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Author Interview with Emily Charlotte Ould

Join our author Emily Charlotte Ould, as she gives a little insight into her writing habits, where her ideas come from and how Cornwall inspires her work.

Tell us a little about yourself

Emily is a freelance writer, editor and marketer based in Cornwall. She is also a happy co-founder of PaperBound Magazine, an online publication dedicated to showcasing creative talent from writers and illustrators, specialising in children’s and young adult fiction.

  • I tend to love the books either nobody has heard of, or all the classics that are fairly old and weathered. But a few of my favourites include Wuthering Heights, Gone With The Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird and Roses by Leila Meacham. I have a love for the southern gothic and romances that are vividly heartbreaking.

  • I try to be healthy and have smoothies filled with lettuce, apples, lemon and celery, but on the odd naughty day I might sway to the dark side and have a bag of crisps or skip breakfast altogether. But a hot cup of tea is always a must!

  • My favourite genre to read will always be romance - there can never be enough love stories in the world. Whether it's gothic, historical or Young Adult, my heart will always lean towards love stories - and they don't always necessarily have to end happily either. My favourite genre to write is coincidentally Young Adult romance too - there's just something about being on the cusp of adulthood and falling in love for the first time mixed in with a heady amount of emotions and complications that I just can't resist.

  • I'm technically a 2! But I can often get away with a 3, or maybe even a 4 depending on how thick the socks are that I slip on underneath a pair of cowboy boots.

  • I write because, if I don't, I get really down. Often if I'm in a slump and haven't written for days, my partner will tell me to go away and write for a while. Reconnect with words and sentences and a blank page. I feel happiest when I write and I've always wanted to share my stories with the world so that, maybe, somebody else can feel the way I feel when I read a story I absolutely love. It can take a long time to finish a story or piece of work I'm happy with but it's that sticky in between phase where the writing is flowing and you can see the narrative and the characters unfolding in your head, where everything feels like magic that's the best and makes it all worth it.

  • I loved English in school. I never wanted it to end. When I was in primary school, I was really proud of a description I wrote about rockpools for a nature writing task, only to be upset when my teacher sat everybody down, read out my work, and declared it was obviously copied from a book. I was such a shy child, I never challenged them on it and I felt so embarrassed. But in hindsight it was a sign that maybe I could be a writer one day and that was enough for me to keep going. English lessons were like a dreamy space for me. I loved everything about it, from analysing grammar to writing essays!

  • My story 'Wade Beneath the Waves' is about a little boy who goes to the beach one day with his grandparents, only to make friends with a surfer who he adamantly believes is a merman. It all came about when I sat on Whipsiderry beach one afternoon with a notepad and pen, taking in everything surrounding me and jotting it down on paper. In front of me was this massive rockpool that looked like a miniature lagoon - the water was so clear - and it was so deep I could imagine myself falling in. There were surfers dotted all along the waves far out to sea and eventually the story was written just from that. Surfers, a little boy, and a giant lagoon rockpool. What would happen if he fell in?

  • It sounds so vain, but I would definitely be the hero! I get upset when people aren't nice and wish the world could be kinder - so yes, the hero please!

  • I have written in all sorts of places - at the beach, beside the sea, at an abandoned airfield, even at an army base once! But my favourite place to write is beside nature. When I sit down to write at my desk, I feel like I'm missing out on being outside. I will often travel somewhere beautiful to write and look out across the sea, or a field, or over a cliff face.

  • Nature definitely inspires me a lot when it comes to Cornwall. The landscape, too, is an important part of everything I love about it. It can be so vast and changeable, awe-striking and breath taking. The harbours and the sealife that bobs beneath the current, the communities and the people here, and the rugged coastline or sprawling moors - and the animals too! I love it here - and will forever be grateful that I get to live in this beautiful place.

  • I love that writing gives me a sense of balance. It gives me purpose and happiness. When I'm not working towards a goal or a project, I feel utterly lost.

  • I've grown up in Cornwall. It has shaped me immensely. Without it, I would be a different person entirely. I find it inspiring everyday and I'm not sure I could ever live without it.

  • The beach and the Cornish landscape definitely inspired 'Wade Beneath the Waves' but my course in Writing for Young People which I studied at Bath Spa University had a strong influence too. Before I started this course, I had never tried writing for children, or through a child's viewpoint. I found it difficult. This course helped me overcome that - yet I will always feel most confident and comfortable writing for young adults.

  • When I was younger, I always wanted to be Mulan. I would love to be her - so I might be a little braver in real life.

  • When I was a student, I could never afford proper meals. I refused to buy meat because it was much more expensive. So my signature dish was boiled rice with crispy red onions. It sounds simple and boring and laughable, but I still maintain to this day that it was really tasty!

  • My love of writing started when I was in primary school. I loved it, but I didn't necessarily want to become a writer until I was about 12 years old. I began writing properly when I started writing fan fiction about McFly - who I still adore now but luckily don't write fan fiction about anymore. I was so proud of it and still have all my old notebooks but they are definitely not publishable!

  • Write more. Write down anything you can. Take a notepad with you everywhere and jot down any little snippets you think about. Just keep writing. No amount of writing is wasted because it will help you improve, no matter how silly you might think it is in the long run. And another thing? Never give up. Never, ever give up.

  • I have two dogs and two cats. One cat lives with my grandparents as she isn't keen on dogs but she absolutely rules their house like a queen - and I love walking my dogs in the woods, at the beach, or around our home.

  • I would be a cat. They sleep all day and get food given to them whenever they want - and I'm pretty sure most owners would do anything for their feline friends. So, yes, a cat please.

  • I used to listen to music all the time while I wrote. But eventually I realised that it slowed my writing down and was too big a distraction for it to be a good idea. I might occasionally listen to music when I write these days but only because a certain song is burning in my head and won't get out. The last time that happened, I had to stick on 'All er Nothin'' from Oklahoma which is one of my favourite songs.

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