Oops, I would appear to have neglected my blog of late but I promise it's because I have been hard at work on Popping the Cherry book two - Alice's story - rather than gallivanting around and putting my feet up.
ACT ONE – all about you…
Kerry Barrett was a bookworm from a very early age, devouring Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild, before moving on to Sweet Valley High and 1980s bonkbusters. She did a degree in English Literature, then trained as a journalist, writing about everything from pub grub to EastEnders. Her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, took six years to finish and was mostly written in longhand on her commute to work, giving her a very good reason to buy beautiful notebooks. Kerry lives in London with her husband and two sons, and Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes is still her favourite novel.
1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?
I’ve always been a writer professionally. I started out on a local paper about 15 years ago and since then I’ve written for lots of magazines. I’m currently features editor on All About Soap magazine. I’ve been writing for ‘myself’ for many years too, with varying degrees of success and learning a lot along the way.
2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?
I have got a fear of ‘fuss’ so I guess both my writing style and my ritual is to just get on with it!
3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?
I am a big fan of Jilly Cooper, who I think writes the most wonderful characters. I also love Stephen King and On Writing has been a big influence on me.
4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?
My hero Jilly Cooper said: “Just try to say what it was like to be there.” That’s good enough for me!
5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?
*My husband proposed to me as we crossed the finish line of the London Marathon in 2005.
*I was born in Edinburgh but I’ve lived in London for most of my life.
*I’m scared of birds. A pigeon once landed on my head at Balham station and I nearly wet myself. I didn’t stop shaking for about two hours!
6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?
I’m not really one for ‘things’ but I do like my phone. I also carry my whole life in a bright pink Filofax, so I’d need that. I write my novels in longhand with a pen so I’d want a nice notebook and my favourite Muji pen. And as I never go anywhere without a book, I’d like my kindle!
ACT TWO – all about your new release…
A Kind of Magic
Part-time witch, full-time glamorous high-flyer Esme Mcleod rubs shoulders with celebrities for a living, has a sort-of-boyfriend …and just enough magic in her fingertips to solve life’s little irritations; why shouldn’t she cast a little spell to catch the busy barman’s attention, or to summon a latte to aid her all-nighters?
Called back to her small Scottish home town and meddling family, stiletto-clad Esme is way out of her comfort zone… But Esme must embrace her abilities as a witch, or watch her family lose their beloved café.
Except Esme has never claimed to be a whizz at witchcraft, and her charms are starting to go awry - she certainly never meant to cast a love spell on her ex-boyfriend Jamie! It’s time for urgent lessons in magic as well as love – it seems there’s only so much that muttering a few words over cupcake batter will fix…
7) Congratulations on your recent release of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, what was your inspiration for writing Esme’s story?
I’ve always wondered what life would be like with a bit of magic in it. From that small beginning, I thought about how it would make some things easier but make others – the big things, like relationships – much harder.
8) Did the story flow from your fingertips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?
When I did get down to writing, it flowed but it took me a long time to get into the rhythm of writing.
9) I see Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?
A VERY long time. Back in 2005, I did a novel writing course at Morley College and started writing Esme’s story. It went well for a while, then I got made redundant, got pregnant, found a new job, had a baby, had another baby, and basically life got in the way. I eventually finished it in 2011 and it took another two years for it to be published!
10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
It was a man. A rather handsome man, actually. He was wearing running gear and because he was higher up the steeply shelving beach than I was, my eyes were level with his toned, tanned thighs. Thighs that told me this wasn’t a local man – this must be Chloe’s hot American.
11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, to make us rush out and buy it?
It’s a fun, funny read for Halloween – all about witches with a dash of romance for good measure.
12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?
I’m working on the sequel to Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which follows Esme, and her cousin Harry, to Edinburgh where they don their Miss Marple hats and get involved in a murder mystery.
QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…
13) Plotter or pantser?
Bit of both! I plot vaguely at the beginning – often just a few paragraphs on a page, then add in more details as things come to me while I write. I like to just start writing and see where I end up.
14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)
15) Digital books or print books?
16) Tea or coffee?
17) Cats or dogs?
Neither! I quite like dogs from a distance.
18) Extrovert or introvert?
Mostly extrovert with some introvert traits.
19) Save or spend?
20) Facebook or Twitter?
Ooh, I love them both. I like the immediacy of Twitter.
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you so much for taking part, Kerry, I wish you every success with your new release and in getting that second one written.
To discover even more about Kerry Barrett, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:
Buy it now…
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Release date: 31st October 2013
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)