Tag Archives: St Andrew’s Day

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.

Happy St Andrew’s Day!

It’s St Andrew’s Day!

To all my Scottish friends and family whether you’re in the Auld Country or scattered to the wind around the world, I wish you a happy St Andrew’s Day!

How do you celebrate? Will you eat haggis? Will you go to The Scotsman’s Haggis Hunt and see if you can “bag” a few there? Have a dram or two? Or just spend a quiet evening in front of the fire?

Now, I’m turning things over to my Scottish-born author friend, Ali Bacon, to share what St Andrews Day means to her.

Take it away, Ali…

What St. Andrew did for me…

Well actually, I don’t know that St. Andrew and I have had much of a connection over the years. We did call our second son Andrew, but more because I thought it was a good ‘match’ for our firstborn Stephen (both names of Greek derivation) than for patriotic reasons. And even in my Scottish childhood, St Andrew was far less of a cultural icon than Rabbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott or Billy Connolly!

But hang on a minute. I did spend four of the best years of my life at St. Andrews University (600 years old this year) where I also met my husband to be – I think that means quite a lot!

castle(Ed note… I’ve been to both St Andrews Castle and Cathedral and remember this dramatic view)

kkdaySt. Andrews these days is best known for being the place where the Prince William met his princess and in the year they married (I knew we were starting a trend!) I started a blog of my own reminiscences of a place (town and university) which is totally unique in so many ways. I only add to it from time to time but if you are interested it’s here.

Surprisingly I don’t remember St. Andrew was celebrated much in the university that bears his name, but there were all kinds of other traditions, some, like Raisin Monday (Ed note… I saw those pics on BBC and it looked like everyone had great fun getting covered in foam) madder than others. Kate Kennedy Day, named after an apocryphal Bishop’s daughter, is a slightly more serious affair with a procession of historical figures which takes place in the spring. I’m glad to say St. Andrew does get to appear, so here he is in his 1970s guise.

Of course it’s many a year since I was in St. Andrews but the town did creep into my novel A Kettle of Fish which is set in my home county of Fife (I just couldn’t leave it out) and in a weird way it has turned up in the novel I’m writing now which is about (amongst other things) the development of photography in Victorian times. (Ed note… I love the Victorian times and use that era extensively in my writing) What does that have to do with St Andrews?  You’re going to have to wait to find out, but I think you’ll be surprised.

Thanks Melanie for having me here while my own website software is having a meltdown – and I hope I can repay the favour some time soon. (Ed note… having issues on this side of the pond with my stats/publicity plugin so I can understand your angst)

About Ali:

Ali BaconAli Bacon was born in Dunfermline in Scotland and graduated from St Andrews University. She now lives near Bristol. Her writing has been published in Scribble, The Yellow Room and a number of online magazines as well as the Unchained Anthology.

A Kettle of FishA Kettle of Fish (Scottish Contemporary Fiction) and are both available in paperback and e-book formats via major online retailers.

A Kettle of Fish on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/AKettleOfFish

Website and blog: http://alibacon.com

Unchained Anthology http://writersunchained.wordpress.com

Twitter @AliBacon