Kirsty Ferry celebrates the release of her new novel, The Girl in the Painting, and tells us a little bit more about this intriguing and ghostly tale …
Here I am again at the beginning of another exciting journey – the launch of my second Choc Lit novel, The Girl in the Painting. It’s a kind of linked sequel to Some Veil Did Fall in the fact that it takes the characters and picks their story up a couple of years into the future. I shan’t give away any spoilers, but the main characters in The Girl in the Painting are a new couple, Cori and Simon, who are linked with Becky and Jon from Veil through the irrepressible Lissy – Jon’s sister and Simon’s colleague at the Tate Britain.
Well, to be honest, Lissy has taken Simon on as a project after his relationship with a horror called Sylvie broke up, and The Girl in the Painting tells the story of Simon and Cori and a peculiar set of circumstances involving an old diary and a Victorian laudanum addict.
Daisy, the Victorian heroine of The Girl in the Painting, is one of the best, most colourful characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. She leapt off the page and basically directed me in what I had to write and how I had to portray her. I guess it just proves how strong a character she was, as her story is very much unaltered from my initial manuscript, whereas edits have hopefully taken care of the rest of it – picking up on the weak spots, the inaccuracies and the plotholes. I try very hard not to have anything like that lurking within my work, but these things do happen, which is why editing is one of my favourite processes. It’s maybe a little odd to admit but, to my mind, once the story is written, the proper fun begins!
Many of the characters in Daisy’s world, however, are real people – and I loved the research involved to find out about their lives and discover things which I could take away and fictionalise. I now have a mountain of books about the Pre Raphaelite artists and, like Cori, I can easily lose hours skimming through them. In fact, Lizzie Siddal – the model for Millais’ Ophelia, Rossetti’s muse and lover and the person who Daisy wants to emulate at any cost – was so fascinating I’ve gone on to write about her in other pieces of work, for example a three hundred word flash fiction piece which was one of the winners in the London TubeFlash competition, and a two thousand word piece I’m creating for my Masters in Creative Writing, about Victorian Celebrity Culture.
In fact, when I think about it, I’ve grown to love all my characters from Veil and The Girl in the Painting – and I hope you grow to love them as well. It was hard to say goodbye to them when I finished each book and moved on – so maybe, just maybe, I might have to write book three … because I think Lissy deserves a story of her own. And as Rossetti says in his poem, The Portrait: “It seems a thing to wonder on.”
So I guess I’ll just have to see where my own muse takes me next!
The Girl in the Painting is now available on Kindle. Click on one of the links below to purchase.
For more on Kirsty, follow her on Twitter @Kirsticupcake.