A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

How I Found my Genre by Emma Carroll

If there was a genre for my earliest stories , it would be ‘predictable’ or ‘wish fulfillment’ : ‘girl gets pony’ or ‘girl gets to meet Duran Duran’ being the favourites.


When in recent years I started writing again, there was no Great Plan to write for children. All my reading- and I am a massive reader- was of the adult literary fiction variety. Yet the minute I got typing, the voice that came out belonged to a teenage girl.


In some ways this was no big shock. I’m a secondary school teacher so am surrounded by teenagers on a regular basis. Also, I’m not exactly a very grown-up grown up. My child-self is never very far away.


The first start-to finish- novel I wrote was about a girl called Bess whose mother had breast cancer. Having just finished cancer treatment myself, the story was cathartic to write, at a time when I was struggling to come to terms with what had happened to me.


This, I decided, was MY BOOK.


Over the next few months, I enrolled on the MA Writing For Young People course at Bath Spa, read as much YA fiction as I could possibly cram into my tiny brain, and prayed someone would like my story.


They didn’t, much.


So I put it deep inside a drawer and started something else. It was just a scene. A girl skating on a frozen lake falls through the ice and sees a ghost. When I shared that scene it got a whole different reaction: Frost Hollow Hall was born.


And that’s when I knew I’d found my genre.



When she isn’t writing, Emma Carroll teaches English part-time at a secondary school in Devon. She has also worked as a news reporter, an avocado picker and the person who punches holes into filofax paper. She recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is Emma’s debut novel for Faber. Told in the distinctive voice of Tilly Higgins, it was inspired by a winter’s day from Emma’s childhood

2 comments on “How I Found my Genre by Emma Carroll

  1. bridgeanneartandwriting
    July 18, 2014

    That’s so interesting.

  2. barbarahenderson
    July 18, 2014

    Really interesting, Emma! I think I still put a teeny bit of wish fulfilment in my books even now! Bea

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2014 by .

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