Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Highland Lass and Burns Night

This week, we're heading towards Burns Night in Scotland on 25th January, although the birthday of our national bard is also celebrated all over the world.

As well as being a poet, Burns was also a farmer (for a time) and an exciseman. I've written a few articles about him which were published in The Highlander Magazine in the USA, now included in my Scottish Collection of non-fiction. By all accounts, he was a fascinating, charismatic man with an eye for the ladies.

I was always most interested in one of his 'loves', known as Highland Mary, especially since she is buried in the cemetery of my home town where I'd visited her huge gravestone on many occasions. That early interest never left me and it eventually resulted in the 'novel of my heart', The Highland Lass, a few years ago. Originally published by Crooked Cat Books, it became a kindle number one best seller on Amazon UK, to my great delight.

I've since republished The Highland Lass when the rights reverted to me and it's still a special novel in my eyes. Partly because it's a kind of homage to the beautiful Clyde coast where I grew up and partly because it's a different type of novel from any I'd written before. Instead of either only contemporary, or only historical, it combines both!

The contemporary sections follow Eilidh Campbell as she returns to Scotland to seek the identity of her father, and finds family secrets along the way. She also is keen to find out if the Mary Campbell of Highland Mary fame is an ancestress. The alternate historical chapters are told in the 18th century Mary Campbell's own voice as she meets and falls for her poet farmer.

If you enjoy the poetry of Robert Burns, you might like the quotes at the top of each contemporary chapter! I'd like to write another dual timeline novel at some point but the idea is only a tiny seed at the moment and will have to await its gestation.

Nae gentle dames, tho’ e’er sae fair,
Shall ever be my muse’s care;
Their titles a’ are empty show,
Gie me my highland lassie, O.”

(Robert Burns: The Highland Lassie)



Carolb said...

Happy Burns Night for the 25th, Rosemary.x

(Our butcher's had Haggis available, obviously ready for the celebrations.)

Write For Us said...

I liked your most of the post to read

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Did you try it, Carol?