Jackie Randall's Blog

June 12, 2017

Interview about EMELIN

Every book has two stories. The one between the covers and the one behind the book.

I'm honoured that The Winged Pen, an international website for writers, is hosting an interview with me about the research and writing of EMELIN.


Thank you to Laurel Decher in Germany for asking great questions.

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Published on June 12, 2017 12:25 Tags: adventure, chaucer, emelin, fiction, historical-fiction, mg, survival, thewingedpen, ya

April 13, 2017

That moment when it's real

Yesterday I saw for the first time ever a copy of my book in a real bookshop – The Children's Bookshop at Beecroft in NSW, Australia.

'Emelin' Emelin is available as an ebook and as paperback via Amazon and also via my own website (www.jackierandall.com), but seeing it on a shelf in a shop encouraged me that the five years' work I'd put into the research and writing had been validated.

Yet the bookshop was not the ultimate goal... the goal I aimed for the most was a book that was quality writing from beginning to end. I believe a good book can be read without the reader really taking much notice of the words but just getting lost in the story then being delighted with the ending.

So far the reviews have indicated that I may have gone someway to achieving this.

But the fact that a bookshop owner has put 'Emelin' on his shelves helps me grow a little more confident and a little braver with my continued writing.
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Published on April 13, 2017 03:37 Tags: chaucer, emelin, historical, kidlit, medieval, ya

March 10, 2017

Grab it while it's FREE

'Emelin' is free as an ebook for the next thirty hours.

'Emelin' is medieval fiction written for middle-grade and YA readers. http://a.co/2VvhVOO
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Published on March 10, 2017 11:21 Tags: art, chaucer, free, historical, medieval, mg, ya

March 1, 2017

Small excerpt from Chapter 5 of Emelin

My flint sparks into the tinderbox and I lift the glowing tinder and tuck it next to a stone. A few leaves and twigs catch. Then sticks. Finally a thin piece of branch. My fire has grown like a small flower blossoming. The tiny flicking flames warm my hands and my heart. Hope, too, blossoms. I eat a little spiced bun.

I gaze at the glow and begin to think again. Over the next couple of hours, a plan forms, though to call it a plan gives it more dignity than it’s owed. It’s more like a jumble of ideas.
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Published on March 01, 2017 08:03 Tags: art, chaucer, medieval

February 20, 2017

Meet the girl 'Emelin'

Emelin’s parents are gone.

She only has shadowy memories of her father, and she cannot remember what happened to him.

A single grave marks where her mother and stillborn brother rest. Emelin was only eight when her Uncle Calibor came to help bury them. He made name cards, one for his sister and one for baby John, and hung them from the one wooden cross on the mound in the graveyard.

Calibor took her that day to his home in Geldeford (now known as Guildford) in southern England. He was a gifted artist doing work on illuminating manuscripts. Emelin has the gift too, and it begins to surpass her uncle’s. Unfortunately, even with these gifts they struggle to survive. Calibor is paying off a debt to the master who trained him, which means that most of the time he and Emelin are cold and hungry.

We meet Emelin when she’s eleven. Calibor has just won a contract to illuminate The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s the contract that can turn their lives around. But something happens to Calibor and Emelin has to steal the manuscript and flee.

She’s a tough kid and a quick thinker, but she meets someone who’s even one step smarter. He’s also on the run and they are forced to trust each other at least until they can get to safety.

I loved writing Emelin because I’ve written in the first person and I’ve been able to follow this girl on her journey to safety and to see inside her head. And I’ve been able to describe her fears and joys and her delightful, and occasionally bratty, thoughts.

She’s a likeable kid for readers to get to know. You’ll never forget her.
Emelin by Jackie Randall
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Published on February 20, 2017 21:41 Tags: artist, chaucer, emelin, manuscript, medieval

February 8, 2017

Kids and eBooks

In the country town where I grew up, it was fairly safe for kids from seven or eight years old to go to the shops or the library by themselves. Our library was only five minutes walk from our house and there was a crosswalk over the only ‘busy’ road to it, which was good because I almost lived at the library.

I remember on school holidays going there when it opened, taking a book home and reading it, returning it the same day and getting another one for overnight.

What I love about eBooks now is that, whether children live on a remote cattle station or live in a cul-de-sac in a suburb, they can have a similar access to books, as eBooks, as I had as a child.

I love that I live in a time when I have been able to release my novel Emelin as an eBook. Kids and adults can purchase it from almost anywhere and carry it in their back pockets.
Emelin is a medieval adventure that already has several good reviews in the UK, US, Australia and even Germany. It’s also available in print via Amazon but, due to postage costs it’s only really affordable in the US and UK. This will change in the next couple of months when paperbacks will be available in Australia.

Many parents are looking for exciting, safe books for their kids to read on their Kindles, iPads etc., as part of, or bonus to, the technology time they’ve allocated to their kids.

The benefits are huge.

Next time you’re looking for a child’s book online, like Amazon for example, search for a good book you’ve already come across then scroll down to ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought/Looked At’. On Goodreads, you can also look at a book your child has enjoyed and see what other books the reviewers have commented on.

I read a question once that asked: What will the reader get out of your book? I wrote Emelin as a safe but exciting and different read for kids of reading age 11+. It’s fiction written in the engaging first person POV and the story is told from inside the head of a gifted but bratty girl in the very real and raw life of the fourteenth century.

I think readers will discover an unforgettable adventure and a sense of courageousness out of my book.
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Published on February 08, 2017 16:40 Tags: chaucer, ebook, emelin, ipad, kindle, libraries, library, medieval, mg, ya

January 22, 2017

Inspiration for 'Emelin'.

Six years ago, I saw a picture of a girl clutching a book and running. Around that time I wanted to write a book set in England in the fourteenth century. I began to think of why a girl in medieval England would even have a book because girls back then only usually learnt domestic skills.

Around then, I was reading Catherine Jinks’ Pagan Series. It was set in medieval times in the Middle East. The first-person voice Jinks gave to her protagonist, Pagan, captivated me. He was clever and witty, yet an outcast from society.

I began to explore how to create a story by climbing inside the head of a child and telling about what life threw at her from her point of view.

So the story of Emelin began to become real.

Emelin, an eleven-year-old girl, grew into a bratty, fiery, intelligent character. She had a gift of illuminating – the drawing and colouring of illustrations in hand-written books.

Then another character stumbled into the story – a boy named Wolf. Wolf’s sensible and calm approach levelled the craziness coming from Emelin.

I wrote Emelin over the course of five years. During that time I worked at developing the characters, researching and building an authentic world, and unfolding a tragic and beautiful story of this amazing girl. It was an exciting five years for me and I now invite you to step into Emelin’s world too.


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Published on January 22, 2017 23:42 Tags: chaucer, emelin, illuminating, medieval

January 4, 2017

My New Book

I have just released one of my books on Amazon Kindle here: http://a.co/2VvhVOO

Emelin is medieval historical fiction for kids aged 10+ and one reviewer said:

Beautifully written, this is delightful read for children and parents alike. I warmed to the lovable Emelin within a few pages, the story has pace without being rushed, the dramatic twists are compelling, and the text evokes the sights and smells of fourteenth-century England. This is a great little read.

The Blurb
Emelin Lambert is an eleven-year-old orphan in medieval England, who has an incredible gift in illuminating manuscripts. She’s also quick-witted, mouthy, and nearly always in trouble.

One terrible day, her last relative is killed and Emelin ends up being in possession of a manuscript that belongs to Geoffrey Chaucer. She cannot stay safely in her home with the manuscript so she begins a grim wintery journey to what she hopes will be safety.

Along the way Emelin meets a boy named Wolf who rescues her from a violent thief. Together, Wolf and Emelin flee to Reading Abbey.

The journey makes Wolf deathly ill and Emelin learns that she cannot always depend on others. She will have to fight alone, so she battles the adult world, and she battles fear. She puts her gift to work with the hope that her skills might help her and Wolf survive.
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Published on January 04, 2017 02:31 Tags: kidlit-chaucer-manuscript