Seven Stories is a Roaring Reads feature in which a Scottish children’s author shares some stories about their own life.
This month we’ve been chatting to Caroline Logan, whose debut fantasy, The Stone of Destiny, had us gripped from start to finish. Her reality has been pretty exciting too!
1) NEWS STORY (What’s the story with your new book?)
The Stone of Destiny is a young adult fantasy story. Eilanmor is heavily based on Scotland – so it’s full of Scottish myths and legends.
The book follows Ailsa, a young woman who has been shunned from society because of the birth mark on her face. Many superstitious Eilanmorians believe this makes her a Changeling – an evil faerie child. Her solitude is interrupted by a pair of selkies who are on a mission to retrieve The Stone of Destiny. But something has been stalking Ailsa through the woods most of her life. She must finally face her fears if she is going to find the Stone and save the kingdom.
2) SHORT STORY (Sum up your book in five words)
” Unlikely trio go adventuring.” or “Selkies are always causing trouble.”
3) LIFE STORY (How did you get where you are now?)
I was actually rubbish at English in school – but I loved biology, geography and art (the latter two were very useful in drawing the map at the front of the book!)
I went to the University of Glasgow to study Marine Biology. Towards the end of those years, I worked as an expedition coordinator for a whale charity. It was pretty basic – we got paid in food and accommodation – but I got to work in Tenerife and Sri Lanka for a few months. Marine Biology obviously wasn’t a sustainable career, so afterwards I went to Strathclyde University to get my PGDE in biology teaching.
I’ve been a teacher for almost seven years now and, though it can be very stressful, I love it. I’ve lived in some beautiful places – including Spain – but I think I prefer Scotland.
Over the years I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety, so I started looking for a hobby to distract me.
I set myself a challenge in 2015 to read a book a week, since I’d always enjoyed reading when I was younger but never made time for it any more. I managed to get to 48 books, which isn’t too bad considering I was still teaching. During that time I was inspired to write something of my own, so in January 2016 I started brainstorming. My partner, Vince, helped by spending many hours reading and discussing all of my ideas.
The Stone of Destiny was the first text I’d written since high school, so I never thought anyone would like it. I enjoyed the plotting and world development so I just kept plugging away at it, thinking that no one would read it but those close to me.
I finished the book a year and a half later and started editing. By this point I thought I might as well see if anyone liked it so I began to query agents. It wasn’t until I moved to The Cairngorms that I got the big opportunity I had been waiting for.
My new school had librarians, so I went to meet them at first opportunity. One of them, Merryn Glover, had published her own book. She was very supportive and set me up with an S1 book group. One of those pupils’ mums ran her own group, so when I was in Waterstones Aviemore I decided to say hello. Her name was Kelly Macdonald and she was working for Cranachan Publishing. She asked to see the first chapter, and then the manuscript, and before I knew it I was in a meeting with her and Anne Glennie discussing the publication of the book. The rest, as they say, is history!
4) LOVE STORY (What do you really care about?)
My fiance, Vince. We met at university and we’ve been together now for almost seven years. We’ve been through the wringer in that time, but that’s just made our relationship stronger. He’s the most important person in the world to me. We’re getting married in April 2020 and he’ll officially be stuck with me!
Second would be our dog, Ranger. He’s a labrador, collie cross and a complete rascal. In July he was hit by a car and had to have a leg amputated, which he’s still healing from. The surgery and treatment cost us all our savings, but it was totally worth it. Everyone always says how sweet he is (even if he’s going through his teenage phase at the moment).
5) ADVENTURE STORY (What was your biggest one?)
I guess I’ve got a few to choose from: film making in Sri Lanka, moving to Spain, climbing volcanoes for charity… But I actually think I’m in the middle of my most exciting adventure: book publishing! Not many people get to do that and I feel like it’s something totally for me. I’m enjoying meeting book people and getting to talk about what I love.
6) OLD STORY (What were your favourite books when you were a child?)
I loved Jacqueline Wilson’s books – Double Act was the first book I ever desperately wanted in the book shop. Her stories had diverse characters and I was always so worried when they got into trouble.
I got into Harry Potter when I was eleven, which was really nice as I kind of grew up with the characters. I found a lot of comfort in Hermione’s and Luna’s characters, as a nerdy, weird teenager. I still love Harry Potter and can often be found wearing my Hufflepuff jumper.
7) BEDTIME STORY (What’s your bedtime reading at the moment – what’s next?)
I’m reading Ferryman by Claire McFall, which I’m loving.
On my “To Be Read” list are Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson and my friend Cara Donald’s manuscript which is a YA fantasy about the magic of the natural world.
No doubt I’ll be reading The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black again before the last book, The Queen of Nothing, comes out in November.
The Stone of Destiny, by Caroline Logan, is published by Cranachan. Click here to read our review.