AUTHOR: Romy Gemmell
BOOK TITLE: Dangerous Deceit
PUBLISHER: Champagne Books
Please tell us about yourself?
I have lived in the beautiful west coast of Scotland all my life and the scenery often inspires my writing. This has been a year of firsts! My first historical novel, Dangerous Deceit, set in Regency England, was published by Champagne Books in Canada in May 2011. My first tween novel, Summer of the Eagles, which is set in Scotland, is being published by MuseItUp Publishing in Canada in March 2012 (as Ros). Although these are my first novels, I’ve been writing short stories and articles for years, many of which are published in UK national magazines, in the US and online (as Rosemary). Now that my children are grown up, I’m trying to concentrate on being a full time writer, in between proof reading and such like for my husband.
Tell us your latest news?
I often judge writing competitions in local areas of Scotland and I’ll be a judge for one of the short story competitions at the Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference in March. A mainstream novel set in Scotland is currently seeking an agent and one of my stories was included in Lavender Dreams from MuseItUp , which is sold in aid of cancer research.
When and why did you begin writing?
Like many writers, I loved English and reading at school and soon started writing my own teenage romantic and idealistic poetry. Then I began to try writing short stories as my children grew up. When we moved house, I discovered a local writing group and that’s when my writing really took off. I won a short story competition and never looked back, although it took a while to get another story published! I’m still a member of that same group all these years later and now encourage other writers.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I played at being a writer for some years, so I kept it low key. When my first story was published, I started calling myself a writer to help me take it more seriously.
What inspired you to write your first book?
After many years writing short stories, articles and a few children’s stories, I was keen to move on to longer length fiction. Since I grew up reading Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, I was naturally drawn to the Regency period. I studied history as part of my degrees and I know a lot of background about the Regency, so it really chose me! I do, however, write in a great variety of genres and can’t seem to remain in one period or with one type of book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not a message as such, but I did want to explore what life was like for a well-born young woman in the early 19th century, and all the restrictions imposed on her. That naturally led to my heroine, Lydia, fighting against those restrictions as part of the story. I also wanted to mention the political situation at the time, as Britain and France were at war.
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
At the moment, I’m reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and loving every bit of it. The three characters’ voices leap off the page and give us a more rounded insight into their lives and situation. I’m interested in the historical aspects of the racial problems and astonished at how recently those events took place.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Before that, I just finished a debut novel by one of my daughter’s friends, Viking Gold by V. Campbell. Even though I wasn’t that interested in Vikings, this novel for young adults absolutely grabbed me from the first paragraph. The characters are so interesting and the pace adds to the page-turning story of a 16 year old boy and the survivors of his village on a voyage of discovery. It also has a strong female character in the Irish slave, Sinead.
What are your current projects?
Now that my tween novel is almost finished with edits, I’m trying to finish another Regency novel and another children’s novel. I also have two contemporary novels to finish, set in Scotland, and a historical set in 16th century Venice. Several short stories are ready to send out and several more are being edited. I’m a butterfly writer, flitting between different types of novels to short stories and articles! And, of course, I’m hoping my mainstream novel finds that agent, or UK publisher.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Although I love writing, I have difficulty with the self-discipline needed for longer length fiction. That’s why I like the immediacy of shorter work. But I love the challenge of writing in different genres and would find it difficult to be curtailed to only one. And if I’m stuck with one project, I go and tackle another to keep me working.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I like to read, swim or dance. I’ve tried belly dancing, salsa, and have been doing tap dancing this last year. My husband and I like to walk when we can, especially beside our coast.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My biggest piece of advice is to keep writing and sending your work out. We all get rejections, but it is never personal and is to be expected in such a competitive world. But make it the best you can then send it to someone else. We all like different things and maybe the right editor/publisher just hasn’t seen yours yet. Believe in yourself!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I appreciate every single person who has bought and read Dangerous Deceit. It is daunting to have a first novel out there and I am so delighted with the great reviews and the fact that readers have taken the time to write them. This is so encouraging to a new author.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My novel, Dangerous Deceit, had a very good report from the New Writers’ Scheme in the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association, and a UK publisher almost took the novel the first time I sent it out. But I’m glad he didn’t, as I rewrote it since then and made a stronger book. A few years ago, there weren’t so many UK publishers taking Regency or historicals and I started doing research online. I came across Champagne Books in Canada and submitted the first three chapters and synopsis. They then asked me to send the whole novel, and I was delighted when it was accepted!
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
General writing/information blog: http://ros-readingandwriting.blogspot.com
Romancing History blog: http://romygemmell.blogspot.com
Children’s writing blog: http://rosgemmell.blogspot.com
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Lydia Hetherington is uninterested in society balls or marriage, until her brother's friend, Lord Marcus Sheldon, rides into her life to unseat her from her horse and unsettle her heart. An undercover spy for the government, Sheldon is equally unsettled by Lydia.
Complicated by a French spy, her best friend's unrequited love for Lydia's brother, James, and a traitorous villain, Lydia gradually finds her emotions stirred by Lord Sheldon. But what is his relationship with the beautiful Lady Smythe and his part in an old scandal? Lydia faces danger before all deception is uncovered and love claims its reward.