Hi from the Readers’ Club with another in-depth look at one of our titles and its author.
Although this time, there are 45 writers, so we opted for a volunteer!
“North Star” – An almost unmoving point of light. Find it and you will know your way home.from the Women Aloud Northern Ireland Writers CollectiveA well curated anthology of poems and short stories.
Quality writing, ideal for dipping into in these times when concentration spans may be short.
Meet Kerry Buchanan – one of the 45 women who contributed work for North Star – Although I live in Northern Ireland now, I was born a Yorkshire lass. I studied veterinary medicine for six years at the University of Cambridge, then went on to practice as a vet, taking occasional time out to have children. I retired very young due to encroaching arthritis, and took up numerous alternative careers, from editing educational software, through scientific research, designing a leukaemia database for clinicians, then teaching ICT and eventually running my own business.
These days, I’m a full-time carer for my father, who suffers from dementia, as well as a full-time writer, full-time animal-minder for the menagerie and a full-time mum and wife. That’s a whole lot of lives, right there! Recently, I was thrilled to sign a three-book contract for my crime novels, so I guess writing will have the upper hand from now on.
Awesome news on the book deal – well done! So, your piece in North Star is called The Drumlin’s Tale – What gave you the idea for it? Drumlins are post-glacial hills, often with lakes glistening in the hollows between them. They’re a well-known feature of the County Down landscape, and I can see several from my window as I type. Since I really enjoy writing from challenging points of view, writing a short story in the POV of an ancient hill was a no-brainer for me.
What’s the underlying theme that the story deals with? I use my story to highlight the way mankind has changed the world around us and I speculate on the route ahead, especially in these uncertain times. There is a peaceful moment in the story when the world is calm, and Mother Nature takes a slow breath – then everything changes once again.
What do you hope readers will take from the book? From the book as a whole, I hope readers will enjoy the wonderful variety of styles and themes, and the way the anthology travels to all corners of this beautiful country. The stories and poems in North Star all highlight customs and sayings that are so familiar to those of us lucky enough to live here, and so fascinating to visitors.
What are you working on next? I’m currently working on the sequel to my first crime novel, tearing through the complex plot strands, juggling characters (and giving them a very hard time), and thoroughly enjoying the creative act.
I’m lucky enough to be a member of a supportive writing community here in Northern Ireland, especially the members of Women Aloud NI (who wrote, edited and compiled North Star together). Despite viruses and lockdowns, our chair, Angeline King, has found a way to bring us all together, sharing our work with each other and now (thanks to Leschenault Press) with the rest of the world.
Now, we always try to end our look at an author by asking them to take part in a modified version of the famous Proust Questionnaire that James Lipton would use at the end of the ‘Actor’s Studio” interviews…
So Kerry as you have been “volunteered” by the rest of the anthology – are you willing?
What is your favourite word? Dinner. I’m constantly hungry…
What is your least favourite word? Because, because my fingers always try to type b-e-c-u-a-s-e, so I’ve had to set up autocorrect to sort it out. I really hate that word.
What is the best book you have ever read? The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J R R Tolkien. I keep going back over and again to read it, and finding something new each and every time!
What is the worst – and if you don’t have a worst, then the worst book to film adaptation? For both parts of the question, the answer has to be the same: The Twilight series. And, on the same theme, Fifty Shades of Grey (although the last one is a cheat, because I couldn’t get past the first couple of paragraphs, and I never watched the film).
What sound or noise do you love? The sound of waves on the beach, sucking at the sand as they draw back, then crashing down again. I blame a wasted youth as a surfer…
What sound or noise do you hate? The noise I’m hearing right now: our elderly Border Terrier whining because it’s his dinner time. I’m a whiner myself, when hungry, but find it hard to tolerate in others!
What is your favourite smell in the world? Seaweed on a beach… Or maybe freshly-baked bread. No, wait. The smell of soil after rain. Or maybe the scent of a newborn (animal or human, all are wonderful). All of the above?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Archaeology. I wrote a novel where the main character was an archaeologist who inadvertently travelled back in time to see the artefacts she’d studied. I did so much research for that novel that I fell in love with the profession. It’s just a pipe dream, though. The old arthritic knees wouldn’t let me kneel down to dig.
What profession would you not like to do? I’d hate to be a hairdresser or a dentist. Animal dentistry is fine, but human mouths? Urgh. And hair. Yuck, no thanks!
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Man the barricades! She’s been mis-filed.
Thanks Kerry – awesome work! Maybe we’ll get some more of the North Star contributors to come and chat to us later!!
That’s all from us for now.
Take good care, stay safe and well, (and well-read),
From Jaz and the Leschenault Press Team