Kirsty, thank you for popping in today to talk about your new book Flora’s Christmas 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
It was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …
Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.
But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …
But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.
A wonderful new instalment to Padcock Village but it can be read as a standalone story!
Kirsty, I loved this book and thank you for re-visiting these characters. Obviously, I have some questions. I am going to totally ignore Christmas, which is approaching quicker than I can cope with at the moment, and I’m going to try not to give anything away here?
First, your favourite chocolate flavour – runny caramel, strawberry cream?
Thank you for having me back! I always love your questions as they make me think. For this one, it would be runny caramel.
If you were going to eat a huge fried breakfast, what would be the essential parts?
Crispy bacon, toast, mushrooms, scrambled egg and beans! I can take or leave sausages. I don’t like black pudding. And I’d not thank you for a giant grilled tomato…
Paul is an architect, who would you say he modelled himself on?
When I created the character, I had no idea who he was like – but I have fallen down the Google rabbit hole today and had a look. I can say, with confidence, ‘my’ Paul aspires to be exactly like Paul McClean. Paul McClean is a Dublin born architect who is based in LA, and is known as the ‘megamansion king’, architect to the rich and famous. He designed the most expensive house in America (went on the market for $350 million) and is doing, it seems, very well for himself. What more could ‘my’ Paul want? The real life Paul is also pretty easy on the eye, so now, in my head, that’s exactly who ‘my’ Paul looks like ha ha! Come on, he even built a house for Beyonce…
Frank Lloyd Wright or Zaha Hadid? And why
Ohhhh – difficult. I think Frank Lloyd Wright because I do love a bit of Art Deco and who wouldn’t want to live in Fallingwater? Zaha Hadid’s work is incredible though – some of it looks like it’s almost made of liquid. I have been to the Glasgow Museum of Transport and it is an amazing building.
Imagine you’ve just been given a shedload of money (totally honest of course – nothing shady) and told to build a property. What room would it have to have? And what would it be like?
It would have to have a big room I could fill with all my craft supplies and art equipment. I would pretentiously call it the ‘studio’ and paint terrible pictures in it. Then I’d probably still do what I do now and transfer my supplies to various rooms around the house as I decide to do a bit while watching TV, or a bit in the kitchen while I wait for tea to cook, or a bit in the dining room where I can spread out over the table… But I’d have a genuine studio!
Okay and now I give you the Contemplation Room, I recently attended a course at Winchester university, funnily enough, and they had one. How cool is that. Power and USB sockets in every padded circle, so you can just curl up and get on –
If I had the space and money, I’d definitely need one! Although would probably in pink and purple.
Oh I like that! I once saw a programme where there was a room with cubby holes and private little beds and stuff in it for office workers to take naps during the working day in Japan. I keep mentioning it to my manager, and throwing the ‘wellbeing’ word around, but so far we haven’t got one…
Would you let Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen decorate your new home?
I don’t see why not – it would be a talking point, wouldn’t it? But I’d have to insist he left a couple of rooms in the private wing nice and neutral and calming.
He has a shop near us and makes wellies to match the wallpaper and fabrics. If you had to choose a wallpaper, curtain, or interior design element from your house to be copied for your next new pair of wellies, what would it be?
My house is what I’d deem ‘eclectic’. It’s cluttered and full of things like Baby Yodas sitting on the back of sofas, or giant Halloween spiders sitting on top of a standard lamp. A bit like my head, I suppose. I’d love to be able to declutter and have everything perfect but I’m not like that. I do like the current bedding I have at the minute though, so I might get sausage dogs and townhouses on my wellies.
Or Kelly Hoppen?
Her interior designs are so lovely, but I think you’d need a mansion to do it justice. Perhaps she can do my calming private wing if Laurence does the entertainment one?
And your favourite house in the UK would be and why?
I do love Ickworth in Suffolk. When we go on holiday down there, I always like to try and visit it. It’s a National Trust House and was partly the inspiration for Hartsford Hall in the Watch for me series. I also love Cragside, which is a bit more local to me in Northumberland – and the thing I adore most about Cragside is the Turkish Baths in the basement! How wonderful to have a hot tub big enough to swim in, bubbling away in your house constantly!
And as an always avid Kirsty Ferry reader I need to know – what’s next. What are you working on?
I’ve just submitted the sixth Schubert book! It wasn’t meant to be a Schubert but he ended up in it. It’s taken me a year to write it, and it’s only a novella. I had creative burnout for a big part of that year – I’d done so much writing in the pandemic I went off the boil and couldn’t face creating new stuff. I was fine with edits and with doubling the size of two Christmas books I’d already written; but I just got nowhere with anything else. Next on my list is the fourth Padcock book as I really enjoy those, but I need to get a story in my head before I commit anything to paper. Submitting the latest book has given me a huge confidence boost and reminded me that I can write and maybe readers aren’t fed up with me after all!
And a final couple of question – any plans this year for NanoWrimo?
Absolutely not. I don’t believe in putting pressure on myself. I know that I can write at least 1000 words a day if I’m on form, and set my mind to it – eg, “I have five thousand words left to write”, so I think, “ok, in a week you’ll have finished this and submitted it if you put your mind to it”. And that works for me. I don’t need a dedicated month to stress over it. I have a day job and a family and writing has to fit in around them.
Have you ever done it before?
No, but I have friends who have done it and I am in awe of them. It’s a huge achievement if you can do it.
If so, what piece of advice would you give to anyone starting on this for the first time?
I can’t speak from experience, but I think from what my friends tell me, planning and outlines are key before it starts. Then you know that all you’re doing is writing the story – not dithering about plot holes and where you’re going with stuff when your time is so limited.
Thank you, Kirsty, for another great book and coming on to my blog to talk about it, and yes okay I’ll say it – have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Ha ha, you too. Always a pleasure! And thank you again.
You can find out more about Kirsty at the following links:
Kirsty’s book is available at: