Julie Ferry is the author of The Million Dollar Duchesses which was published by Aurum Press on 3 May 2018.
Today Julie is talking about her path to publication.
As a first-time author the whole path to publication was something of a mystery. As soon as I was offered a book deal I perhaps naively thought that everything would happen very quickly. By all accounts my journey as a biographer has been quicker than most but it has still been a project that has taken three years in total.
I remember where I was when I found out that my dream of publishing a book was coming true. After almost ten years of trying I was waiting for my five-year-old daughter to finish a gymnastics class when I realised I had missed a call from my agent, followed by a text. The text simply said, “You’ve been offered a deal!”. No details, but I knew immediately its as the most important message I’d ever received. My heart began to race, I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. However, there was no time to digest the news. Within minutes the class had finished and I was thrust into being a Mum again, doing up laces, providing a drink and a snack and bundling the kids into the car to go home. However, while driving, it hit me. My book was going to be published.
After an initial meeting with my publisher we agreed that I’d deliver the book within nine months, with the following nine months scheduled for editing and rewrites. The hardback of the book would then be released with the paperback hitting the shelves a year later. Unsurprisingly, I got to work straightaway, continuously aware of the mountain of research I had to get through before I could even begin the writing. I still had a three-year-old at home full time, so I was more than a little daunted. How would I fit it all in? The answer lay in researching and writing into the early hours and being very productive when I was able to sneak away for writing time at the weekends. It was challenging but exhilarating and I learnt that it is quite amazing what you can achieve if you really want something.
Now, I am sat here with the paperback ready to come out and that moment when I found out I had secured a book deal seems like a long time ago. The past three years have been demanding, hard work and life changing but I’m incredibly grateful for every second.
About the book
On 6th November 1895, the young and brilliant heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt wedded the near-bankrupt Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. A dazzling yet miserable match was made – one which glittered above all others for high society’s unofficial marriage brokers who, in a single year, initiated and manipulated a series of spectacular transatlantic pairings. Injecting millions of dollars into the ailing aristocracy; fame, money, power and prestige were all at play. Characterised by scandal, illicit affairs, spurned loves and unexpected deaths, The Million Dollar Duchesses reveals the machinations which led to these most influential matches between America’s heiresses and Britain’s elite. The Gilded Age was a tumultuous period for society’s most eligible.
About the author
Julie Ferry is a freelance journalist who has written for the Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Independent, among others. She writes on subjects ranging from protecting women’s rights to discovering Paris alone. She graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and then upped sticks and moved to a tiny island between Japan and South Korea to teach English, where she quickly got used to being followed around the supermarket by her students. It was in Japan that she got her first byline and was quickly hooked. Since then, she’s been fortunate to write for most of her favourite publications, but always harboured dreams of seeing her name on the front of a book. Now, she’s managing to combine her love of writing and an obsession with interesting and largely unknown women from history, with the school run in Bristol, where she lives with her husband and two children.