Author Carmel Harrington launches third book 'Every Time A Bell Rings'
It's the stuff of fairy tales.
Girl writes book, publishers love book, readers love book and the book becomes a best seller leading to a multi book deal with publishers. But that's just what happened to Wexford writer Carmel Harrington.
Originally from the Ballagh Carmel's first book Beyond Grace's Rainbow led to an initial three book deal with Harper Collins with the third book Every Time A Bell Rings published last week with the launch taking place in the Riverside Park Hotel last Saturday.
Every Time a Bell Rings is loosely inspired by the classic Christmas feel good film, 'It's a Wonderful Life'. But Carmel said it is not a rewrite of the film. 'There is a completely new set of characters. It's set in Dublin and not in the States but it shows how every life has a value and how every life is worthwhile. It has the same vibe of family values and community and shows the ripple effect that people's decisions can have.'
The central character is Belle Bailey who through the course of the book gets to see what value her life. Carmel said: 'Belle and her husband Jim are foster parents giving many children the chance of a happier start in life. They've loved them as if they were their own. They shouldn't have favourites but little Lauren has touched their hearts but now her mother is well enough to take her back and Belle can't bear the loss. Hence Christmas is cancelled in the Bailey household.
'When Jim crashes his car after an argument about Lauren, Belle blames herself and she finds herself wishing she had never been born.'
Carmel who lives in Screen with husband Roger and their two children, Amelia who turns six in February and four year old Nate, said while there are sad moments the book in its entirety is 'quite uplifting'.
Carmel who has recently signed a further two book deal with the main commercial arm of Harper Collins has already written her fourth book which is due for release in June 2016 while the fifth book is due in 2017.
The fourth book is still untitled but Carmel said that will be finalised in the New Year with the final edits of the book.
With Christmas almost upon us Every Time the Bell Rings couldn't be more timely and Carmel said she had always been asked to do a Christmas book so this was the ideal opportunity. The title itself is based on a line spoken by George Bailey in It's a Wonderlife Life.
With the release of Every Time a Bell Rings along with writing her fourth book Carmel said the last few months have been particularly hectic. 'I've been going non stop but it's been worth it. I'm really excited about the book and the reviews so far have been really positive which is great.'
This time the launch will be extra special as Carmel's children will be attending. 'It's the first time I've brought them to a launch. They were begging me to come so I relented. We've been practicing for the last few weeks', she laughed.
Carmel said her husband Roger is very proud of her achievements. 'He knows how hard I work at a book when I'm in the throes of it. I'm often writing until 2 or 3 in the morning and he can see that so when a book is published he gets why it is such a big deal. It's very humbling to see the accumulation of all the hard work and effort come together in a book that people like and love to read. At last week's book launch New York Times best selling author Hazel Gaynor interviewed Carmel on stage about the book while there was also performances from the Junkyard Georgies who sang I'll be Home for Christmas; Sheryl O'Grady, Carmel's niece, sang Oh Holy Night while Enniscorthy busker Alannah Simmonson sang a song she penned herself.
Tony Purdue of Harper Collins also spoke on the night. Carmel said she wanted the night to have a real Christmas vibe to it and with this in mind she set up a table at the launch to give children the chance to make their own Christmas decorations while there was a mulled wine reception for the adults.
Carmel's parent's Mick and Tina along with Carmel's siblings, family and friends were also on hand to support the award winning author.