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Stewart Ferris Interview

Posted on 01 December 2004. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Stewart Ferris, author of The Little Book of Flirting, How To Be A Writer, Don't Mention the War and other non-fiction books. He also writes screenplays, stageplays and has written 14 episodes of Pokemon for TV.

Tell us something about your background.

I've edited and contributed to at least 100 books by other writers, plus making positive publishing decisions on 300 books and rejecting 5,000 books.
Helped a further 100 authors to publish their own books by providing advice and publishing services.

Film/TV work includes Bricking It - feature film in development with Inner Productions, London; Just Married - 45 minute comedy film made for the Edinburgh Festival in 2001; My Prince - completed screenplay; The Sphinx Scrolls - completed screenplay; Culture Shock - screenplay in progress; Pokemon - 14 episodes of series 6, currently airing on TV and contributions to many UK television shows.

Books include:
The Little Book of Flirting
The Little Book of Chat-up Lines
The Little Book of Essential English Swear Words
How To Chat-up Babes
How To Chat-up Women
The Bumper Book of Chat-up Lines
Chat-up Lines and Put Downs
More Chat-up Lines and Put Downs
Ultimate Chat-up Lines and Put Downs
Enormous Boobs
Je t'aime - How to say 'I love you' in 100 languages
Love - 99 Ways to show you care
Don't Lean Out of the Window
Don't Mention The War
The Busker's Guide to Europe
How To Become A Millionaire
Help! I want to work for myself
Great Global Gaffes
De-Stress for Exams
Driving Test Tips
How To Be A Writer
How To Get Published
The Sphinx Scrolls

I have made more than 50 television appearances as guest expert on flirting and dating and as presenter. Books translated into 7 languages and sold around the world. You can visit my website at http://www.stewartferris.com

Iíve written a couple of dozen books, mostly humorous and non fiction. The bestselling book is The Little Book of Chat-up Lines, and the book I get the most fan mail for is Donít Mention the War (a humorous travelogue about touring Europe on a train). Iíve just finished How to be a Writer and will be starting How to get Published shortly.

How, when and why did you first start writing?

From the age of 12 I knew I was destined to be a writer after I came joint fourth in a local radio stationís poetry competition and picked up a life-changing prize of ₤2. As a teenager I wrote songs and poems, as most teenagers do, because I wanted to be a pop star. This ambition was put permanently on ice when I went to university and started to write more ambitious works. At 20 I wrote a stage play which got performed at a local theatre. That was the first experience of seeing my name on hundreds of printed materials, and I enjoyed that.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

Douglas Adams and John OíFarrell both make me laugh. I work long hours (I publish as well as write) and itís nice to read something that forces a smile onto my tired face as I unwind.

How did you get your first agent/ commission/ publisher

I actually self published my first book, The Buskerís Guide to Europe, having received one rejection for it and deciding I might as well do it myself. I printed 1,000 copies which was paid for with money I earned from busking. The book wasnít a success, but once I knew how to publish books I took on other peopleís projects too. I encouraged friends to write books and I published more of my own. Iíve since had my books published by other publishers around the world in various languages, but it wasnít particularly difficult because I approached them as a publisher rather than as a writer.

Whatís the worst thing about writing?

The writing. I feel like Iím squeezing my brain like a sponge to force the words to drip out.

And the best?

The instant high that comes when you finish a writing session, check your word count and feel satisfied with the results. Itís like the endorphin rush you get from exercise, but without the need to shower afterwards.

What was your breakthrough moment?

My first television chat show interview as an author. The presenter, Steve Wright, gave me a hard time, Michelle Gayle slapped me, but Barbara Windsor was nice to me.

What inspires you to write?

Thereís something deep inside me that keeps driving me. I have so many things I want to write and I always have to neglect some projects due to lack of time.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

sue n at 19:00 on 05 December 2004  Report this post
Good stuff
I wish 'How to be a writer' had been out when I started as I sent the first very raw draft out everywhere. I picked out Summersdale as the publisher my work most suited but after a sniff of interest it was not taken further.
I've spent the last 2 years learning how to write while rewriting (nearly up to 10) and the ms is more than 10x better.

What I would like to ask Stewart is whether an agent or publisher is likely to look at anything again if they have rejected it in the past?
Sue n

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