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Monday, 27 March 2017

My Favourite Things by Stella Hervey Birrell, Author & Blogger

Food - Savoury and Sweet
Oh this is always a hard one, of course I want to put avocado and strawberries, and this is (kind of) true. But it is probably more true to say I like Marshmallow Top Hats (pictured) and Salt and Vinegar Crisps – the latter is my tried and tested hangover cure…

Well, just like my mother, I run on tea. Alcohol-wise, it’s got to be Tia Maria and Diet Coke, the only thing I can drink all night without needing Salt and Vinegar Crisps the next day.

Films like Mystic Pizza, Staying Alive, Peter’s Friends, Parenthood and Some Kind of Wonderful: films we had on video as impressionable teenagers and watched over and over again until we knew them off by heart. I was delighted to find some of these on Netflix the other day! Since I’ve had children, going to the cinema to see anything that isn’t animated is a very rare occasion, so I probably have about eight years of great films to catch up on.

I always say Possession, by A S Byatt (pictured). It had everything: academia – I love a story about academics – a massive love story, and another love story nestled within! But there are so many great books out there: two I’ve read this year and loved are The Woman who Upped and Left, by Fiona Gibson, The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, by Jenny Colgan.

Jane Green. The queen of women’s fiction – I’ve been reading her since I was in my twenties and it feels like we’ve grown up together – she used to write about single gals and finding Mr Right, then it was making babies (pretty much when I was making babies!), and now she writes about female characters with older children.

Bridget Jones. She is the embodiment of all our doubts about ourselves, but more importantly, she’s really, really funny.

Oh my goodness, just one song? Impossible! I would struggle to ever do Desert Island Discs (note to self: never become well known enough that I could be asked), and it would probably change from one day to the next. Today, I like ‘Do your Thing’ by Basement Jaxx, ‘Cover me Up’ by Jason Isbell, and ‘Don’t Worry’ by Karine Polwart.

Holiday destination
Austin, Texas – I am a complete Yankophile, and we spent our honeymoon there.

Cat! Always, always. Here’s a picture of one of mine, we have two now: as my husband says, I wanted a cat, and he didn’t, so we compromised. And got a cat.

My husband, hands down. With apologies to my children, who are pretty great too.

Place to write
In the non-existent extra room in our house, that has one of those massive writing desks with all the drawers… *sigh*

Autumn. I absolutely love it: the leaves, those first, frosty mornings, and being able to put big jumpers on again.

Inspirational quote
‘She believed she could, so she did.’

Thing in the whole world
I love my kitchen table – I even tried to write a song about it once. It’s where I am now, the Autumn sun is streaming in the window, and the cat is asleep next to me. I’ve just had a bacon and avocado roll, and there are salt and vinegar crisps for later. Once I’ve finished this, I’ll be putting the kettle on…and if you were here I’d be offering you a biscuit too.

Stella Hervey Birrell’s debut novel How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? is available from UK Amazon US Amazon Kobo Nook iBooks


Stella Hervey Birrell was born but not bred in a market town in Fife, Scotland, just before the winter of discontent in 1978. Writing success came early when at the age of 13 she won the Class Prize in the National Bible Society of Scotland's Annual Competition with her poem, 'Mary's Donkey.' From memory, the poem itself was fairly dire.

After various distractions such as an Open University degree, marriage, several years working as a Committee Clerk, and children, Stella began writing in earnest in the early hours of the morning and during naptimes. Her first novel, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? was published by Crooked Cat books in 2016.

Stella writes a weekly wordpress blog about her tinylife. Other short pieces have been published, (or are coming soon) in The Guardian, The Ropes Journal, the Lies, Dreaming podcast, and The Dangerous Woman Project.

Stella now lives in an East Lothian rural idyll with her cat, husband, and children. In that order.

She blogs at #atinylife140 tweets at @atinylife140 and can be found on Facebook here.

Thanks so much for joining us today on My Favourite Things Stella.

Book Angel x

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