Kirsty, thank you for coming back to talk about your new book, Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings.
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.
Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings
Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.
When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.
But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?
What a great story, it was lovely to meet Cerys and Sam again in this, your eighteenth book. You joked last time when we talked about it being one of your lockdown books. Do you feel that lockdown was good for your creativity? Are there any routines you developed regarding writing during those times that you’ve continued with now that we’re getting back to normal?
Thank you for having me! Lockdown was definitely good for my creativity, once I’d got myself into a routine and wasn’t wandering around the house wailing or having mild wine-anxiety in case I ran out! I worked my day-job all the way through it at home, but the enforced ‘being stuck in’ aspect made me work on my writing more as well and get my paints and jigsaws out. I was on my own as my husband and son were both away (one at work overseas and one at Uni) and the dog didn’t have a lot of conversation so I threw myself into writing. I haven’t really kept any of the writing routines up. Life is busier now and I don’t have 24 hours to fill in on my own any more – I did a lot of writing and I do think I deserve a break as well. Of course, now I’m struggling to get back into a writing routine, but it’ll come back again.
I’ve seen some of your art, I think you would give Edie a run for her money. You talked in your acknowledgements about the Watercolour Wonders, how did you get on with your exams?
Thank you, and thanks for asking. It’s a two-year course, so we are just coming up to the halfway point and we won’t be having exams, hurrah! We’re creating a reflective file so it’s more about coursework than finished products, and about showing how we can put techniques into use. You only see my good stuff on social media – I have two thirds of a file full of rubbish which nobody will see except my teacher, my classmates and the examiner.
Could we see some of your pictures – only the ones you like obviously.
The pics I have shared here are two portraits I particularly like, a loose figure sketch and two ink pictures – one ink and wash and one on brown paper collage. I love doing people and I love ink.
What would be your favourite medium? (as in oil etc. not Doris Stokes!)
Ha ha, thanks for the clarification! Part of the learning is ‘experimentation and exploration’ so I’m getting to play with lots of lovely stuff. I love mixed media – so a bit of everything really. I guess my heart is in watercolours which is what the class started out as, and as I say before we’ve been working in ink which I absolutely loved. I was just looking at the list of mediums for my last piece in class, which was a garden in perspective, and it runs like this:
- Graphite for sketching it out roughly
- Colorex Watercolour Inks for a base layer for the greens in the background 4
- Daniel Smith and Schminke granulating watercolours to set some bases for the flowers
- Derwent Inktense watercolours to give detail
- Mei Liang Bright watercolours to enhance details
- White Gouache for the white blooms, and a little pink, red and lilac gouache for extra blooms.
- Black and sepia ink to add details at the end such as stamens, a sense of the sundial and the roofline of the building.
It would have been very easy to add pastels and coloured pencil to it, but I’d made enough of a mess by then…
Rothko – fan or not?
I could literally colour in squares all day and never be famous! Honestly? I just don’t “get it”, which probably makes me completely provincial. My art teacher loves his earlier work, and says the purple installation in the Tate is amazing – I’ll have to visit it and see. Edie loves a bit of abstract and that really suits her personality, but personally I like to try to draw pictures 😊
So if he, Warhol and Constable were in the final of your competition, and you were the judge, which would you think most likely to paint the winning image?
Ooooh – well now. I saw one of Warhol’s cans of soup in Glasgow the other week, and I do like his Marilyn picture. His work is really colourful and off the wall. Rothko is – well – squares. But he could do it quite effectively and bring all the colours of the scene in so that might work in some ways. And Constable is very traditional but some of his pics are quite dark and stormy. I read something about how he wasn’t gloomy, though, he was just painting the weather, so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think for the purposes of Edie’s competition, she’d want us to choose Warhol, because of the sixties vibe she loves so much. Edie would probably try to bribe me with cake and pizza to make me choose him. However, I canvassed my fellow Watercolour Wonders last night and we all think Constable would be our winner.
Talking of competitions, I see the Turner prize nominations have been announced, based on the finalists’ previous works, who would you like to see win?
It has to be Heather Phillipson. Who wouldn’t want a giant whipped cream blob topped with a cherry on their gatepost?! (I’d need her to throw in a giant fly-swatter mind, if I had that sculpture near me!)
I love Edie’s friend Earnest Barnaby, marketing art is always difficult, I have been to a number of exhibitions in my time and have always been impressed by the over inflated descriptions of pictures. And being a photographer, I frequently listen to judges talking about images too.
At the moment I’m playing with soap bubbles, the sort of Algernon Kerr, of the art world, how to you think I should best describe this work?
‘An abstract Klimt-like expression, swirling maelstrom-like into the consciousness of the viewer. Taken holistically, the colours and patterns denounce darkness and converge in a whirlpool of bright primary colours, ironic hot-spots of secondary colour drawing our eye upwards, north east, to the sun. In the centre, is a shining vision, a goddess of pinks and golds, haunted by memories of her former self as she strives to escape the confines of her expected frame into escape.’
p.s. the more I look at it, the more the phoenix-flamingo could also be a weeping woman, a man with a scythe or just a blob. The goddess could also be picking up a bloke and playing toss the caber with him…
I love Edie’s outfit for the first show. 1980s Sloane ranger was never a look I rocked. Although thankfully it was never a style that moved far from West London. Eighties fashions still get bad press. I surprise it’s hardly surprising, when you think leg warmers, leggings and multi coloured jumpers. I blame the hairstyles in those days for global warming. I don’t think I’ve used hairspray in those quantities since! Although I still love loafers today, what would be your one takeaway fashion item from those days?
I had an adorable pink canvas jacket I wore to death. I think that would be still quite acceptable today, on top of a nice summer dress. I also had fluorescent shoes that never left my feet, which I did quite like and a ra-ra skirt (that my mum sewed an extra ruffle on “for decency”) which would not, I think, age that well into the 21st century…
I have to ask, what outfit would Kirsty dress her sworn enemy in for the show?
If they had a fabulous figure, I would dress them in the most unflattering potato-sack like creation I could find. As an aside, I’ve just been looking online for inspiration and there are some truly terrible big hairy suits that make people look like muppets… argh!
You’re talking to the woman who used to buy dress material from the same shop the Wombles’ mother used to buy their fur fabric from! But, you’re right that is truly dreadful.
Where is this man’s head???
And finally, what are you currently working on?
I’m doing some work on Holly’s Christmas Secret, to double it in size to make it big enough for a trade paperback, and I have a novella partially done which has been put to one side for now. It’s sort of a Schubert, but I’m not sure yet. And there is another Padcock book due out at Christmas, so I’ll be working on those edits in the next few months, I think. Lots to be getting on with – just slow-going for now!
Thank you so much for joining me again, Kirsty, I’ve had a blast. Good luck with the book.
For more information on Kirsty visit:
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