Rainbow Rowell brings fan-fiction alive in ‘Carry On’ - Metro US

Rainbow Rowell brings fan-fiction alive in ‘Carry On’

Rainbow Rowell

Readers of all ages have devoured Rainbow Rowell’s past books, including “Eleanor & Park,” but instead of sticking to what works, Rowell tested herself by experimenting with a whole new genre: fantasy. Her latest book, “Carry On” is about a teen named Simon (a character from her book “Fangirl”) who has been chosen to fight a battle he seems ill-prepared to fight. And this comes with all the other usual teen stuff, like breakups. Rowell gives us more scoop here:

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What sparked the idea to give Simon Snow from “Fangirl” his own book?
When I started writing “Fangirl,” writing the Simon Snow bit was a huge experiment for me since it was science-fiction or fan-fiction, but I enjoyed writing it. I thought it would be fun to actually write these characters and not just through the lens of other characters. At first, I thought it was going to be a short story, but when I started writing, I realized it was more than just a romance. I really wanted to create this whole world Simon lived in.
What goes into creating a successful fantasy world?
To me, what makes it successful is the consistency. That said, if the characters are strong enough and the story is compelling enough, you can take the readers anywhere. When you think really hard about “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” there are things that don’t make sense, but since the characters are strong [fans] go with it.
Many people who read your books have created fan-fiction based on it. Did fan-fiction change the way you wrote at all?
I don’t look at any fan-fiction at all for that reason. If I’m still working on something, I don’t want someone to get in my head. But I do think it’s pretty cool and flattering that people are writing fan-fiction based on my books.
Why do you think YA is popular with adults as well as teens?
The teen years are an incredibly popular time in our lives and is a vital part of shaping our personalities. It’s when you make big decisions about your friendships and relationships with your parents. But it also goes by really quickly and everything is changing so fast that you don’t have time to process it. So it seems natural to me that when you’re 25, 35 or 45 to want to go back and think about it.
Is there anything in “Carry On” that you hope helps readers learn something new about themselves?
When I was writing it, I started thinking about how we sort of assign the next generation [a list] of things they need to do. And when you do that, you’re telling them how they have to fit into the world and they’re being raised to fight someone else’s wars. Simon didn’t have a choice in [his] battle. He didn’t have a choice in his enemies.
“Eleanor & Park” is getting turned into a movie. How far along is the process?
It’s still very early, but I did finish two drafts of the screenplay. But the movie isn’t really my baby, the book is. So I will be there if they’ll have me, but my hope is thatthe studio finds a director who loves it, has a great vision and just runs with it.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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