Author Rainbow Rowell is having a great year. Her critically acclaimed 2013 young adult novel, “Eleanor & Park” was rereleased in 2015 with a limited-edition hardcover and topped The New York Times Bestseller list. Dreamworks has also optioned the book for a movie, for which Rowell is writing the script.
This month, Rowell revisits characters she originally created in her 2013 novel “Fangirl” for her newest release, “Carry On.” Like most of her five novels — from 2014’s “Landline” about a magical phone that helps patch up a rocky marriage to her 2011 debut “Attachments” — Rowell says her new effort is, at its heart, a story about love and the challenges of being good in the face of life’s challenges.
Deseret News: Relationships are such a huge part of all of your books. Why do you focus so much on relationships in your writing?
Rainbow Rowell: I think it’s a central thing for human beings. If you think about the men and women in your life, so much of our energy goes into finding someone to share our lives with and then maintaining that relationship.
So, for me, a book that has no romance or no love story in it is very unrealistic. If I’m reading any book and there’s no romantic anything in there, I always feel like, ‘This is so unrealistic.’ It’s just very unusual to meet anyone for whom that isn’t a big deal. I know that not everyone wants to share their life with a partner, but most of us do, and it’s a core thing in our lives.
DN: You’ve said you wanted to write “Carry On” because you’ve always wanted to try fantasy. You’re also a huge Harry Potter fan — was “Carry On” inspired by Harry Potter in any way, and how did you work to make it different?
RR: It was inspired by Harry Potter. It was kind of inspired by all the Chosen One stories that I’ve loved since I was a kid, really. So I had this real appetite for that kind of story.
I have an editor who said it’s a Chosen One story about other Chosen One stories. So (“Carry On”) is its own Chosen One story that’s commenting about the way we talk about and tell Chosen One stories. So if you read it, you’ll see references to Harry Potter and “Star Wars” and references to the Bible.
The Bible is the ultimate Chosen One story. I grew up really Christian. The narrative of, “Only you can save the world and have the power and you have to make the sacrifice” — that’s the like the central narrative for us.
DN: If there were one thing you hope readers take away or gain from your work what would it be?
RR: I really just want people to like the story and feel like they were caught up in it. I mostly want people to feel like, “Oh, I wish that book didn’t end.”
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