Hi friends! I know, today is Thursday and not my usual posting day at all. I have previously hinted in my blogging goals for 2019 post that there were some projects in the works for the blog and I’m thrilled today to kick off one of these projects!
As a reader, I never thought I could have a chance to talk with my favorite authors. As a book blogger, I realized that I could tweet something and an author might like said tweet and even answer to me *insert hyperventilating, screaming, fainting and everything else*. As a 4 years-book-blogger, I realized I could maybe do more for the authors I love within my means and that I wanted to do more, too.
Therefore, today and some upcoming Thursdays in the entire year, I’m going to do more by inviting some incredible authors on my little blogging platform to talk about their books, inspirations, favorite books and so much more, too.
A million thanks to Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads for her work in trying to connect authors and book bloggers. This particular interview would not exist without her and she is overall an incredible member of the community, by the way, so follow her right here.
I really hope you’ll enjoy this new feature I titled “A Talk With” and… since this introduction was probably already way too long, let me get to today’s topic and today’s guest, the very incredible Rachel Lynn Solomon!
I discovered the author last year with her debut, You’ll Miss Me When I Am Gone and, even though I haven’t had a chance to read it just yet, it was on my radar. Her sophomore novel, Our Year of Maybe, jumped into my TBR just as well and I got lucky enough to read it and… well, I ADORED it. So without further ado, let’s talk with this wonderful author!
1. Our Year of Maybe relates the story of two best friends and the aftermath of a kidney transplant between them. Where did this idea come from? What inspired you and compelled you to write such a unique story?
Thank you for having me, Marie! The idea came to me all at once: I was walking my dog when the first scene of the book popped into my head. I pictured a girl comforting her best friend a couple days before donating a kidney to him, and I wondered what emotions they’d be experiencing. What if she’s secretly in love with him, I thought, and she hopes that after the transplant, he’ll love her back? I knew I wanted to show both POVs, since each character would have what I imagined would be a compelling arc. And while that first scene has changed a lot, the central concept and a few lines of dialogue have remained.
2. Our Year Of Maybe is your second published book…I can’t help but wonder, how many works in progress do you have in your drawers? Is there one in particular you’d like to see the light of day, someday?
I have four books that were either queried or on submission before You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone sold as my debut. I tend to have one shelved project in between each viable project, a pattern I’m trying to break. I trunked two manuscripts in between YMMWIG and OYOM revisions, and while I still like some elements, I have trouble opening up old projects! Usually, if I set something aside, it’s because I know it’s not working and don’t know how to make it work — or, probably my number one reason is that I’ve lost interest. Sometimes I can’t find that interest again, which is tough.
I’ve always been a fast drafter, but I’ve been so focused on edits that I haven’t drafted anything since early 2017, and that book is now coming out in 2020. I’m hoping to draft two new projects in 2019, though!
3. Friendship and their complications, as well as codependency, are big themes in your sophomore novel, but that didn’t prevent you from writing about family, too, with Tabby and Sophie’s relationship (which I adored!). How do you manage to tackle different themes in your books? Do you write different outlines?
I’m so thrilled to hear you enjoyed their relationship! I love sister stories and was so glad I could slip a somewhat unique one into OYOM. In this case, it’s that Sophie’s younger sister is a teen mom, and Sophie and Tabby, while not outwardly hostile to each other, have never been close. Tabby tends to act more like the older sister, which frustrates Sophie, and their arc focuses on the two of them getting to know each other for the first time in their lives. Honestly, I would have loved to write an entire book about that relationship!
While I don’t write separate outlines, I section off my outlines by plot point so I can track each thread through the story. That way I can see, for example, that Sophie doesn’t have a scene with her sister for 10 chapters and I should probably fix that. It’s also a great way to make sure each plotline has clear rising and falling actions, and that together, they form a cohesive arc for the main character(s).
4. More often than not, writers leave bits of themselves in their books: can we find bits of yourself in some of the characters in your books so far?
Oh, definitely — probably more than I’m even aware of! There are pieces of me in all my characters, though I think Sophie is probably the character most similar to who I was in high school. (Although it took me until my mid-twenties to realize some of the things she ultimately figures out in the book.) I played piano like Peter, was a type-A overachiever like Tovah in YMMWIG, and kept a lot of the Adina-esque thoughts I had a teen to myself. And then…the protagonist in my 2020 book is an aspiring romance author 🙂
1. What has been your favorite book of 2018 so far? (This is a cruel question, so you can mention two!)
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti absolutely destroyed me. And Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka was lovely and romantic and wonderful.
(I also ADORED Always Never Yours, in case you’re interested, you can read my review here!)
2. Music is a big part of both of your published works, so I have to ask: what’s your favorite song at the moment?
“Crush” by Tessa Violet, which is also kind of a perfect YA song.
3. If money, time, life, everything weren’t a problem: what’s one thing you’d dream of doing?
I would love to have so many dogs that I would need a separate house just for them, where they could each have their own room. For something non-dog-related, if I had significantly more musical talent, I’d love to play in a symphony.
4. Lastly, can you share one line of one of your books you are particularly proud of?
I really love both the first and last line of Our Year of Maybe. The first line:
“Peter and the piano belonged to each other the way I always wanted him to belong to me.“
I tend to labor over getting a first line exactly right for the tone of the book. It took me a while to land on this, but once I did, I just knew. It encompasses so much of Sophie’s longing for Peter, which at the beginning is the primary way she defines herself — so in love with him that she would do anything to make him feel the same way. (Which she gradually learns is not how healthy relationships work.)
The last line is a huge spoiler, of course, but it’s by far my favorite ending I’ve ever written 😉
Thank you so much, Rachel, for taking the time to answer my questions, chatting with you was an immense honor!
📖 More about Our Year Of Maybe
Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.
But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie, too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.
Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.
📖 More about the author
Rachel Lynn Solomon writes, tap dances, and collects red lipstick in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of two young adult novels, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone and Our Year of Maybe, both of which were named to the Kids’ Indie Next List. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. You can find her online at rachelsolomonbooks.com and on Twitter @rlynn_solomon.
Stay tuned, tomorrow my full review of Our Year Of Maybe will be online and you shouldn’t miss my gushing!
Do you want to read Our Year Of Maybe? Did you know the author? If you’re writing, do you also leave parts of yourself in your stories? Let me know in comments!
I’d also love to know if you like this feature so far, so… let me know! Thank you x!