Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rainbow Rowell Interview of General Awesomeness

So, you guys remember when I dorked out over Attachments, right? Yeah. So the author, Rainbow Rowell, is stunningly nice to her readers and allows them to ask her questions via email or twitter that are, at best, distantly related to her books (have we discussed fanfic? yes, we have). This is especially exciting if most of the authors you read have been dead for some time (I would totally ask George Eliot about fanfic, because SHE WOULD READ IT DO NOT EVEN ARGUE).

Attachments, book of amazingness and fluff and hilarity, came out in paperback this past Tuesday (at a store near you!) and I was kindly allowed to do an interview. Now HOLD ON WAIT A SECOND. Because I tend to skip author interview blog posts. But trust that this is not sucky and you should read it and then love Rainbow's book more and then buy it in paperback. Mmm paperback. It fits so nicely into purses.


You live in Nebraska. What is particularly appealing to you about this state? As I’m sure you’re aware, it doesn’t have a reputation for thrilling escapades or shenanigans.

What is particularly appealing about Nebraska is that my entire codependent family lives here. I was born here, and my husband was born here, and we both went to school here, and then we had children -- so, yeah, we're never leaving.

But what Nebraska lacks in thrills, it makes up for in ... my whole family living here.

(It's a perfectly good place. Omaha is a lovely, friendly city. The food is excellent. The scenery is not distracting.)

How much does your state love Willa Cather?

Ha! One things about being from Nebraska is that you don't take anyone else from Nebraska very seriously. You hear, "Nebraska's greatest author," and think, "Pfft. Tough competition." So I've never read Willa Cather (or listened to Bright Eyes!) -- but I have friends from other places who are obsessed with her. I must feel bad about this because the main character of my third book (the book I'm writing right now) is named Cather.

Continuing with the Nebraska theme, I got a distinct impression in Attachments that there was something uniquely “Nebraskanian” (if you will) about it. How did you create this?

Really? Tell me more about this. What gave you that impression?

I didn't do it intentionally -- but I have heard from other readers that the characters "sound Nebraskan." There's a specific way of starting a conversation here; you start really general -- talk about food, family, the weather -- then eventually get to your point. The conversations in Attachments take up a lot of space. The characters don't rush each other. They avoid confrontation. Lincoln's whole "let's just wait this intolerable situation out" attitude is VERY Nebraskan.

For me, it was more a spatial thing than about dialogue (possibly because we speak the same way in Illinois? I don't know). The distances between things and the way you described the apartments and streets and the movie theater made it feel like Nebraska to me, despite never having been there.

Ahhhh ... That makes sense to me. 

Yeah, it's a very sprawled out city. Everything has plenty of personal space.

Other Omaha things that ended up in the book: all the food and sharing of food, we're very potlucky; all the driving; the politeness and helpfulness, Lincoln's cross-generational friendship with Doris ...

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For those of you for whom this is too much text, HERE'S A BABY IN A BEE COSTUME:


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Please inform me and my Blog People (as they obviously like to be called) where you got your stellar sense of humor.

When I started Attachments, I was going through this thing at work (I'm a newspaper columnist) where my editors didn't think my jokes were funny. Or maybe it was more that they didn't think our readers would think my jokes were funny. Anyway, it was really soul-shrinking.

So I started writing the book initially to give myself a place where I could say whatever I wanted. Make any joke I wanted. It didn't matter if anyone else got it or even if it made sense -- as long as it cracked me up. And then my sister started reading my manuscript, and my goal became to crack her up.

This was a HUGE LIFE LESSON for me. I deliberately shut off all my internal "you suck and no one thinks you're funny" voices -- and the result was people saying, "This is the funniest thing you've ever written."

Do you have a favorite line in Attachments?

My favorite lines? I don't think I'm good at writing lines. I think I'm good at writing exchanges. (Which is probably why I wrote a book that's half email.)

I like the line about Lincoln "crying into the sleeves of his plaid flannel shirt like the world's saddest lumberjack."

Is there a particular online location where you would prefer readers to buy Attachments, the Generally Fantastic Book?
There is not. I always encourage people to buy local if they can -- and you can do that online at indiebound.org.

Would you care to explain why Eleanor & Park, your next novel, is going to be kickass?

Well, there's a lot of taekwando in it. (Not kidding! There is a scene where someone gets his ass fantastically kicked!)

Other reasons:

1. It takes place in 1986. So it's a period piece.

2. There is 3,000 percent more kissing than in Attachments.

3. Eleanor is cynical and mouthy, and Park just wants to wear eyeliner to school without getting beaten up; and when they fall in love, I want it to make your stomach hurt. (You, the reader.) I wanted to write a book that felt like falling in love for the first time. That miserable. And that transcendent. I'm sure I didn't completely succeed -- but that's what I was shooting for. 

And lastly, a topic of extreme importance to my readers, do you have a favorite gif or LOLcat?



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So there you have it. She is fantastic and hilarious. Read her book.