‘Under Rose Tainted Sky’ is a refreshingly honest and beautifully compelling story of love, and bravery, against crappy odds.
So when we got the chance to chuck some questions at its author, Louise Gornall, we couldn’t wait. And here’s the outcome:
Tell us the plot of ‘Under Rose Tainted Skies’ in the length of a tweet. Norah suffers from agoraphobia. Shut in her house, she’s miserable comfortable. Then new boy Luke moves in next door & messes everything up.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Norah’s story is a reflection of my own. We both suffer from the same mental health conditions, so the whole thing was pretty traumatic to get down, but the hardest part was actually submitting it to my agent. See, before Rose, my life was a secret. My mental health was something I was ashamed of, embarrassed by, resented. I reached a level of honesty with Rose that I didn’t even know I was capable of. And that honesty wasn’t pretty, and I didn’t know how it would be perceived. I spent a long time trying to get comfortable with myself in private, and yet, there I was, flashing my flesh on paper. In the end, I still couldn’t hit send. I was too scared, so I asked my sister to submit it for me. If it weren’t for her and my best friend, Rose wouldn’t be hitting shelves in July.
Which character was your favourite to write? Norah, without a doubt. I know that sounds weird, what with me just telling you that she’s based on myself. Like, OMG I LOVE ME! But Norah helped me figure out so much stuff. Realise things. Rationalise things. Confront things. You know what… I’m just reading this out loud and thinking she kind of did help me love me. And I’m okay with that.
Could you tell us a little bit about your #InShadowSelfie campaign?The #InShadowSelfie is a mental health awareness campaign that kicked off last Autumn. I’m kind of reluctant to take credit because if it hadn’t been for some amazing friends on Twitter, it would never have happened. Basically, I was following this company called Depressed Cake Shop on Twitter…
— Depressed Cake Shop (@depressedcake) May 20, 2016
…and they have such a cool, quirky, cakey way of campaigning for mental health. You know when you get that, ‘I should be doing more’ type of feeling? Well, that. So I started looking for a fun way to spread some mental health awareness myself. I can’t bake, but I can selfie, so I asked a few folks if they’d be willing to take a picture of their shadow (the shadow being symbolic of invisible illness), and post it along with the hashtag. They didn’t hesitate. And the rest, as they say, is history. The feedback has been wonderful/heartfelt/heartbreaking. I know an in shadow selfie isn’t about to cure anybody of anything, but we built the campaign around the idea that if one person saw a selfie picture and felt less alone, then it was a success. Since our last push, I’ve lost count of how many people have reached out to share their story.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Oh my gosh. There are so many…
::ten hours later::
If we’re talking writing: Read everything you write out loud. This helps so much with pacing, dialogue, and consistency.
If we’re talking life: “Onwards…” — Anne Hoppe.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
This is a tough one. I was actually sick at fifteen with some things not mental health related. Physical stuff. I always felt left behind, so I would have to tell myself there is no rush. You have to be a grownup a lot longer than you get to be a kid.
If you don’t mind, send us a pic of your bookshelf! We’re always looking for book recs!
#shelfgoals, right? And if you want to get your copy of ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’ you can do, right here.
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