I’m so pleased to welcome Rosemary Gemmell to the blog to talk about her beloved homeland Scotland as a background for many of her books and her latest release, Return to Kilgraig. I’ve known Rosemary online for a while now, as we are fellow members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and I was delighted to meet her at an event a year or so ago. For her first visit to my blog, I had plenty of questions for her – but first, the cover and the blurb . . .
The legacy of her beloved grandmother’s cottage in the Scottish village of Kilcraig seems like the ideal solution after Christy Morrison’s recent trauma. Until the threats begin. Can she trust her heart and allow herself to fall in love again?
When Ross McKinley reluctantly welcomes Christy back to the village, he has hardened his heart against love, until they begin to renew their childhood friendship. But someone is determined Christy should go back to London. Will they find the culprit in time?
You can view the trailer here
And now to find out more from the author herself . . .
Rosemary, your latest book is set in Scotland, as are many of your stories. Why do you think it makes such a fabulous backdrop for what you write?
Well first of all, I’ve always lived in the west coast of Scotland (so far!) and love being within easy distance of the River Clyde and Loch Lomond. It’s a country of such majestic scenery that no matter where I go, from the southern Dumfries and Galloway region to the Highlands, I’m never far from mountains, lochs or glens. Such dramatic scenery as well as the centuries of history and legend attached to many areas provides endless settings and inspiration. Even the islands all have their own individual beauty, while the west and east coasts are so different but each with its own identity. Evidently Germans, Russians and Americans (to name those I’ve heard mentioned in this regard) find it a very romantic country, although they probably see it through romanticised spectacles!
Do you always research and visit the area your books are set in?
Up until now, I’ve only used settings with which I am very familiar as that’s been part of the enjoyment, wanting to share a little of the atmosphere and beauty. One of my tween books, Summer of the Eagles, was inspired by the west coast Isle of Cumbrae which I’ve visited many times over the years and it wasn’t difficult to let my imagination provide the slight fantasy element in the story. The Highland Lass is very much homage to my own area of Inverclyde, along with visits to Argyllshire, Ayrshire, Glasgow and Loch Lomond. The only area I revisited for a little more research was Ayrshire for the historical part of the story, where Robert Burns met Highland Mary. Otherwise, it was all from my own experience and knowledge about where I grew up, together with the necessary reading for the historical facts.
The latest book set in Scotland, Return to Kilcraig, is inspired by a variety of the lovely country villages around here but isn’t any one of them. The country roads and local loch all exist, however, but could be one of several! I’ve no doubt I’ll continue to set books and novellas in Scotland but one of them at least is set in the east coast and I may need to do a little more exploring for that one.
Sounds like the perfect excuse for a bit of travelling, if you ask me!
There is an element of mystery involved alongside romance in this one. Can you tell us a little about how and why? (without giving the game away!)
My own favourite type of book to read is Romantic Suspense, or romance with a touch of mystery and intrigue and my Regency books and Victorian novella (as Romy) all have an element of intrigue. With this new contemporary novel, I wanted to see if I could make it more suspenseful while keeping the romantic element, albeit on a sweeter level. I think it’s turned out fairly even between romance and suspense (hopefully) but there is more of an element of danger and a little mystery about what is happening to Christy when she returns to the village and why. Because I love references to literature (which several of my books have), there is even a little mystery over a particular copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and I was able to incorporate some of the lines from it here and there. I think I’m foremost a character writer so I’ve tried to include enough characters to keep the mystery alive until near the end.
Which aspects of Ross and Christy’s characters did you enjoy writing the most? Did anything about them surprise you as they developed?
I enjoyed writing about a couple who had known each other for many years but had never had the chance to develop their friendship into something deeper before now. I particularly enjoyed writing about Ross, and the story is told partly from his point of view. He is the kind of hero I like to read about – reserved, honest and hard to read for the heroine. Two people have told me there is a slightly modern Regency feel to it so perhaps he’s an old fashioned, honourable character in some ways.
Christy is wracked with guilt for two different reasons so it takes her a while to trust her heart, especially when she starts receiving threats. The character that most surprised me was Ross’s brother, Cameron – he developed in quite a different way from I envisaged. But that’s why I like writing a novel as I go, without planning it in advance. It lets the characters grow as they interact with each other.
Oh, yes, I love that aspect of writing, when your characters take on a life of their own!
What are you working on next?
As always, I’m writing short stories, articles, occasional poems, plus the end of another children’s book – all while in the middle of one novella and a novel started some time ago. And that’s only the ones I’m planning to get on with first! I have several in the background, including a Victorian crime novel started a couple of years ago set in my own area. The first 15,000 words won second prize at our annual Scottish Association of Writers Conference and I still haven’t continued with it – even though a few people have told me to concentrate on that! I don’t think my butterfly tendencies will ever change now but I am trying very hard to complete whatever I begin at last. The variety keeps the slog and pleasure of writing interesting.
Gosh, Rosemary, you are such a busy lady! Thank you for visiting – it’s been lovely to find out more about you and your writing 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rosemary Gemmell is a published historical and contemporary novelist for adults (also as Romy) and also writes for the Middle Grade/tween age group (as Ros). Her short stories, articles and occasional poems have been published in UK magazines, in the US, and online and several stories have won awards.
Rosemary has a Post-graduate Masters in literature and history and is a member of the Society of Authors, the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Scottish Associations of Writers. She also loves to dance!
You can find Rosemary at: