Category Archives: Rosemary Gemmell

St Andrews Day with guest Rosemary Gemmell

St Andrews Day
Welcome to my little corner of Canada, Rosemary. I’m glad you were able to make the virtual trip across the pond to celebrate St Andrews Day here at Celtic Connexions.

I take it you’re ready for a good old-fashioned ceilidh – Canadian style.

Come and sit by the fire St Andrews Day take the chill off.*escorts my esteemed guest to one of the tartan wing-back chairs facing the crackling fire*

St Andrews Day
photo from Flickr

We’ll start with something ‘fizzy’ to celebrate your latest book contract. Can you tell us a bit about the novel and the series?

*Picks up bell off side table and summons manservant, Donald*

Thanks so much for inviting me to your St Andrew’s Day Party, Melanie – I’m honoured to be here! My most recent novel released this year is The Highland Lass, which fits right in as it’s set completely in Scotland. Mainly contemporary, Eilidh Campbell returns to the Inverclyde area on the west coast of Scotland seeking answers to her past – with the help of the handsome Scot she meets on the transatlantic flight!

Along the way, she traces the story of Highland Mary (an ancestress) and her relationship with Robert Burns. Mary tells her own story in short alternate chapters from 1785-6.

*Leans forward and switches on the music* I think this piece by the Corries is perfect to listen to after talking about Robbie Burns and his Highland Mary.

From the time one of your novels is accepted to publication, do you have to go through an extensive editing process?

Yes, both my publishers, Tirgearr in Ireland, who publish my Aphrodite and Adonis series, and Crooked Cat in the UK who published The Highland Lass, assign an editor to each author and we work with that editor until the book is as good as possible. Some books need lighter editing than others but all go through the process.

The meal will start with Cullen Skink for the soup course, followed by haggis, then roast venison with tatties and neeps.

St Andrews Day
By Metukkalihis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Yum – can’t wait to start on that food. Good job it’s virtual calories!

We’ll have a dram with our haggis course. I have 18 year old Glenlivet and Cardhu, and 14 & 18 year old Oban. Which one would you like, if any?

I have to confess I don’t drink whisky, though when I was young, I remember my father telling my mother that if she was going to drink alcohol it should be whisky as that was the purest drink! And he did give me a hot toddy once when I was unwell – clears up a cold quickly.

St Andrews Day
By Kim Traynor (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I have a Cabernet Shiraz from the Niagara region (East Dell Estates) that will taste lovely with the venison. We can order it from the winery and have it delivered right to our front door.

Ah, yes, I’ll have a glass of red wine, please – I allow myself a small glass of that with a meal now and then!

I have to confess, I’ve never cooked venison before so I hope it’s edible.

St Andrews Day
By Ewan Munro from London, UK (Crown, Barnsbury, London Uploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Music – The Corries, Runrig, Auld Blind Dogs. Which group do you like best?

I love Celtic music so I’m happy to listen to your choice and I’ll probably discover some new groups!

Loving this delicious meal, thanks, Melanie!

This is one of my favourite songs by the Old Blind Dogs.

I picked up a Dundee Cake to have for dessert and will start a pot of coffee using Chez Piggy (specially blended for a restaurant in nearby Kingston) blend.

St Andrews Day
By RGloucester (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ll have Donald bring our cake and coffee back to the lounge where we can get comfortable in front of the fire again and chat some more.

Will there be a sequel to The Highland Lass?

I’m not planning a sequel to this one but I am trying to finish a different novel set in Scotland, with different characters and possibly completely contemporary – but with a little mystery again.

I can’t wait! I love novels set in Scotland.

Do you currently have any other writing projects on the go?

The third novella in my Aphrodite and Adonis series set on Cyprus has been accepted by Tirgearr for release in spring 2016 – this is contemporary romance with a touch of mythological fantasy (as Romy Gemmell)! I had also started the first novel in a Victorian crime series but I haven’t got completely into it yet, and I have another contemporary novel on the go. Too many different projects at once!

I can sympathize. I’ve got a couple of projects on the go, although one is being sorely neglected while I work on the other on as my NaNoWriMo project.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I usually have two books on the go – one on kindle and one in print. I’m reading the second crime novel by Alexandra Sokoloff at the moment. She used to write Hollywood scripts and now lives in Scotland and her Huntress Moon series is excellent. I’m also reading my way through several romance novels on kindle in between. I’m shortly about to start Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, one of my favourite writers.

I’ll be sure to check these authors out. I’m always on the hunt for someone new.

*Pushes the play button on the CD player* I’ve set it on random this time but I really wanted you to hear the other songs first. I hope you like Runrig. I love their rock beat with the gaelic language, although I can’t remember if Alba is performed this way. I know a number of their songs are.

Oh this is another favourite of mine by the Old Blind Dogs. I’m really hoping to see them sometime when I’m in Scotland.

I hope you’re enjoying my eclectic tastes in music from folk to rock and back again. Normally, Donald would be clad in a kilt but I’ve embarrassed him too many times, so today he kept his trousers on.

We’ll close up with your author links. I hope you’ve enjoyed spending St Andrews Day here in Canada at Celtic Connexions.

Website: www.rosemarygemmell.com

Blog: http://ros-readingandwriting.blogspot.com

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-Gemmell/e/B00U19Z4H4

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romy-Gemmell/1422387704702586

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rosgemmell/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosemaryGemmell

I’ve had a great time visiting with you and it’s made me celebrate St Andrew’s Day properly for a change.

THE HIGHLAND LASS by Rosemary Gemmell ~ BLOG TOUR

highlandBlurb

Eilidh Campbell returns to her Scottish roots from America with one main aim: to discover the identity of her real father. But her mother’s past in Inverclyde is a mystery with family secrets, a book of Robert Burns’ poems with a hidden letter and a photograph link to the Holy Loch at Dunoon when the American Navy were in residence.

Staying with her childhood friend, Kirsty, while searching for answers, Eilidh begins to fall in love with handsome Scot Lewis Grant, but just how free is he? Together they trace the story of Highland Mary and Robert Burns, with its echoes to her mother’s story. From Dunoon, to Ayrshire and culminating in Greenock, Eilidh finds the past is closer than she realises.

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Buy Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Highland-Lass-Rosemary-Gemmell-ebook/dp/B00TOTER6Q

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Lass-Rosemary-Gemmell-ebook/dp/B00TOTER6Q

Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Highland-Lass-Rosemary-Gemmell-ebook/dp/B00TOTER6Q

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I’m thrilled you were able to stop in here at Celtic Connexions on your blog tour, Rosemary. There’s so much I want to know about The Highland Lass among other things.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today, Melanie. It’s lovely to be here and next best thing to sharing a cup of tea with you in person.

You write in a variety of genres – short stories, articles, novellas, and novels. Do you have one you prefer over the others?

I used to think I preferred writing short stories, until I started getting into longer fiction, and now the short stories are more infrequent. So I probably prefer longer fiction, whether novellas or novels. I do, however, enjoy writing articles every now and then as they employ a completely different, more analytical part of the brain and I find them a good rest from the imaginary world of fiction.

Your latest novel, The Highland Lass, holds a special place in your heart. Most of it is contemporary but there are some historical chapters in Highland Mary’s voice. Is she, or perhaps Robbie Burns, a part of the family secret Eilidh has come to Scotland to discover?

The main thrust of the story is that Eilidh has never known who her real father was and needs to try and find the answer. After her mother’s death in America, she discovers a secret love letter in her mother’s book of Burns’ poems signed by the letter R and a photograph that suggests a link to the American Navy at the Holy Loch. Her mother always maintained that Highland Mary was an ancestress and Eilidh feels drawn to the 18th century story. She also feels an affinity with the handsome Scot, Lewis Grant, whom she meets on the flight home to Scotland, as if they have known each other for much longer.

What inspired you to write The Highland Lass?

My mother first introduced me to Highland Mary’s grave in Greenock cemetery when I was a girl and I’ve been fascinated by her ever since. I also enjoyed Burns’ poetry, especially after winning the Burns certificate for recitation in primary school twice! But Mary Campbell was one small part of Burns’ life, with only certain ‘facts’ written over the years. My imagination was fired but I knew I couldn’t sustain a whole novel in the past as I didn’t want it to be about Burns himself. Since Eilidh is a Campbell, she becomes even more fascinated by the story of Robert Burns’ Highland Lass and their love story finds echoes in her mother’s story.

I also wanted to write about my own area of Inverclyde in homage to its beautiful scenery and I was interested in the period when the American Navy was based in the Holy Loch during the 1960s and 70s (and beyond) as many of the young girls on this side of the river went to the dances there and in Greenock – Eilidh’s mother being one of them.

How much research did it require?

The modern part didn’t require so much, as it’s set in all the areas I personally know, though I did need to visit the relevant parts of Ayrshire, just as Eilidh and Lewis do. I’ve been researching the historical details on and off for years and had an article about Burns and Highland Mary published in The Highlander magazine in the USA some years ago. Rather than speak to any descendants of Highland Mary, I preferred to use the letters, poems and non-fiction books to find out about her short time with Burns and how she affected him. This was important to me as the historical parts are completely fictionalised, albeit from the known ‘facts’ and they allowed me to imagine Mary’s voice.

What’s your next project?

I’m currently writing the third in my Aphrodite and Adonis series of contemporary novellas, with a touch of mythological fantasy set on Cyprus, for Tirgearr Publishing. At the same time, I have several other novels/novellas (historical and contemporary) awaiting some attention. I’m also writing a Victorian crime novel set around my own area – if I ever get on with the rest of it. Then there are the short stories and articles that are started but not yet finished!

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Author Bio

highland

A prize-winning writer, Rosemary Gemmell’s short stories, articles, and poems have been published in UK magazines, in the US, and online. She is now a historical and contemporary novelist and The Highland Lass is the first novel from Crooked Cat Publishing under her full name. She has also published historical novels and contemporary novellas with a touch of mythological fantasy from Tirgearr Publishing as Romy and tween books as Ros, as she likes to tackle a variety of writing genres and styles.

Rosemary has a BA (hons) in European literature and history and a post-graduate MA in Humanities from the Open University. She is a member of the Society of Authors, the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Scottish Association of Writers. She enjoys sharing writing information, and loves to dance!

Author Links

Website: http://www.rosemarygemmell.com

Blog: http://ros-readingandwriting.blogspot.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romy-Gemmell/1422387704702586

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosemaryGemmell

Thank you for stopping by and sharing this exciting new book with us. My father may have been born in Aberdeenshire, but he was raised in Inverclyde at The Orphan Homes of Scotland so this part of your beautiful country is very special to me, too.