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.
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 - http://rosgemmell.blogspot.com (children’s writing)
Reading and Writing – http://ros-readingandwriting.blogspot.com (main blog)
Romancing History – http://romygemmell.blogspot.com (historical)