Author Spotlight: Rainbow Rowell
In a sea of cliché vampire romances, erotic adult fiction, rehashed fantasy tropes, and stereotypical YA fiction, one author managed to sail above it all, delivering novels for a wide variety of readers—Rainbow Rowell.
Before becoming a well-loved novelist, Rowell first worked as a columnist and copywriter at the Omaha World Herald. She worked at the post for 17 years and then moved to an ad agency, writing her first manuscript on the side. In 2011, Attachments was published. Attachments is the story of an IT guy who falls in love with a woman whose work e-mails he has been monitoring.
In 2012, Rowell joined National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, an online event that occurs every November). During this, she finished the draft to one of her most popular novels, Fangirl. The following year, the novel was published, along with another YA romance, Eleanor and Park.
Fangirl is the story of Cath, a twin and an online-famous fanfiction writer, who is grappling with growing apart from her twin, taking up creative writing in college, being taught by a professor who looks down on fanfiction, falling in love for the first time, and dealing with the looming end of her favorite book series. The Simon Snow novels, as well as the relationship between Simon and Baz, are references to the Harry Potter novels and the popular fanfiction pairing between Harry and Draco. The novel was named a New York Times Bestseller and was proclaimed by the same publication as one of the best young adult fiction novels of the year.
Eleanor and Park is Rowell’s first published teenage romance, about a blossoming love story between two teenagers from very different backgrounds. Eleanor is a full-figured girl with red curly hair who is constantly bullied in school for her body and who lives with his mother, siblings, and abusive stepfather. Park Sheridan, on the other hand, is a half-Korean who comes from a loving home but is insecure about his appearance and heritage. The two meet on the school bus and learn about each other’s vastly different lives. The book was also named a New York Times Bestseller and one of the best young adult fiction novels of the year.
The year 2014 saw the publication of Rowell’s second adult romance, Landline, a story about a marriage that is about to end. After a situation which brings their relationship on the brink of collapse, career-driven writer Georgie McCool discovers that she is able to talk to her husband back in 1998 through their home landline. She uses these conversations to reflect on their relationship and realizes that these may have affected many of his decisions.
Rowell’s fifth book, Carry On, breaks barriers as a fanfiction of a fictional novel within a fiction novel. Based on the central novel mentioned in Fangirl, Carry On is a fan account of the eighth and final novel of Gemma T. Leslie’s Simon Snow books, as told by Cather and Wren. In the story, Simon Snow embarks on a quest to destroy the Insidious Humdrum, the evil force destroying their world.
There are no news yet regarding any plans for the near future, but she has mentioned once that she might write the Simon Snow books.
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