Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.
For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths…
An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.
Interview with Louise Gornall
Why did you want to write Under Rose-Tainted Skies?
I didn’t really. I mean, it wasn’t a conscious decision, you know? My usual process doesn’t involve much planning. I’m not good with that, but I still like to build a story in my head, think about plot points, at least name some of my characters. Rose didn’t happen like that. At all. It was only after it had some serious substance that the want to turn it into a novel kicked in. I think at that point I was writing it to remind myself, to remind anyone who suffers with agoraphobia, and to inform those who don’t believe agoraphobia is debilitating, that not all hard work is labour intensive.
And what do you hope readers take away from Norah’s story?
I’ve had a dozen messages from people telling me how they go through some of the exact same things Norah goes through, and a consistent comment in reviews seems to be how people relate to the thoughts and feelings Norah has, so if there is one thing that I hope readers can take away, it is that they’re never alone. They never have to face their mental health battles on their own. On the worst days, on the ugliest days, on the most isolated days, there are people out there who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s amazing how much strength you can syphon from just knowing that.
How did you celebrate your book deal?
I’m so lame. I put on some fluffy pyjamas (it was winter), grabbed a cup of tea, climbed into bed, and then slept for about a billion years.
5 books recommendations that you feel deal well with mental health issues:
- Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.
- All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
- It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
- The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
I’d like to talk about the lack of chocolate fountains in public spaces. It’s a travesty.
(I was going to go with something important here, but as I write this, the world is grief stricken. So many words have already been said, what the world really needs now is action.)
What do you think are the differences between UK and US YA?
They don’t say jumper in the US, which really upsets me 😉 No, for reals, beside idiom, I’m not sure there are any huge differences (at least, not that I’ve noticed). I guess choice is different, as in, the US have more than we do. Their market is much bigger. And I think their market has a tendency to reflect more current events/social climate than ours does.
Can you tell us a little bit more about In Shadow Selfie?
In Shadow Selfie is something that began last autumn. It’s a campaign to raise mental health awareness. I made friends with a fantastic company called Depressed Cake Shop (@depressedcake), and their unique way of campaigning had me itching to do something to add to the mental health conversation. Alas, I can’t bake *sad face*, but I can selfie, and, like the idea of a quirky cupcakes, I wanted to do something artsy, that teens especially, could embrace. So I made a hashtag and asked some of my besties to start using it with pictures of their shadows to help me spread some awareness. The shadow is symbolic, something you can’t always see but is always there, like mental health/invisible illness.
Best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
The writing. The writing 😉
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know:
When I was younger, I had a piece of my brain removed because it was too big to fit inside my skull.
What happens next?
More books. And in this next one I’m thinking of explaining that “piece of my brain removed” thing!!!!
Tea or coffee?
When noone is watching do you dance?
Always, even when they’re watching.
If you could have one magic power, what would you like?
I would be the Scarlet Witch.
Which shade of pink for the UK publication of Under Rose-Tainted Skies is the best?
Ahhhh!! I don’t know. All of them!!!
Do you ever re-arrange bookshop displays?
No. I’m scared of getting shouted at.
What has been your favourite hair colour so far?
I’m sort of loving the current pink/lilac/silver combo.
Perfect cure to a bad day?
A lengthy, warm shower and some sweet tea.
What word describes you best?
And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
I wish Orlando Bloom would ask me to marry him… he counts as people, right? 😉
Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, and she is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing.
A YA aficionado, film nerd, identical twin, and junk food enthusiast, she’s also an avid collector of book boyfriends.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies is out July 7th 2016
published by Chicken House