Guest Post by Stella Hervey Birrell

I’m delighted to welcome to the blog, Stella Hervey Birrell.  Stella is the author of How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right, published by Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd on 15 April 2016.  This is her debut novel. 

On Weddings, and being sure.

If your character is looking for Mr Right, the big wedding scene is the ultimate ambition. My novel, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? doesn’t close with Melissa’s wedding, and of course, I’m not going to spoil the story by telling you where she ends up, either…

Melissa is one of the few characters in the novel that is interested in marriage at all, her cool Edinburgh friends are beyond it, and her market-town pals don’t have marriage on their agendas.

When my own sister got married, I walked down the aisle behind her as ‘unofficial’ bridesmaid. My family are all about the unofficial when it comes to weddings: another sister is unofficially not married (she is married), and a third is unofficially married (she isn’t married). Anyway, it was a lovely service, but my overwhelming memory was when my brother in law-to-be turned to look at my sister, as she walked down the church, and he just. Looked. So. Sure.

Absolutely sure. Not terrified, or sitting light to the commitment they were about to make, or making a joke out of the whole thing. It was beautiful. 

When my future husband and I first got engaged, I told him this story. So, on our wedding day, he arranged his face into a ‘being sure’ expression accordingly, as I walked down the aisle of our own village church. 

Of course it was entirely wasted on me, I spent the whole walk saying hello to all our guests. His ‘sure’ face was lost in a haze of ‘Hi! Look at you!’ and ‘Stella! Here she comes!’ He was quite put out, having made all that effort. I missed my special moment too.

But that’s OK – we’d had the eyes-across-a-crowded-room thing, a couple of years before. We’d felt our way into a complex, modern relationship, a melding of his family and mine. Our demons were sorted and organised into pairs: mine and his sitting side by side like yowling babies in a hospital nursery. Our baggage was piled into corners, his bags, my bags, all of it accumulating stress like dust, but off our backs at least. 

This is the important stuff.

It had been a long journey to Mr Right, and a bit of paper saying we were married didn’t really mean anything – it was second time around for my Mr Right for a start. ‘Wedding’ should be defined as: ‘very expensive day which all your guests complain about, because it is not designed to their specifications.’ It was hands down the most stressful party I have ever hosted: I lost two whole friends as a result of my guest list alone! 

And every day since the ‘big day’ has been much more significant. Every day Mr Right and I have chosen to choose each other all over again. Every moment we stayed sure. Every hour that we’ve kept our eyes on each other, our demons in sight, and stored more of that back-breaking baggage, alongside the dust and the stress.

I’m glad I left Melissa before ‘I do.’ I trust her to work it out: that a wedding is not the important bit. It’s more important to be with someone who is sure. To be sure about them. And you don’t have to walk down the middle of a church to know that.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to find out where Melissa does end up, my book, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? it is available from the following places:

UK Amazon

US Amazon



iBooks – search ‘How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right?’ in the iTunes Store

How to find me: please come and say ‘hi!’

My blog space is

Twitter is @atinylife140

I have a page on Facebook here.

Email me at

I can also be found wandering the streets of various East Lothian villages.

About the book:

Sneak a look into Melissa’s present, past and future… 

Her present: Living in Edinburgh certainly beats working two dead-end jobs, in a dead-end town, and staying with her Mum. 
And thank goodness for her friends: Julie – her bestie – always has her back, even if she does have a new, boyfriend-shaped growth. Gerry regularly introduces her to eligible men, so it’s OK to ignore his belief that women belong in the kitchen. And the new guy James…perhaps he could be more than just a friend? 

Her past: Melissa can’t stop thinking about things her dad said when he was alive. Re-playing warnings about teenage boyfriends and the over-use of the phone might not help, but it’s all she has left of him. Will obsessing about her past block the path to happy-ever-after? 

Her future: Stressful days with a toddler, filled with love, paint, wee (or is it just water?) and ‘I’m not eating that!’ Is every day to be a solo-parenting day for Melissa? 

It’s hard work searching for The One when you’re a modern, independent, strident, lonely feminist. 

From noisy pub to folk club, from broken heart to new start, you’ll end up rooting for Melissa, despite her despicable decisions and massive mistakes. 

A story about frog-kissing, bed-hopping, sliding off your lily-pad with embarrassment, and croaking with joy.

Author bio:

Stella Hervey Birrell was born but not bred in a market town in Fife, Scotland, just before the winter of discontent in 1978. Writing success came early when at the age of 13 she won the Class Prize in the National Bible Society of Scotland’s Annual Competition with her poem, ‘Mary’s Donkey.’ From memory, the poem itself was fairly dire.

After various distractions such as an Open University degree, marriage, several years working as a Committee Clerk, and children, Stella began writing in earnest in the early hours of the morning and during naptimes. Her first novel, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? was published by Crooked Cat books in 2016.

Stella writes a weekly wordpress blog about her tinylife. Other short pieces have been published, (or are coming soon) in The Guardian, The Ropes Journal, the Lies, Dreaming podcast, and The Dangerous Woman Project.

Stella now lives in an East Lothian rural idyll with her cat, husband, and children. In that order.


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