It’s a great pleasure to introduce Rosemary Gemmell to Patricia’s Pen. Rosemary not only writes brilliant novels for adults, but is also a fantastic story writer for children. Today Rosemary has come to blog about her children’s books. Without further ado, it’s over to Rosemary.
Writing Children’s Fiction
Thank you very much, Patricia, for inviting me to guest on your interesting blog.
It’s a bit of a departure, and pleasure, for me to chat about my children’s writing for a change; on social media I tend to focus more on writing for adults. However, I’ve written three books and several shorter stories for various young ages.
Thinking about this reminded me that the first children’s story I wrote and submitted to a Scottish competition was before I began writing articles and stories for magazines! I was amazed and delighted to win that first competition with a story for Under 7s, called Jeremy Jones in the Jungle. It was eventually published online by US company Knowonder.
Several more children’s stories followed, four published in anthologies and two published online by SmartyPants. Soon, I turned to longer fiction for young people with Summer of the Eagles, The Jigsaw Puzzle and The Pharaoh’s Gold. The first two were originally published by MuseItUp Publishing in Canada.
As with my other writing, Scotland greatly inspires settings and ideas. With the younger fiction, there is also an element of writing for the child within. This happened with my first book, Summer of the Eagles, for ages around ten to twelve, although that’s only a guide since children read at different speeds and abilities.
Although I love a touch of fantasy or magic in stories, I wanted to base my three children’s books in reality, and gave each of the protagonists a realistic background, including family problems or changes to their young lives. Then I added that touch of fantasy to provide added enjoyment for the reader (and myself!).
I love Scottish islands and visited Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae many times as a child. The painted rocks around the island fired my imagination and I had to set Summer of the Eagles there. This book is also popular with adult readers and is still one of my own favourite stories that I’ve written for any age. I lost my father when I was twelve and wanted to explore what it would be like for a thirteen-year-old girl to suddenly lose both her parents. But Stevie finds healing in unexpected ways.
The second published book is for middle grade readers, around eight to ten years. The Jigsaw Puzzle’s main character, Daniel, is asthmatic (as was my own son) and his parents are having problems. So I take Daniel to his cousin’s cottage in the Scottish countryside between Christmas and New Year, where the touch of fantasy begins with an old jigsaw!
I’ve always loved anything to do with Ancient Egypt and finally got around to writing a time-slip story for middle grade readers, called The Pharaoh’s Gold. While attending a summer workshop about Egypt at their local museum, friends Matthew and Nikki are unexpectedly transported to Ancient Egypt where they become involved in a plot to rob the Pharoah’s tomb.
Hopefully, I’ll continue writing stories for younger children, as a change from other types of writing, for as long as the imagination provides the ideas!
About Rosemary Gemmell
Rosemary Gemmell is a published Scottish novelist of contemporary and historical fiction and children’s middle grade books, and a freelance writer whose short stories, articles and poems have been published in UK magazines, the US, and online. She is a member of the Society of Authors, Romantic Novelists’ Association and Scottish Association of Writers. Scotland greatly inspires some of her writing.
The paperback of all three books can be ordered from book shops or libraries.