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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome Rosemary Gemmell

Welcome to Rosemary Gemmell. Rosemary tells us about her tween novel Summer of Eagles. Over to you Rosemary.

Summer of the Eagles by Ros Gemmell
A big thank you to Sue for having me on her lovely blog today.  Although I’ve been writing short stories, articles, and children’s stories for years, and my first historical novel was published in May 2011, Summer of the Eagles is my first tween novel and I’m so excited that it’s being published at last. Unfortunately, I don’t have the cover art yet, so we’ll have to just imagine what it might be like!
I thought I’d look at some of the experiences that influenced my choice of setting, characters and subject matter for this novel. But first the blurb.

Blurb: Summer of the Eagles
‘Thirteen year old Stephanie (Stevie) loses her parents in a terrible accident, leaving her lame. Stevie’s dreams of running for Scotland are over. No longer able to cope with Stevie’s moods, her Gran sends her to an aunt on a Scottish island.
Although Stevie gradually makes new friends and discovers an interest in the bird sanctuary, she soon falls into danger from two bird poachers intent on harming the eagles. 
Karig, a strange boy in the hills, helps Stevie to heal. Could he have anything to do with the eagles or the painted rocks and legends of the island?’

Experiences and Influences
One of the most important aspects of any kind of novel is its setting. Since I’ve lived in Scotland all my life, I was keen to give my children’s novel an authentic Scottish background. From childhood onwards, I’ve often visited the small island of Cumbrae off the west coast where it’s like stepping back in time. With seaside, cycling and hills, it’s perfect for summer holidays or days out. But it also has the intriguing addition of painted rocks at various points on the island. And that started the writer’s eternal question of what if...? So instead of using one of the rocks already in existence, I imagined another one – of an eagle.
Normally, my characters come first but although my heroine, Stevie, was there right from the start, it was the setting which inspired my strange boy in the hills, Karig. The whole novel took shape around thirteen year old Stevie, who is tragically orphaned and lamed in an accident. My own father suddenly died when I was twelve which devastated our family. As well as the utter sadness and shock, my eleven year old brother and I were also coping with puberty and moving to high school, so I remember what it was like. Although Stevie also lost her mum, I was able to draw on those never forgotten feelings and to make them even worse for my orphaned character to create the conflict with her Gran.
Since I love a little bit of fantasy blended with reality, my eagle rock became the inspiration for the subject matter in Summer of the Eagles. I’ve always been influenced by the Bible all through Sunday School and church, and I’m fascinated with all the references to eagles, as they are my favourite birds. Added to that is the terrible problems with egg poachers in parts of the world - those evil people who set out to harm the birds, or steal their eggs. So the novel became partly about the fictional bird sanctuary on the island where Stevie’s aunt, and eventually Stevie, help out. And Karig became the allegorical eagle protector in whom Stevie eventually confides. Add in the influence of all those youth group beach barbecues I used to attend, and we have the other young people who befriend Stevie.
Over all, Summer of the Eagles, is an adventure story where one young teenager has to cope with her new realities and feelings, and unexpected danger, in the hope she survives the summer as a stronger person. Available from MuseItUp Publishing in March 2012.
Author Bio
Rosemary Gemmell is a prize-winning freelance writer of short stories and articles in national magazines, the US and online. Three children’s stories are published in different anthologies. Now writing full-length fiction, her first historical novel, Dangerous Deceit, was published by Champagne Books in May 2011 (as Romy Gemmell). Her first tween novel, Summer of the Eagles, will be published by MuseItUp Publishing in March 2012 (as Ros Gemmell). She is married with two grown-up children and loves to dance!
Find more about Ros at: 
Blogs: Flights of Imagination - (children’s writing)
           Reading and Writing – (main blog)
           Romancing History – (historical)
Twitter: @rosemarygemmell


Paula Martin said...

Great post, Rosemary, and fascinating to read how you've woven so many strands of your own experiences into your story.

Chris Longmuir said...

You never fail to amaze me with your versatility, Rosemary. Good luck with your tween novel, I'm sure it's a great story.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Wow, you've got here before me, Paula and Chris! Thanks for your very kind comments and your support.

Thank you for having me here, Sue. Looking forward to being on your blog today and tomorrow!

Sue Perkins said...

You're very welcome Rosemary, I just popped in before I toddle off to bed. It's 11:30pm here. See you tomorrow.

Vikki said...

Really looking forward to reading it! x

Jenny Twist said...

Very interesting post, Rosemary, amnd the book looks SO good.

Myra Duffy said...

Really looking forward to reading this,Rosemary -even though I'm not quite in this category of reader!

Teresa Ashby said...

Great post, Rosemary. It is always good to read how a book came about and Summer of Eagles sounds a brilliant read!

Maggie Craig said...

Looking forward to reading this one, Rosemary. The Isle of Cumbrae has clearly sent your imagination soaring!

Gill Stewart said...

Looking forward to reading it too - even more now I've learnt a bit about it.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that, Vikki!

Thanks for commenting, Jenny!

Thanks, Myra - you can get in touch with your inner teenager!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Teresa - thanks for coming over!

Thanks, Maggie - I really enjoyed writing this!

Thanks, Gill - will look forward to your comments on it!

gail roughton branan said...

Rosemary, how lovely! As the book weaves in and around your absolute reality, I know it's as as magical as it sounds! I think we all write best when we write from our hearts -- all my work is Southern except one, because I am. I know I'll feel as though I'm on that Scottish island when I read this. Sue, as always a wonderful post!

Joanna said...

Fantastic post, Rosemary. I'm looking forward to your book very much and I have daughters who will love this novel too. I found it really interesting to learn about the influence on your writing from aspects of your life.
many thanks to you and to Sue. x

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hello Gail - thanks for that lovely comment. It's good to use our own particular settings sometimes.

Thanks for coming over, Joanna - I'm delighted the story appeals to you!

Pat McDermott said...

So many layers and strands in this story, Rosemary. The family dilemma you've given Stevie, the bird poaching, the rocks and the exotic (for me) setting all have the makings of a fine adventure. I'll be watching for this one!

Gwen Kirkwood said...

I enjoyed reading about the background to this book Rosemary, and the parts of it which belong to you as a person. I may be a very old teen but I'm young enough at heart to enjoy a good story and I'm sure this will be excellent.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Pat - hope it lives up to expectations!

Hello Gwen - thanks for coming over to leave such a nice comment! We're all young at heart really.

Patsy said...

Sounds like a wonderful setting - just the sort of place your readers might want to explore.

Diane Fordham said...

Excellent post. Well done Rosemary. x

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that, Patsy!

Hi Diane - thanks for coming over!

Joan Fleming said...

Looking forward to reading it, Rosemary. Yet another landmark for you!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that, Joan!

Many thanks again to Sue for having me here these two days and allowing me to start talking about Summer of the Eagles - I had a good time!