Till the Cows Come Home by Lorna Sixsmith
- Science & Nature
With their newborn baby, Lorna Sixsmith and her husband Brian James swapped their public service careers in the UK for the love of cows beneath Slievemargy’s Brow. Lorna’s grandfather George had inherited Garrendenny’s “shrubby wood, bog and decayed timber”. One of nine children, Lorna’s father Joe devoted his life to modernising and improving the farm. Now Lorna’s children play in the same fields. Recounted with Lorna’s trademark wit, through these touching, heart-warming and often amusing stories of Joe’s s childhood in the 1940s, Lorna’s of the 1970s and now her own children’s, we share this journey down memory lane to glimpse rural life down the generations. Whether it was being on the back of a tractor to deliver milk, foraging for blackberries or bumping along grassy tracks atop quivering loads of straw, the long days of summer were filled with adventure. Townie cousins came to stay, hay fields were obstacle courses, superstitions and country cures abounded, and weather was the main topic of conversation. Each generation is different, but some aspects of rural life don’t change. There are the highs and lows of farming, when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but laughter, as Lorna finds, is always the best medicine.
| Interview |
- What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
Little Women – I often imagined myself as Jo, also dreaming of writing a novel someday. I always admired her daring spirit when she cut her hair too.
- Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
Bruno of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. It was one of those books that I really couldn’t put down and read it in one very long sitting. His flaws, his good nature, his trust, his confusion, his attempts to do right by his friend, combined to make him an unforgettable character.
- Can you tell us a little about your journey with your new release?
Having written some blog posts sharing some family history and some childhood experiences on the farm, I knew there was an interest in that type of writing. So many people were reared on farms or visited farming grandparents during their summer holiday, and they were leaving comments suggesting they loved the nostalgia.
My agents pitched the idea to publishers and it was Black and White Publishing that offered me the deal. It’s been enjoyable doing further research into the history of the farm as well as asking family members for their memories of events over half a century ago.
- Can you please, share a photo with us that tells a story.
In 2012, our local church was 200 years ago and it was decided to have a commemoration service to celebrate the anniversary. In a way, the event kickstarted my writing career as I, along with my retired primary school teacher, researched and wrote a short book detailing the history of the church and the families who attended for worship. I also wrote a play, and the children acted it out during the service. Many children took the parts of relatives long dead, and with humour, we played out the interactions between families and their roles within the community. My daughter played the part of herself, a young modern girl, and my son played the part of Herbert Sixsmith, my great granduncle, who died in 1939.
- What was your favourite read of 2017?
The Good People by Hannah Kent. Although I preferred her previous book, Burial Rites, I really enjoyed this historical fiction which dealt with the Irish fascination with old cures, superstitions and folklore.
- If your book came with a theme song what would it be?
I think it would have to be “I’m Farming and I Grow It” by the
Peterson brothers. It’s a parody of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” so it’s a fun way of showing how farmers produce food and it also shows their passion for caring for the land and their livestock.
- Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
I read a lot of farm and agricultural memoirs. I’m currently reading Cold Antler Farm by Jenna Woginrich. I also enjoy crime thrillers (next on my list is One Click by Andrea Mara), historical fiction (although not romantic historical fiction) and classics.
- If you could ask your readers anything, what would you want to know?
What did you most enjoy about my book?
- What are you working on now?
I’m starting working on two. The nonfiction is exploring how farm women, not from farming backgrounds, adjusted to life on the farm (with many funny incidents) and how many of them have become fully fledged farmers. The novel is from the perspective of a new farm wife and is a humourous look at her adjusting to life on the farm, living in close proximity to her inlaws and to livestock.
| Order Link |
| Publisher Info|
Black & White Publishing
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