Kerry is the author of the Could It Be Magic series. The first in the series is Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered followed by I Put a Spell on You. The third book in the series, Baby, it’s Cold Outside was released at the beginning of last month. We had a catch up with Kerry where we chat about her book series, her writing rituals and Chocolate!
Can you tell us a little about your Could It Be Magic Series?
The series follows Esme, who’s a lawyer, and her cousin Harmony, known as Harry. Harry runs her own business and is a successful, sassy, together 30-something. Esme’s a few years younger. She’s more relaxed than Harry – about some things. Oh, and they’re both witches. Esme is reluctant to use the powers she’s inherited from her mum while Harry embraces them and has built her whole life around them.
Is there a fictional character you’d like to swap places with for a day and why?
Oooh, that’s a good question! I think I’d like to swap places with Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s brilliant Shopaholic novels. She always has so much fun!
Out of all the books you’ve read, which three have impacted you most and why?
At the moment I can’t stop thinking about The Woman Who Stole My Life – the latest novel by Marian Keyes, which I have just finished. It’s really staying with me and I keep wondering what I would do if I found myself in Stella’s position. It’s very thought-provoking. Another book that has stayed with me is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which I absolutely loved because of all the alternatives it offered. I find myself thinking about that a lot. And Possession by AS Byatt is the most perfect novel I’ve ever read. I remember when I finished it thinking I’d never have to read another novel again because that was always going to be the best. In fact, I’ve read hundreds – thousands probably – of novels since then and I must go back an re-read it to see if I still think that way!
What’s your writing process? Do you plan and edit as you go?
I am half planner, half pantser. I always start with an outline. I know vaguely the shape of the novel and the beginning, middle and end. I type out a plan which is normally just one side of A4, and I print it out. Then I start writing, and as I go I add to my plan. So I end up with pages stapled on top of pages, lots of arrows, post-it notes and scribbles all over my original. I live in fear of losing a plan and carry them round with me wherever I go – but I have to do it like that. It doesn’t work for me when I put them on to the computer. I need to scribble! And I never edit as I go. I get to the end, then go back and polish.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. Being a journalist, I’m trained in the art of ‘just getting on with it’ which comes in handy. I write anywhere and everywhere.
Do you cast your characters and if so, who do you have in mind for Harmony?
I do – but they’re not always big Hollywood stars. In my mind, Harmony is played by a Scottish actress called Kirsty Mitchell who was in Case Histories and Silent Witness.
What’s your favourite word?
I like the word ‘glee’ because it makes you smile when you say it. And I also like the word ‘chocolate’. Can’t imagine why!
Which song best describes you?
It’s not really a song, but I like Dory’s little refrain in Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” It’s how I live my life!
What was your route to publication?
My route to publication was long and sloooooow! I started writing novels back in the late 90s when I was working as a reporter on a local paper. They were all rubbish. In 2004 I did a novel writing evening class and started writing BBB. Six years later I finished it! I sent it out to lots of agents and got lots of rejections. I wrote IPASOY and started a third novel and it was while I was doing that I saw the Carina call-out for submissions so I sent them Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and I Put A Spell On You. I was thrilled when they said they wanted it.
Which magical power would you like and why?
I juggle writing my novels with my day job writing for a TV magazine and I’m also mum to two boys so I’m pretty busy and I am always forgetting stuff. I’d love to be able to move things like Harry and Esme can do. To make my son’s football boots appear in his bag when I’ve forgotten them and he’s got football that afternoon, or to summon up my gym kit when I’ve (conveniently!) left it at home.
Five tips for new writers?
1 Read. I really believe you can’t be a writer if you don’t read. Read widely and read a lot.
2 Write. Seriously, the best thing to do is just write. Don’t worry about structure or characterisation at this point. Just write.
3 Don’t show it to anyone. Not yet. It’s too new. Wait until it’s finished and then show someone you trust.
4 I know it’s boring but do worry about spelling and grammar. It helps you get your point across and makes your writing cleaner. If you can’t spell, use spellcheck. If you’re not sure of grammar rules, get a book about them and read it. There are lots of good ones out there.
5 Enjoy it. Writing is a job for me but I still love it. It’s really fun. Savour it!
Kerry’s books are available to buy now. Click here to buy from Amazon.
Alternatively, they are also available in the iTunes store.
To find out more about Kerry and her books, you can visit her blog: http://kerrybarrettwriter.wordpress.com
Kerry is also on Twitter. Click here to see her page.