Lorna Sixsmith, author and farmer, is one of our newest stockists to Irish Handmade Gifts. Her three books Would You Marry A Farmer?, How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife and An Ideal Farm Husband are now available from our online gift shop with worldwide shipping. This is the first of our interviews with our Irish stockists, all of which are made in Ireland.
Lorna, you are an author and a farmer. Is it easy to merge the two?
Well, I used to be an English teacher so I do have that background. I don’t get much writing done in the busy calving season whereas the summer is when I tend to get most of my writing done. It’s surprising what ideas come to mind during the “thinking time” of feeding calves or bringing in the cows.
Lorna, are these books all about farming? Who do you think would enjoy them?
They are about farming life – the good, the bad and the ugly in many ways. They aren’t about the technicalities of farming such as increasing milk yield or the best tractor to buy. They are non fiction, realistic and humourous. They explore farming situations with a pinch of salt sometimes.
Would You Marry A Farmer? was my first book and explores the trials and tribulations of doing such a thing – that of marrying a farmer.
How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife shows that farm women would need the superwoman cape to achieve everything expected of them so it includes lots of tips on cheating to give the impression you’re a perfect farm wife.
An Ideal Farm Husband looks at what it takes for men to be an ideal farm husband and points out all those little irritating things he must avoid.
The second and third books have a number of fun quizzes too – to check your progress!
Who enjoys them? Anyone in a farming family will find lots to laugh at. What I hear from readers is someone starts to read it and will read snippets out to other family members and they all laugh lots as they recognise themselves or someone else in it. Non farmers enjoy the books for the insight into farming life too. They are popular gifts for hen parties, stag parties, weddings, engagements and I’ve also heard of farmers including Would You Marry A Farmer? in their marriage proposal.
They say you should write about what you know. Would you agree?
Well, I do include much of our own lives in the books, some funny anecdotes as well as my own perspective on things sometimes. Having been away from farming from many years probably helped me to observe farming life from “outside the box” and to see the humour in it. Farmers are very similar the world over and being one means that I share and can understand many of their feelings about life.
The books contain quite a lot of historical detail. Why did you decide to include this?
I’ve found that readers really enjoy learning about farming in the past so it’s very much a social history. I explore the more humourous aspects of farming life such as funny personal ads, articles where writers discussed what made an ideal husband, and what women thought of farmers as husbands in the 1950s. It’s also interesting to compare how farmers are represented in the media in the past compared to today.
As you know, we stock gifts made in Ireland. Are your books produced here?
Yes, it’s 100% Irish. Written in Ireland, about Irish farmers mainly, my editor and illustrator both live in Ireland and the books are printed in Naas.
So if you’re looking for a perfect gift for a Christmas stocking for those farming or interested in farming this year, these will fit the bill. Available online with shipping worldside.