Kate Kerrigan talks fashion

Today I am absolutely thrilled to welcome author Kate Kerrigan to Love of a Good Book!

About Kate:

Kate Kerrigan is an author living and working in Ireland. Her novels include the Recipes for a Perfect Marriage which was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year and has been translated into 20 languages, and New York Times bestseller, the Ellis Island trilogy.

Kate began her career as an editor and journalist, editing many of Britain’s most successful young women’s magazines including more! and Just Seventeen magazine under her birth name Morag Prunty, before returning to her native Ireland in the 1990’s. She writes a weekly column in the Irish Mail about her life in Killala, County Mayo – and contributes regularly to the RTE radio program Sunday Miscellany.

 The Dress 

I never imagined I would write a book about fashion. As somebody who was in the world of women’s magazines through most of my 20s and early 30s Fashion and clothes had always been a very important part of my working life. There is a saying for new writers that you should write ‘what you know’ and yet I had never considered that the world of magazines was a fitting subject for the type of novel that I wanted to write. I have always written about the interior, emotional lives of women. What we wear somehow seemed like too shallow a subject. Then one day, a couple of years ago, for the first time since I became a writer, I realized to my horror, that I was all out of ideas. I was in a terrible panic. This was the first time I had ever been faced with a deadline to rush out a novel but I had no idea what she was going to be about.

However, life must go on, and it was actually at the opening of an exhibition by my husband that the idea for the dress came to me. And like all the best ideas, I didn’t see it coming. An old colleague of mine from the fashion magazine days dropped by at the exhibition and engaged me in a conversation about the craftspeople behind some young designers that he was promoting. As he was waxing lyrical about the creaftesmanship of couture, specifically the fashion designer Sybil Connelly who put Irish fashion on the world map during the 1950s and 60s, I suddenly realized that this was something I could write about. On the way home in the car I came up with the idea for The Dress. While writing this book I have realized that fashion is far from a shallow subject for a novel. Dresses hold huge significance in all of our lives. 

The most important occasions in our lives are often all about the dress. Graduations, 21st birthday parties, the first date and of course our weddings signify occasions centered around a great dress. In the wearing of a beautiful evening gown a woman is physically, with her flesh exposed and a long train, probably at her most vulnerable. Yet a great dress can make a woman feel like the most powerful person in the room. The clothes we wear hold our stories. This is why writing about vintage clothes has been such a fascinating process. The connection between how women look and how we feel is a strong one – clothes and fashion play an important role in helping us identify who we are and how we feel about ourselves. In fact, I have come to believe this so strongly that my next book is called The Rose Suit and continues the vintage theme. Clothes I have discovered, are not just what we wear – they are a way of accessing great stories.

A big thank you to Kate for such a fabulous guest post! 

The lovely team at Head of Zeus are running a giveaway to give to lucky people the chance to win a proof copy of The Dress, to enter just click here 

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