Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post - Rainbow Rowell, Author of "Attachments"

Please join me today in welcoming to Lit and Life Rainbow Rowell, author of Attachments, which comes out in paperback this today. My review of Attachments can be found here; I found it to be a lot of fun with unexpected depth. Penguin Group has kindly offered a copy of the book to one lucky winner. Please leave a comment telling me about something funny that's happened to you at work, by Sunday, April 1 (U.S. residents only). It's not a surprise that the book is fun - Rainbow is a lot of fun! Here's what she has to say about developing her characters for this book:

"When I started writing Attachments, I felt it was a story about friendship. Specifically the way email has changed women’s friendships.

When I was a kid, my mom would have marathon phone calls with her best friends. It’s how they stayed caught up with each other’s lives.

But email changed that, especially for women who work outside the home. When I need to update my friends on my life, I turn to my keyboard.

So I imagined writing this book that captured a digital friendship. Beth and Jennifer’s relationship really lives in their inboxes. Most of their joking, hanging out – even comforting each other – happens screen to screen.

I wrote all of their email conversations first, always knowing that there would be a third character in their story – Lincoln, the IT guy whose job it is to monitor their company’s email.

But I didn’t give him much thought. He was just “the guy who’s going to fall in love with Beth.” Once I’d written the Beth/Jennifer parts, I went back to the beginning of the book to write Lincoln . . .

That’s when I realized that I was writing a book about a guy.

Though Beth and Jennifer are important, Lincoln is the main character of Attachments. Everything happens from his point of view. I wrote Beth and Jennifer through their fingertips, but I had to write Lincoln from inside his head.

Which was really scary.

I don’t know what it’s like inside of a 28-year-old guy’s head. Just thinking about it made me set my manuscript aside for a few months. I thought that my narration would sound like a woman who was trying to sound like a man. Like writing in drag.

I did get over that eventually. I just thought of all the male authors I knew who wrote great women characters. “Lincoln is a man,” I told myself. “Not a unicorn. You can do this.”

Once I started writing Lincoln, his point of view felt completely natural to me. I felt so comfortable in his head that the entire story shifted around him – it became his book…his story.

Though Attachments is still a book about friendship – it’s more about purpose.

All three of the characters, but especially Lincoln, has reached that point in their late 20s where they realize that they can’t just wait for life to deliver the things that they want: Love. A family. Fulfilling work. Lincoln has been waiting for these things to fall on his head, but he’s never put himself out there far enough to get hit.

Attachments, through Lincoln’s eyes, became a book about vulnerability – about getting in life’s way to make sure that it doesn’t pass you by."

Thanks, Rainbow! I can't wait to get my hands on the next book, Eleanor and Park!

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