Sometimes when you meet an author, they’re nothing like you think they’ll be. A horror writer might be soft-spoken, a romance writer buttoned-up, an author of literary fiction might not correct your grammar with a whip. But sometimes, an author is EXACTLY how you hope they’ll be. I’m happy to say that Rainbow Rowell is that author: she’s just as funny, smart, and full of stories and insights as you’d expect. To celebrate the release of her new book, Landline, she appeared last Tuesday night at the TriBeCa Barnes & Noble, where she read briefly from Landline then spent the rest of the evening answering questions and talking expansively on books, music, writing, expectations, and…C-sections (it was fascinating). Here are just a few things a couple hundred hyped-up fans learned about Rainbow Rowell:
1. She wrote Harry/Draco slash fic to prepare herself for writing Landline‘s dual narrative. 30,000 words of it. What’s a girl got to do to get her hands on that manuscript?
2. She feels she has to apologize for how different each of her books is. “All my books are different, and it makes me nervous. People tell me they loved my last book and I immediately start saying, ‘Well, you’re not going to like the next one at all!'”
3. When writing Eleanor & Park, even she didn’t want to spend time at Eleanor’s place. “I just wanted to go to Park’s house and try on eyeliner.”
4. Her favorite book as a teen? Delightfully, it was The World According to Garp.
5. Don’t worry, we won’t be running out of Rowell books any time soon. She has 5 or 6 plotted books on deck, and is also working on two graphic novels. One of which features a magic portal
6. She does not read fanfic of her own work. But she’s aware that most of it is written about Simon and Baz. No surprises there.
7. Music is just as important to her as you think it is. Related fun facts include: 1) While writing the emotionally wrenching climactic scene of Eleanor & Park, she had to play a particular Wild Beasts song to get in the mood, 2) “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” (which won a mention in Landline) plays when her mom calls, and 3) she loves the Taxi theme song.
8. She writes from life. All those great parent characters didn’t come from thin air: her mom appears in some form in every book Rowell writes.
9. What were the three words on the postcard Eleanor wrote Park? Says Rowell: “Want me to tell you? Too bad.” (Though she did offer two suggestions: “Smell you later” and “Get a job.”)
10. She spent 7 or 8 years writing her first book. “You have to give yourself permission to write something terrible. Just finish it.” Another piece of advice for aspiring writers that we loved: “Don’t talk about writing and not write.” Listen to the women with four books on the shelves and more on the way.
Are you planning to read Landline?