A welcome escape with Kerry Fisher

IMG_2046Today we are joined for a Q&A session by good friend of the blog, Kerry Fisher, who tells us why, this summer, we might hear her screaming from over ten thousand miles away…

What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve had about The School Gate Survival Guide?

I have been so lucky to have lots of lovely reviews but I think one of my favourites was from a Yorkshire postman: ‘Just finished The School Gate Survival Guide on my new Kindle, first book I’ve read in 10 years, bloody great read, thanks.’ I loved the idea of a little red van trolleying around the Yorkshire Dales with a Kindle and a copy of my novel on the dashboard.

How important was it for you to sign with one of the big publishers and what are the biggest differences to being self-published?

That’s an interesting question. I am so privileged to have self-published because what I learnt about marketing, promoting, networking during the process has been invaluable now I’m traditionally published – I have the confidence to suggest ideas and discuss decisions that I don’t think I would otherwise have had. However, I always felt that what I could achieve sitting at my kitchen table on my own would be more limited than the opportunities offered by a big publisher – foreign rights, audiobooks and of course, even paperbacks.

TescoHow did it feel the first time you saw The School Gate Survival Guide in your local supermarket?

I made a total fool of myself in Tesco by asking someone to take a photo of me with my novel. I blushed so hideously that the poor woman had to back away from the heat. Plus she managed to capture me at such an angle that I looked as though I had a couple of watermelons stuffed up my T-shirt. Not quite the glamorous composed author on publication day photo I had in mind. I don’t think the fact that my book was out there, available to buy, really sank in until readers started tweeting pictures from supermarkets all over the UK.

Your second novel is called The Island Escape. What do you do to escape from the pressures of writing and everyday life?

A couple of times a year, I leave my whole family behind and disappear off with my best friend from university. We walk, talk until the early hours and eat fab food – we both love cooking. Just for those few days we’re twenty again – but without the Silk Cut and lager black. On a day-to-day basis, I walk on the South Downs with my dog, a Lab/Giant Schnauzer cross. It never fails to relax me – unless she steals someone’s picnic.

Your new book was promoted as The Divorce Domino in our anthology. How did the name change come about?

Because the book is coming out on 21 May, I think the publishers felt that having divorce in the title was a bit gloomy for a summer read.

Can you tell us a bit about the plot for The Island Escape? tie 2

The idea behind it was ‘Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce?’

When Roberta finally divorces her bullyboy husband, her best friend and former wild child, Octavia, takes stock of her own life. She wonders how the carefree person she was at twenty ended up married to a man who cares more about opening milk bottles in date order than having fun. She begins obsessing over the ‘one that got away’ – until she ends up going back to Corsica, the place where it all began. But will he still be there and if he is, what then?

What’s your favourite holiday destination, island or otherwise, and why?

I love Australia. Pre-children, I was a travel journalist and spent six weeks writing a guidebook out there. There’s so much that’s different and exciting. This year we’re taking the children (13 and 15) – it’s the first time I’ve felt I could bear a 24-hour flight with them, though being together 24/7 for several weeks should pose its own challenges. I’ve booked to do the bridge climb over Sydney Harbour with my son, so you’ll probably be able to hear me screaming back in the UK.

Do you think it’s true that you should ‘write what you know’ and, if so, to what extent have your experiences influenced your writing?

I think there are some people who do an amazing job of writing about things they don’t have firsthand knowledge of – I’m always absolutely in awe of writers of historical novels. I always find so many inaccuracies when I’m editing despite the fact that my books are contemporary. I prefer to write about things I know, but that’s probably because I’m fascinated by ordinary people and their experiences. I always use settings I’m familiar with – I’m lucky enough to have lived all over Europe in my twenties, so I haven’t run out of locations yet!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m in the process of editing book three, which is about how modest secrets become more toxic as they pass down the generations, intertwined with modern parenting dilemmas.

Do you ever think about writing in a different genre, if so, what would you choose?

I’d love to be able to write a psychological thriller but that would need careful plotting in advance. It probably wouldn’t suit the way I write – I tend to know the beginning and the end, but not too much in between. I would like to write a sit-com about modern families for TV, though I don’t think my teenage children would ever forgive me.

WP_20141002_11_49_02_ProWhat’s the hardest type of scene for you to write?

I find sex scenes absolutely mortifying, because I’m quite prudish and hate the idea that people I know feel that they have a window into a very private world (they don’t!). There’s a little bit of real – rather than hinted at – sex in The Island Escape. I wanted to staple those pages together when my dad was reading it. I’ve forced myself to take author Raffaella Barker’s excellent advice, which was ‘I’d never write another word if I ever thought about what people think about any aspect of my writing.’

Do you ever get writer’s block and, if so, how do you deal with it?

I don’t get writer’s block really because I treat writing very much as a job. I turn up at Starbucks every day and write 1000 words in three hours. If I worked in an office, I wouldn’t be allowed to sit there and wait to feel in the mood for work, so I just get on with it – though of course, some days it’s easier than others. Having said that, I do get plot block…I’m currently thinking about what to write for book four and feel as though I’m trying to catch ideas in a butterfly net before they flit off.

If you could have three writing-related wishes, what would they be? Waterstones

Probably the same as all writers, I suppose – to have my book made into a film and to make The Sunday Times bestseller list. In the meantime, a smaller and more achievable wish would be to stop stuttering when I utter the words, ‘I’m an author’.

What piece of writing advice do wish you’d known when you started out?

Where to start? I was so naïve about how tough it would be to get published. I thought writing the book would be the hardest part, so I probably needed someone to tell me: ‘You’ll have to believe in yourself for an awful long time before anyone else does.’ I don’t think I’d fully understood that rejection is an inevitable part of the process. However, the important thing is to allow yourself one day to rant (privately) then channel your energy into creating as many opportunities as possible to get your work in front of the decision makers.

Thanks so much for joining us on the blog Kerry and good luck with the release of The Island Escape – our Kindles are primed and ready!

Find out more about Kerry and her fantastic novels at the links below:


on Facebook 

on Twitter @KerryFSwayne

and Amazon


15 thoughts on “A welcome escape with Kerry Fisher

  1. Fantastic interview, Kerry. I think you are so right about the challenges of writing. I actually thought getting published *would* be the hardest bit but, now that I am, I realise it’s only the start. There’s the promo (my least favourite bit), waiting for the reviews to come it and constantly watching the position on the Amazon chart and going into panic mode every time it plunges! You won’t have to worry about either of those things with The Island Escape, though. I started it last night after a really busy week and it lifted my mood no end 🙂 I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to pick up my Kindle again tonight xx

    • Hello Jo…A huge thank you for inviting me onto the blog again…and sorry not to have got here yesterday, I was sitting in Bank Holiday traffic for most of the day! Everything you mention is – I think – the same for all writers. I’ve now just accepted that there will be parts of the process that I don’t like. And try and remind myself to be a bit grateful as a couple of years ago, I didn’t think any of this would ever happen for me.
      Thank you for your kind words about The Island Escape – I do really appreciate it. And am looking forward to seeing your own book fly! xx

  2. I love the sound of your new novel and I read your first book on the Write Romantics recommendation. Off to Amazon to download this one now! Oh and I love your dog too, I’ve got a chocolate labrador and walks with her are great thinking time, but like your dog she’s prone to stealing food too! Meg xox

    • Hello Meg – that’s lovely to hear, thank you…yes, the labs are greedy (we’ve got builders in at the moment and mine climbs into the skip to eat the remains of their sandwiches!) but we wouldn’t be without them, would we? Well, maybe just occasionally…

  3. I am going to remember that quote, Kerry – ‘You’ll have to believe in yourself for an awful long time before anyone else does.’ I may even have it printed out and pin it to my wall above my computer monitor! I think plenty of people believe in your talent, as it’s hard to miss! Looking forward to reading The Island Escape, which is sitting on my Kindle already, as I absolutely loved The School Gate Survival Guide. Congratulations on your success, and long may it continue xx

    • Thank you so much, Sharon, you are always so lovely. Self- belief is a big part of hanging on in there in the publishing process, which is a bit at odds with most writers’ tendency to jangling insecurities! Keep the faith!

  4. Hi Kerry,

    Lovely to see you back in The Write Romantics’ blog!

    Gosh, I remember those lager and black days at University too 🙂

    Can’t wait to have a read of The Island Escape, it must be great to have book two out there on the shelves.

    The flight to Australia is no fun regardless of whether you’re travelling with kids… Unless of course you’re flying business or first class 😉 Have a fab time… I’ve done the bridge cling twice & you’ll love it!

    Helen x

  5. Great interview Kerry. I felt myself blushing for you when you described the supermarket photo incident. I could imagine myself doing exactly he same thing if I was ever fortunate enough to get to the point where my books appeared in stores.

    I absolutely loved The School Gate Survival Guide and have already pre-ordered The Island Escape. Can’t wait to tuck in. Your idea for book 3 sounds fabulous too.

    Hope you have a wonderful time in Australia. Not envious … much!!!

    Jessica xx

  6. I loved The School Gate Survival Guide and I’m really looking forward to reading The Island Escape. Sounds like a perfect summer read. Like Sharon I’m going to print out and keep your advice about believing in yourself. Thanks for such fabulous advice and being so honest about the process of getting published.
    Hope you have an amazing time in Australia. Alys xx

    • Thank you, Alys. I promised myself that if I ever got published I would never ever make out it was easier than it was. When you’re struggling away, thinking ‘Am I just writing a pile of old rubbish?’ (or similar!), it’s so disheartening to read about overnight success. I had TONS of rejection. Folders full. Plus one-to-ones where I shook throughout and cried afterwards! But just managed to cling on to gossamer-thin self-belief long enough to get published. I think it was a close-run thing!

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