Blog Tour: The Farm Girl's Dream - Author Interview with Eileen Ramsay

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Eileen Ramsay's latest book. The Farm Girl's Dream is out today and to celebrate it, Eileen has stopped by to answer all my bookish questions, don't miss it:

1) Hi Eileen and welcome to Alba in Bookland. First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Eileen here, nice to be with you. I was born and brought up in South-west Scotland I liked school, especially English, history and music. At that time, music education was a thirty minute radio programme once a week but my father’s family were all singers and my mother loved to listen to opera on the radio. 

After school I went to a teachers’ training college in Edinburgh – the education was first rate and the music sublime. During one of the long ‘breaks’ I got a job as a waitress in an Italian restaurant; fantastic fun. Learned some Italian and how to make Zabaglione. I fell in love – with grand opera, and it’s still a passion.

Before graduation I applied for a teaching post in Washington DC and was thrilled to be accepted. Some of the parents of the children whom I taught were extremely important people and they were very friendly and hospitable to what they saw as a young woman aIone in a foreign country. In DC I met and married a fellow Scot who whisked me away from the high life to California. We lived close to the border with Mexico and as the school in which I taught had a large immigrant population I started to learn Spanish. We visited Mexico often and I fell in love with the country, its people and its history. I studied Spanish and Mexican music and culture there as part of my master’s degree.

The country we visit most often now is Italy. While we were dating I asked my husband to name his favourite book. ‘The Leopard,’ he said immediately. Mine, by the way, is Cry the Beloved Country. Unfortunately there are now too many beloved countries to cry over but Italy isn’t one of them.

Back in Scotland after 18 years, I joined a writing group and wrote some educational materials before starting a series of sagas based on careers for women, teaching, the law, etcetera and was thrilled when the first was accepted. Thanks to the incomparable Hugh Rae, I joined the Society of Authors and later the Romantic Novelists Association, both to be recommended heartily to aspiring writers.

2) Your latest novel, The Farm Girl's Dream, is about a family that struggles to find their way home. Can you tell us a bit more about this story?
My new book THE FARM GIRL’S DREAM is one of my favourites. It’s set during WW1 and is a story of love and hope and courage. My heroine, Victoria, lives with her mother on her beloved grandfather’s farm. She dreams of going to university – is it possible? And what about love. – the handsome aristocrat? A farm boy? I wrote this story not long after living in Mexico and just had to set some of the story there. I hope you’ll like it.

3) Your novels are set in different times and places. How do you research your settings? 
Settings. I’ve either been there, or watched geographical programmes or spoken to someone from there. As to events, I read history, newspapers, and again talk to people.

4) Do your own experiences influence your stories? 
Yes, my experiences turn up all the time. Let’s say you slipped on ice and when you fell your skirt went right up over your face. Believe me you never forget that, especially if that 6th former you’ve been trying to interest for ages is the knight in football kit who pulls it down and you up.

5) If you could switch places with a character from one of your books, who would it be and why?
I like them all; I created them but I’d be Tony. Just imagine having a tenor on call – Il Mio Tesoro while you’re peeling potatoes etc.

6) You have a long career as a writer, any tips for any aspiring author out there?
Tips for new writers. I’d say read and sometimes read out of your comfort zone. And listen. Listen to people speak. Airports are great, every accent under the sun. And not just the accents but the phrases. Authenticity is priceless. And read your own work out loud. You’ll spot mistakes that way.

7) Finally, what are you working on now? 
Not ready to write them yet but there’s a gorgeous musician standing on a rock at the edge of a loch – poor chap’s been there for six years. Time to rescue him?

And there on a street in Glasgow is a hunk in uniform. Wow, could he be a G.I? Time will tell.

About the book:

Title: The Farm Girl's Dream
Author: Eileen Ramsay
Published: June 15th 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

Blurb: From the fields of Angus to the shores of Mexico, a family struggles to find their way home. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rita Bradshaw and Kitty Neale.

To young Victoria Cameron, Angus, Scotland is the most beautiful place on earth and she wishes nothing more than to stay on her little farm for ever. But the death of her beloved grandfather leaves her and her mother without a farm and struggling to make ends meet.

Never one to give up, Victoria soon finds work in a Dundee mill, while her mother supports them by taking in lodgers. Neither ever expected one of those lodgers would be John Cameron, the father that walked out on them so many years ago.

Victoria is torn about how to receive this stranger, and torn about the other man in her life - a young boy she thinks she could love if only he comes back from the war.

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