On October 4th, Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark will hit bookshelves across the country. Fallon’s debut novel is the first book discovered on inkpop, a writing community created by HarperCollins Publishers, to be chosen for publication. Carrier of the Mark tells the story of Megan Rosenberg, a young woman who moves to Ireland from America with her dad. She feels at home in her new school, makes new friends and is drawn to a handsome, mysterious young man named Adam DeRís. But as Megan soon discovers, her feelings for Adam are more than just attraction; they are tied to fate. Supernatural powers, Celtic legend, mystery, romance – you’ll find it all here.
We’re excited to be the first stop on the second blog tour for Leigh Fallon’s debut novel Carrier of the Mark. Each stop features a guest post from Leigh offering a special look at an important place in the book, starting with the school. So welcome, Leigh, to Love YA Lit!
- Kinsale Community School was my inspiration for the school at the center of Carrier of the Mark. It’s a modern school, a one level building surrounded by residential houses. The road leads right down to the Bandon Estuary where the Equestrian center is, and further down, the DeRises house.
It’s a mixed school, and the only secondary school in the town. Kids get bussed in from all the small surrounding country towns to attend, so you get an amazing mix of people. They all wear uniforms, just like I described in the book.
The school is surrounded by playing pitches, but not ones that most in the US would recognize. The main sports played in Ireland are Gaelic football, hurling, rugby, and soccer. Hurling is huge in the schools in West Cork. It’s played with a hurl, a club made of ash and a ball made of leather called a sliotar (pronounced shlit-er) looks a bit like a baseball. Hurling is the second fastest game in the world, ice hockey beats it by a smidge. It’s an amazing game to watch, lightning fast, and very dangerous. A lot of Kinsale school kids play it.
The inside of the school and class descriptions were inspired by my own school experiences. I went to a Convent school in Dublin called Sancta Maria College. My school had a whole historical vibe to it. It was once a TB hospital, which made it uber creepy knowing that people had died there. *shudder* It still had the look of an old hospital with high ceilings, huge windows and great big glass doors the led out onto verandas. There was an even older section of the school that was a converted stable and kitchen; it had a giant old working aga (blogger’s note: aga = a stored-heat stove and cooker) that always had this huge kettle simmering on it. We all wore wine uniforms and the school was very strict on uniform policy. Even the teachers wore those old black cloaks!
But my school did have the modern side to it too and I transferred my knowledge of my own school days into the characters in Carrier of the Mark, though I left out much of the deviance we put our long-suffering teachers through.
Schools in Ireland don’t have lunch halls serving food. Just like in Carrier of the Mark, everyone brings their own food (generally horribly soggy sandwiches) and at lunch time students disperse to their various meeting points to moan about their horrible food and gossip about what’s going on in everyone’s lives.
Oh and little interesting fact. The head mistress of the school in Carrier of the Mark is a nun called Sr. Basil. The head nun of my school, back when I attended was called Sr. Basil too. And she was exactly the same as in the book. No nonsense, no small talk, and utterly fair. She was strict, but I always liked her.
Leigh Fallon was born in South Africa, raised in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to Cork in her twenties. While living in beautiful Kinsale, her novel, Carrier of the Mark, was conceived. She promptly abandoned her “riveting” career in corporate treasury and discovered inkpop, a website for budding writers of teen fiction. Within weeks, her manuscript hit the coveted top-five spot and was reviewed by an editor at HarperCollins. A few emails and some hysterical screaming later, she signed her first deal. Leigh and her family now share their time between Ireland and the United States.
Be sure to stop by the next stop in the blog tour, Alison Can Read, on Monday, October 3, where Leigh Fallon will introduce you to another important location in Carrier of the Mark.