Gerry has been writing poems and stories since childhood. Brought up in north Belfast, she graduated in English and Philosophy from Queen's University, Belfast, then went on to gain an MA in English.
She lives just outside Belfast, in Northern Ireland, has four grown up children and is married to singer/songwriter and Media Producer, Raymond McCullough.
Hi Gerry! So what will readers like about your latest novel Belfast Girls?
So far, I find they like the characters. Sheila, Phil and Mary, the three girls growing up in Belfast, are all very different. Sheila starts off shy and lacking in self-confidence. She’s the ‘ugly duckling’ who turns into a beautiful supermodel. Phil is bouncy, confident, popular with boys – but she lets herself be dragged into trouble by the man she loves, Davy Hagan. Mary starts off as a wild child, nearly dies of a drug overdose, and then has a spiritual awakening which turns her life around. People seem to be really interested in the girls and their lives and loves. There’s a lot of action, too, but that’s more of a bonus.
What inspired you to write the novel?
I’ve always written stuff, since my childhood. It seemed natural to write about my hometown, Belfast, and about the sort of things which I know something about. Then, there’s so much misunderstanding about this place. I hoped I could explain a bit about the goings-on here to the rest of the world. In a country where religion has so often been a dividing factor, Sheila, Phil and Mary are friends in spite of being from different religious backgrounds, and that’s not really as unusual as you might think. As for writing about girls growing up in Belfast, well, that came even more naturally to me, since that’s been my own life, growing up as a Belfast girl!
Do you have any new works in the pipeline?
I’m halfway through another novel, of a similar type to Belfast Girls, and I also have a collection of short stories newly edited by a professional which a local publisher here has shown some interest in. I have hopes for them, and for my new book, if I can ever find time to complete it.
Who are your favourite authors?
How much space do I have for this? Let’s keep it brief – Jane Austen, Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Terry Pratchett – better stop there!
And finally, can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I hate desiccated coconut. Real coconut is a different thing, mind you. My father brought one home one year at Hallowe’en, and broke it up with a hammer, and I enjoyed my piece very much. But the desiccated stuff is just too dry, I suppose. Now, isn’t that interesting?
Haha! Now people know what not to buy you for your birthday. Thank you so much for joining us today, Gerry. It’s been a pleasure. Best of luck with Belfast Girls.
Belfast Girls on Amazon UK