward to dappling into the paints, but I love playing with my watercolour crayons, pencils and one day wish to take up pen/ink, watercolour painting and chaulks again. I started off in oil pastels but had to give it up due to allergies to the chemicals therein. Finding a champion art tutor has been a lifelong pursuit – I love the watercolour paintings of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (as a for instance) as she truly inhabits the lovely corridor of ethereal and fantastical. However, my favourite and most brilliant find for fantastical art with touch of realistic whimsy is the Art of Cheryl Baker – previously knowing as Steelgoddess on Etsy! She brings the natural world into such epic form of thought its pulsing with a lifeblood of it’s own creation! I honestly follow a lot of lovely artists and fashion designers on Etsy – I ought to DM you both my page so you can scroll through my collective favourites! lol
Yes! I have issues with faces and portraits, myself! I blame my secondary schooling art instructor who was hung up on us ‘finding our own way’ without a lot of technical advice or teaching instructions. Some can learn that way – but not I. This is why I ended up with two rather unusual final pieces by years’ end – one would be considered ‘Magical Realism’ by how time is bent round the cosmos and the other would be considered a work of a singular entity lost on an island of one involving an animal from Down Under! lol Eh. Teachers either inspire or vexate us to oblivion.
Ahh, yes – past lives and all those bits behind the ‘soul’s journey’. I have my own inclinations of thought on that topic but like you – part of me holds’ back from prosuing a ‘look-see’ directly – life is meant to be lived forward without regressing backwards; it’s a champion thought to think we could ‘backtrack’ through the lives of our soul but then, isn’t that a bit of self-directed harbinger of pre-destination and of self-affecting your own path if you were to dip into the well of ancient wisdom drilled out of your recessive memories? I’d prefer to walk the lines of the present and the future whilst honing in on the past through the recollective memories of my own lived life vs re-attempting to re-gain images or ‘moments’ so long removed they may or may not have a negative effective value on my current walk.
I also like dipping into the Edwardian art variants in my collages – so I can see why you picked Sargent, but I learnt about him more directly through a novelisation of his life – a Cosy Historical Mystery by Mary F. Burns. I truly need to follow-up with this author to see if she’s released more – I had such a lovely time blogging about the first release: The Spoils of Avalon – a title you’d love Ms Ferry as it’s a time split novel! Forgive me for not inserting links – of late, whenever I do that, my comments get blocked (le sigh) ergo I’m dropping hints about where you can visit next if someone or something I’ve said is of interest. Speaking of which, meant to say Ms Baker, Ms Kamriel and Ms Mortem are on Etsy!
Twiglet!? Ooh dear my! What a word! You can see so much into that word — I love this discovery! Over on this end of the Pond we call that ‘waif thin or model thin’ which is just as ridiculous as no woman has those features to be stuffed into measurements which are un-womanly and non-realistic to a real woman’s figure. All people must do is look back into Classic Hollywood – those were real women with real figures and bodies. Honestly! Mind you – some were a bit on the thinner side of healthy, but more of them during those eras had a healthier weight than a lot of actresses nowadays.
Bless you, both for giving me such a good folly of a bubbling convo to become inserted into straight-away from the moment I landed on this blog! Big hugs and congratulations on the new releases to each of you! I cannot wait to read both of them! Sorry I’ve been remissive – trying to get back into visiting blogs, adding more to my WP feeds and remembering to visit my bloglovin ones, too!
*Best bit of the cover is how the photograph is splashing into the foreground – almost as if it’s bent through time and slicing through the vortex it has been cast,…
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The cover is lovely! Berni Stevens does a wonderful job for Choc Lit. I love my own cover too.
I’ve dabbled in art and have recently been taking workshops in Lino printing. Great fun, but hard work. Love silk painting and encaustic art too.
Thank you for your comment, I’m sure Kirsty will reply! Mx
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Hi Jorie thanks for the lovely comments. I’m so pleased you were one of the stars involved in choosing the cover! It’s beautiful isn’t it? I do hope you’ll like books 2 and 3 as much as you enjoyed book 1 in the series.
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