Q & A with the author of FANGIRL, Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow is such a unique name! What inspired your parents?rainbow-rowell

I’m not exactly sure. It was the ‘70s, and I think my mother liked the name of a Jimi Hendrix project called Rainbow Bridge.


Did you always want to be an author?

No. I never really considered that to be a real career. It seemed almost magical. Like, I couldn’t think of a way to become an author. I wanted to be a librarian when I was a kid. I thought the job must be reading books and then suggesting good books, and taking care of the books in your charge.


It’s such an exciting time to be writing fiction for young adults! Do any other authors inspire you?

I’m inspired by great storytellers, no matter what their genre is. And I’m inspired by people – like Neil Gaiman and Holly Black – who find a way to tell so many different types of stories. Comic books, screenplays, short stories, children’s books, adult books. I like the idea of being able to try new things.


Where were you and/or what were you doing, when you came up with the idea for Fangirl?

I was probably driving; that’s when I get most of my ideas. I was reading a lot of Harry Potter fanfiction at the time, and I remember thinking about what it would have been like to have grown up with fandom. To have had access to the Internet and fandom as a teenager; I think it would have changed my life.


Has the international popularity of Fangirl surprised you? 

Yes and no. I was steeped in fandom and fanfiction when I pitched the book. So I knew it was a global phenomenon. I was reading stories and looking at art that came from all over the world. I remember an editor telling my agent that “fangirl” wasn’t a term that was used in her country. And I thought, “It IS – you just don’t know.”

The surprise and delight for me is that people are connecting with my writing and my characters – even in translation. That seems miraculous.


Are you working on another book? If yes, can you share any secrets?

I am! I can tell you that it’s about teenagers and that it’s a fantasy. And that I pushed myself to try many new things: I wrote it in first-person, present-tense, from many different points of view.


What do you find the hardest part about writing a book?

Definitely the first draft. I have a hard time with the end of the second act, when all of the plot starts coming together.


What is your favourite young adult book? Your favourite adult book?

Hmm. Probably The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. And Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.


What would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

As many books as I could carry.


Do you have any advice for your readers?

 Well, all I know about them is that they read, so my advice is, read what makes you happy, and don’t worry about what other people think.


Tell us…how do you feel about cheese?

 I’m FOR it.

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