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Meet The Writer: Louise Gornall

Turtle & Gornall. Criminal Lawyers. Livin' life in the slow lane.

August's Writer of the Month is none other than Louise Gornall, an incredible author who recently had her novel Under Rose-Tainted Skies published with Chicken House. 

I got my copy in the post on Sunday and I've been glued to it ever since. It is one of the most engaging stories I've ever read, and I'm honestly not just saying that. If you're looking for accurate representation for OCD or agoraphobia, you'll find it in this touching story. Keep an eye open for my review of it next Tuesday!


To prepare you for how out-of-this-world this interview is going to be, why don't you start by introducing yourself in third person, through your best friend's eyes?
This is Louise. She's a young adult author, twin, book nerd, film fanatic, cute, kind of awkward, and always dying her hair crazy colours.

Tell me about something you're overwhelmingly passionate about. What makes your brain light up? What makes your heart skip?
Contemporary YA. I was a late bloomer when it comes to reading. At 21, I was so oblivious to the world of books, I didn't even realise different genres were a thing in literature. Then Twitter introduced me to authors such as Courtney Summers, Jandy Nelson, and Laurie Halse Anderson. I instantly fell head over heels in love with books that explored the human condition, that pushed boundaries, offered open and new perspectives on subjects that were often considered too taboo to talk about. I knew I wanted to write that. Contemporary YA gives me a thirst for writing.

I've been following you on Twitter for a while now (and in real life but let's not get distracted), and so I've been watching the success of your new book blossom! Tell me more about it.
The book is called Under Rose-Tainted Skies, and it's about this girl called Norah, who is living within the confines of her house, battling agoraphobia, OCD, anxiety and depression. She's comfortable, until this new guy moves in next door, and interrupts her routines. Suddenly Norah finds herself questioning everything she thought she was certain of. I wanted so badly to contribute to the mental health conversation with this story, and I'm overwhelmed with all the heartfelt feedback I've been getting, a lot of which is deeply personal to the reviewer/reader. It's encouraging, heartbreaking, amazing.

What is the best advice you could ever give a writer who is struggling to make it happen?
I think perseverance is key. Okay. I know that sounds cliche. But I also know that 20 rejections feel like a thousand when the truth is, 20 barely makes a scratch in the surface. It only takes one yes. Remember that. There are hundreds of agents out there, and while tastes are sometimes similar, no two are identical.  

Role play time! Answer the next question as a character from your book. Why should we forgive?
My brain is going bonkers. There are so many variables here. Who are we forgiving? What are we forgiving? A curse word is easier to forgive than if you kill someone...unless it's an accident...or you're killing someone who deserves it. Wait. I'm not sure anyone deserves to die...that's not what I meant...I'm not qualified to make that call...I'm not sure anybody is...I obviously don't want anyone to die... Can we start again? What was the question?

If you could recommend one book to everyone on Earth and you knew we were all definitely going to read it, what book would you suggest and why does the world need this story?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. The world needs this story because it is beautifully written. The characters are so well drawn. It's funny. It'll make you cry. It's romantic. It's devastating. It's perfection. 

How do you keep yourself motivated and productive when you've hit a creative block? Give me your top tips. 
Hmmm...I guess, if I'm being honest, I don't. See, I find if I try to push through creative slumps, I meet with even more resistance. The quickest way I tend to get over a block is by ignoring writing completely -- the zero pressure approach.

I saw on Twitter that you recently had a book signing. That is so cool! What's the best thing about having a book published?
The fun events are amazing, a brand new experience for me. But the best thing has been hearing from complete strangers about how they related to Norah. My favourite thing to see from readers is the realisation that they're not alone. That makes my heart so happy. Mental illness is the best at making you feel isolated, when, in truth, we're surrounded by people with the same struggles. 

I’m going to give you a little challenge: Describe "magic" without using the actual word in 100 words (wow, I said word a lot of times).
It's glitter, rainbows, sitting outside in the sunshine after a solid week of rain. It's unicorns, bright colours, mermaids, and dreams that do come true. It's warm hugs, best friends, baby animals in spring, and snow angels in the winter. It's a win without hope, a smile on Christmas morning, and falling in love at first sight. It's chocolate-topped everything, a long kiss, a near-miss, and the sound of silence after a hard day.

What is the hardest thing about being a writer? I allowed to say writing? No, but seriously. Writing is hard. A lot of people, usually those that have never done it, like to tell writers they have an easy job, that anyone can do, with little to no effort -- this is a giant pile of sull bhit. Writing is hard, and if it's something you decide to give a go, don't let anyone make you feel like it's not. 

Which fictional character would you travel with for a whole year, why them, and where would you go?
Toby from The Sky is Everywhere. I kind of want to help him sort through his thoughts, figure some stuff out, and then make him teach me how to skateboard. Toby was one of my first ever book boyfriends. If you've ever read The Sky is Everywhere, you might be wondering why not Joe...and the answer to that is, I think he's a little too pretentious. 

Name the top 5 tracks on your writing playlist.
New book. New playlist.

1. Secret Love Song by Little Mix ft. Jason Derulo.

2. Wondrous Place by Alice Gold.
3. Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth ft. Emeli Sande.
4. Hold Each Other by A Great Big World ft. Futuristic.
5. Take Me to Church by Hozier.

Would you rather be stuck in a video game like Street Fighter and forced to battle, or a television screen where you exist in whatever show is on?
A television show. I would make the worst fighter in the world. I'd be the one hiding! 

Following on my previous question, which TV show would you absolutely love to guest star or be an extra in?
I want to be a Pretty Little Liar. I mean, I know those guys have a pretty intense time, but I really want to be there to kick A's butt when the big reveal happens. But also because Ezra, Caleb, and Toby... <3

I woke up this morning and the sky was gone. The birds were laying lifeless on the ground. Kids were screaming in the distance. A clown was breakdancing on my front lawn. What happens next?
You go find chocolate ice cream from the freezer, grab your favourite book, your duvet, then you go and wait out the chaos in a cozy closet. Someone else will have to fix that mess. It's Saturday, and you just did school all week. 

Plug a shameless self promotion here!

You should all go and read Under Rose-Tainted Skies because I, Louise Gornall, am brilliant, talented, smart, funny... I took it too far, didn't I? 


Follow her on Twitter
Buy her book on Amazon

Destructo Girl OUT!