Q&A with Kerry Fisher ~ BLOG TOUR!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm thrilled to be sharing my Q&A with Avon author Kerry Fisher for my stop on the fabulous blog tour! We chat about Kerry's latest novel The Island Escape!


Kerry, what was your journey to publication like? How long did it take you to get there?

It took me hundreds of rejections, five years and three novels. Two are now published – The School Gate Survival Guide and The Island Escape. The first one was a bunch of characters moving from the restaurant to the beach in Italy in search of a plot, so that won’t ever see the light of day!

Where were you when you found out about the book deal with Avon? How did you feel once you’d heard the news?

After five years of searching for an agent, I was offered representation by the wonderful Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson. When I got home from that meeting, there was a two-book deal from Avon in my inbox (I’d approached an editor there directly). I was astounded really – I couldn’t believe that after five years I’d got an agent and a book deal on the same day.

The Island Escape isn’t your first novel. Could you perhaps tell us a little bit about your previous novel, for any readers who are just now being introduced to you?

My debut, The School Gate Survival Guide, came out last year. It’s a funny take on school gate snobbery – a modern day My Fair Lady. A cleaner inherits enough money to send her children to a posh private school and it’s the story of how her family adapt to an ├╝ber-competitive, incredibly affluent environment.

Your upcoming novel The Island Escape looks and sounds absolutely divine, and I’m seriously looking forward to escaping! Within the book, your character Octavia is curious as to how different her life turned out to be. Have you ever felt this way? Would you ever change anything if you had the chance?

One thing I’m so clear about is that any man ‘who got away’ in my life got away for a very good reason! Though I am slightly surprised to find myself living in suburban Surrey with a husband, two kids and a dog. I spent the whole of my twenties living in Europe, changing country or city on a whim. If anything, I do wish I’d settled down a bit sooner and had my kids a bit younger. On the plus side, I’d definitely satiated any need to go to a night club ever again so when I did have kids, I didn’t feel there was this massive social whirl I was missing out on.

Would you say that there’s a theme of second-chance love within The Island Escape? There’s definitely a hint to a past romance in the blurb!

Second-chance love definitely features. I suppose I became fascinated by the fact that the internet makes it so easy to track down random people from your past. If you were dissatisfied with your marriage, finding a long-lost love on Facebook could lead to all sorts of trouble.

I think if I could escape to anywhere, Hawaii would be my ultimate destination. How about yours?

I’m not a big sun-worshipper as I burn so easily but I do love Australia. It’s the sheer variety of things to do, plus the diversity of animals and plants that attract me.

Your cover for The Island Escape works so beautifully with the ideas presented within your novel. How did you feel when you first set eyes on it? Was it everything that you’d hoped for?

You could safely trap my artistic ability in a matchbox so I am always so relieved that someone has responsibility for coming up with covers – it is still a major factor in how well a novel sells. I thought The Island Escape cover was perfect for the summer market, the sort of book you’d want to pick up in an airport bookshop.

Do you believe that as we grow older we lose bits of our younger selves?

I think we get less carefree. It’s almost impossible not to because you gain more responsibilities, especially if you have children and your time/finances/freedom become more restricted. Having said that, I think you also gain a lot with life experience – now I don’t give a hoot about things I used to lose sleep over when I was younger. And I’ve also weeded out the people who make me feel bad about myself.

Have you travelled a lot, Kerry? If so, where have you been?

I lived in Spain, Corsica and Italy during my twenties, before coming back to Britain to retrain as a journalist. Pre-children I was a travel journalist and guidebook author – nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds. I wrote books about Corfu, Spain, Italy and Australia. Every year I try to go somewhere new - but more and more I’m falling in love with Britain – Norfolk, Cornwall, Suffolk…there’s so much to see on our own doorstep.

What other themes can we expect to come across in The Island Escape?

One of the basic premises of the book when I was planning The Island Escape was ‘Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce?’ I noticed that divorce often had an unpredictable knock-on effect in friendship groups.

How long did it take you to fully complete writing your latest novel?

 It doesn’t seem to matter whether I dawdle or fly along – the result is always the same – about a year.

How are you expecting readers to feel whilst lost in The Island Escape?

I hope that it’ll make them feel young, perhaps a bit nostalgic at times and remind them of what it’s like to be in love in that all-consuming, ‘can’t think about anything else’ sort of way…Ultimately I set out to write a feel-good novel about friendship and love, with the gorgeous location of Corsica as a backdrop, so I hope I’ve been successful.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have one person with you, who would that person be?

If it was a question of survival, I can’t say my husband because he’s not very practical. I’m the one who checks the tyres and oil, fixes the shower and unblocks drains. I’d probably say my best friend, Maria. We’ve had some terrible travelling disasters and always managed to see the funny side.

When you’re not writing, where else would we find you?

I do love to cook, so probably in my kitchen trying out more ‘superfood’ recipes. They usually engender a ‘yuk’ response in my children, though even I have to admit my recent avocado and mint ice cream and black bean brownies were pretty rank.

What are you favourite things to do when the summer months are upon us?

I used to think gardening was for people who had no social life or too much time on their hands, but there’s nothing I like more than pottering about, admiring my lupins and deadheading geraniums. I still can’t believe how much joy a £2.99 packet of poppy seeds can bring. We live on a big windy hill that’s a total mud pit in the winter so I do love to make the most of the summer and have lots of friends over for barbecues and wine.

Are you already working on your next book? Are we allowed any hints as to what we’ll be reading next by you?

I’ve finished my next book - it’s about how small secrets become bigger and more toxic as they pass down the generations, interspersed with a wry look at the challenges of parenting teenagers!

Do you have any top tips for aspiring writers out there?

Take classes, read books about writing, go to workshops to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Be prepared to hear and act on the feedback from people you trust. Accept that rejection is part of the process of getting published. Network in real life as well as on line. Be generous-spirited and support other authors even if you’re wildly envious!

Where is your favourite place to write? Is there somewhere specific that you retreat to?

I’ve tried all sorts of places but as unglamorous as it is, I work best in Starbucks. I drop my kids at school and drive straight there so I don’t get distracted by the never-ending toffee pot of things to do at home.

Is the writer life the life for you?

That’s a very interesting question. Every time I’ve set myself a professional goal in my life, when I’ve reached it, I’ve always had a slight feeling of ‘Oh dear, I’m not sure this is what I really wanted to do.’ Now I feel absolutely convinced that novel-writing is my dream job, but I’m very realistic about how tough it is to be successful. Sitting down and getting words on a page is obviously crucial – but marketing, networking and building your brand are a fundamental part of a writer’s life as well.

Any parting comments?

 I’d just like to say thank you so much for having here today – book bloggers are incredibly generous in helping spread the word about authors and their books - and I want you to know how much I appreciate your time.

Kerry, I cannot thank you enough for being here on Becca’s Books today! I wish you every success with The Island Escape and I’m sure it will be accompanying many a holiday-goer this summer! 

1 comment :

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Becca…very much appreciated x