This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Kirsty Ferry, as she tells us about the day that changed her life. Kirsty has a new book out for Christmas – Holly’s Christmas Secret and you can find details of that below. Over to Kirsty …
I suppose it’s one of the things that any author could claim as the day that changed their life, when they refer to the day they signed their first contract or had their first success in writing.
I could say that this moment came when I signed my first contract for Choc Lit (well remembered – it was during my lunch hour at day job, clutching my pink and white spotty laptop case, signing my contract in a local Costa over a latte and a black forest chocolate cake), or a bit further back, when I had my first successful magazine short story, or my first article printed, or my first story in an anthology, or plucked up the courage to set my first self-published novel free into the world. Or the fact I seemed to be one of the main contributors to the newsletter at work when I worked at a bank and I literally had to make the best of it!
But, if I’m going to talk about my first success at writing, I think I have to go back to primary school, of all places. I’ve always loved writing. It’s never felt like work or a big deal to me. It was the homework I always did first, and the subject of my MA. I’ve always found if I enjoyed a subject, I did better in it. I got two A’s in my GCSEs, and English language was one of them. French was the other, and I swear that was only because I told the examiner I loved Tom Cruise which was the main reason j’adored le cinema. Ironically, I also loved art, but I failed that one as I was too lazy and too complacent in it, so maybe I enjoyed kicking back in that lesson a little too much!
However, even in primary school, writing was my ‘thing’. Even at the age of five, I wrote a poem called “The Circus Elephant”. The beginning of it went like this: “The circus elephant is big and fat, he wears a funny little hat… ”. As I moved up the years and changed school, I was fortunate that I gained an absolutely fantastic teacher in Mrs McGee, and she encouraged me to do more with my stories. She asked me to write a story for the ‘little ones’ and considering I was only about ten myself, I knew she meant the really little ones! So I wrote and illustrated a story about a naughty kitten who hid underneath a pile of laundry, and punched holes in it and tied it together with some ribbon. Mrs McGee laminated the pages, and that book went into the reading box for the little ones and apparently it was very popular.
Anyway, I left school and started working in the aforementioned bank. One day, I was sitting behind the counter, bored out of my tiny mind, and Mrs McGee came in. We had a lovely catch up and I was so pleased to see her. She started talking about my kitten book and asked had I continued with my writing. The next week, she came back in, and she actually brought the book in for me. She’d retired, and kept the book and that meant so much to me. Before she handed it over to me, she made me promise that I would pick up my writing again more seriously; and now I feel I’ve justified that promise to her. She’s been in and out of my life for years, as her granddaughter went to the same primary as my son – which happened to be my old school as well, and the place she had taught for so long.
I think this just goes to show that teachers can have an incredible influence on people – Mrs McGee, Mrs Cain, Mrs Arthur, Mrs Wallace, Mr Parkinson, Mr Falcus, Mr Sanderson, Mr Thompson, Ms McCusker, Mrs Cassidy, Mr Forbes, Mr Leigh, Mr Lee, Mrs Bell and my very first teacher Mrs Sawyer – whose surname I borrowed for the historical heroine in Holly’s Christmas Secret – I salute you all, and thank you all for your inspiration and for many, many days that would help to ultimately change my life and help me become the person I am today. A writer. And a person who ditched the bank and got a better day job at a University instead, because you all gave me a lifelong interest in education and I’d absolutely hate to think I was letting any of you down!
About Kirsty Ferry
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 magazines. Her 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.
To keep in touch with Kirsty you can use the following links
Twitter – www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/
About 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 …
To buy the book use the following link – https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08GSM8519?pf_rd_r=XBCX2EV8BNK826WBSNND&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e
Thank you for joining me this week, Kirsty. Lovely shout out for our teachers and a reminder of the importance of their influence in children’s lives.