Our Writer Of The Week is debut author Ella Walsworth-Bell. Ella’s story, “The Magic Touch”, appears in Special 204, on sale February 10.
Where did you get the idea for the story, and do you find sourcing story ideas easy or difficult?
I’m a speech therapist working with children, and I’m sure that many parents would love me to have a magic wand. Trouble is, the children would want me to use it to conjure up fun, rather than to make their speech better!
I’m full of ideas, but finding the time to put them on paper is more of a challenge. There’s a notepad on my bedside table crammed with scribbled sentences and half-finished stories.
In your story, the enchantment and speech therapy work well together. Was it important for you to find the right balance?
In fact, I find it hard to keep the magic out. I’ll start off writing about my daily life, and then the characters come alive and it turns out they’ve got special powers or are battling their own demons. My stories never fail to surprise me and I like the reader to have the same sense of discovery.
What type of stories do you read in your spare time?
I love myth and magic, and I’ve followed my own children’s reading adventures along with them. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series about Greek gods was a real hit for my son, and Holly Black made us all believe in fairies.
For myself, I live in Cornwall and was brought up in a small village, so any fiction based in the landscape of my childhood draws me right in.
How natural is it for you to draw from your imagination when writing characters and scenes?
I’ve got a lively imagination and, funnily enough, being involved with my children’s home learning has led to a flurry of new ideas for stories. Recently, I was intrigued by my son’s history lesson about soldiers in World War One. If there was a secret passage between then and now, would I risk seeing the trenches for myself? Or would those young men jump at the chance of an escape route to the 21st century?
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
That’s a great question for me because I write anywhere and on anything. When inspiration hits, I might only have the back of a supermarket receipt, or an envelope to scrawl on with a biro. Poetry goes into an app on my phone. When I’m home again, I write it all up on my PC.
P.S., What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?
Let your story run free. Write it, make it as good as it can be, then be brave and trust a friend to read it through. Have a cup of tea together and let them tell you what works, and what doesn’t. They’re the reader, and it’s vital to shelve your pride, and listen to their thoughts and ideas.
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