Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale Enchantment. She has also written North East based novels, short stories and articles for magazines such as Weekly News, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices and It’s Fate.
Her timeslip novel, Some Veil Did Fall, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit time slip, The Girl in the Painting in February 2016 and The Girl in the Photograph in March 2017. The experience of signing Some Veil Did Fall in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!
Kirsty’s day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.
The Ending’s By Kirsty Ferry
I’ve recently had an interesting discussion about the endings of books. We wondered, ultimately, if it would be a good thing to have a sort of Director’s Cut Repository of old manuscripts, and people could dip into it to see what the ending originally was.
The discussion occurred because we were talking about books set during WW2. One of the books I am currently editing has a WW2 thread running through it – it’s part of a trilogy and I’ve had to do a lot of work on it, including changing it to third person point of view from first person point of view – and doubling the length of it, because it started off as a contemporary novella and now I am adding in a timeslip/historical element. I’ve also had to alter the original ending for the historical characters; because to quote a ‘short summary’ of Romeo and Juliet, “they all died”! This isn’t exactly what readers want to see in a book, so, in the edited version, “they survive hurrah!”. I blame my Wuthering Heights obsession, personally. There was something very romantic, I thought, about Catherine dying and Heathcliff loving her so desperately until he too died and they were finally together. But that was the nineteenth century – a Gothic, fanciful time, and this is twenty-first century commercial, romantic fiction.
The premise of the historical thread in my WW2 book was something which has been niggling at me for I would say a couple of decades at least. I was on holiday one year and we visited a stately home – I really can’t remember which one it was, and it’s been annoying me ever since – and I was drawn to a wonderful family portrait. It was a painting which included a young man sitting on the floor at the feet of a young woman. He was, however, no member of the family. He was a young poet, desperately in love with the young woman who was the daughter of the house. When war broke out, he proposed to her. She rejected him, and, distraught he joined up. He was killed in action very soon afterwards, never having made up properly with the girl.
For years, as I say, I’ve been trying to discover who this young man was. I wish I’d written it down at the time. I believe he was quite famous, but despite many hours looking for him, and her, and the house itself, I forever draw a blank.
The closest I can come up with is a poet called Drummond Allison, who loved girls, poetry and cricket. He wrote a lengthy series of poems to a girl called Cynthia Clarke – but it seems, after further research, she was one of many, many muses. Drummond loved life and loved ladies. He was described by one of his friends as a “grown up Just William” and “an extrovert, a rackety enfant terrible with tow-coloured hair”. He was killed in action after just two weeks at the front, at the age of twenty-two.
Now, I know, deep down, that Drummond isn’t the chap in the portrait. I know Cynthia wasn’t the girl in the painting (oops – slight plug for one of my books there! The Girl in the Painting, no less!), but it’s a story that chimes with sickening regularity with these young men in that era. Sidney Keyes was another one – deeply in love with an artist called Milein Cosman who felt dreadful as she couldn’t return his affection. I found this passage in a book written by Milein, which is a story in itself, I think.
“I had fallen ill (psychosomatically) and had been nursed by my parents when Sidney was due to arrive for his last leave. On my return to the Studio, meeting him briefly, he told me that he had fallen in love with a mutual friend, whereupon, for the first time ever, I hugged him – jubilantly joyous at the news of liberation. It was thoughtless and cruel and I’ve often been saddened by my show of delighted relief. A day later I found a note from Sidney on the stairs: ‘See you in Spring or in Walhall.’
Of course, she never saw him again.
Keyes and Allison were friends at Oxford University – and this gave rise to the idea of another ‘lost generation’ of young men who had loved and lost during WW2. A character comprised of a little bit of Allison and a little bit of my mystery poet became the historical hero of the book I’m editing.
However, as I said earlier, we needed to give him a happy ending – and he gets one, and I’m so pleased for him and Stella, his love interest! It does make a much nicer story – and it may not be exactly true to life with my mystery poet – but at least, in some way, I’ve done what I promised him I’d do, so many years ago when I stared at his portrait, trying to read his mind; trying to understand how he could be so much part of the family he was in a painting with them; yet so far removed that he was never destined to have his happy ending with the girl he was sitting at the feet of. I’ve written a book about him and told the world his story.
If anybody reading this can suggest who the poet and the girl and the house were, really, I would be absolutely forever grateful – and if it turns out to be correct, I’ll send you a signed copy of one of my paperbacks! I promise!
What if you recalled memories from a life that wasn’t yours, from a life before …?
When Becky steps into Jonathon Nelson’s atmospheric photography studio in Whitby, she is simply a freelance journalist in search of a story. But as soon as she puts on the beautiful Victorian dress and poses for a photograph, she becomes somebody quite different …
From that moment on, Becky is overcome with visions and flashbacks from a life that isn’t her own – some disturbing and filled with fear.
As she and Jon begin to unravel the tragic mystery behind her strange experiences, the natural affinity they have for each other continues to grow and leads them to question … have they met somewhere before? Perhaps not just in this life but in another?
You can use the handy link below to order and read a sneak peek ~
Thank you to Kirsty for taking the time to visit us today. Do come back soon.
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