Interview: Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and new novel Landline

Interview: Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and new novel Landline

'I tend to write about my anxieties – it's what I'm afraid will happen. And I write a story working it out'

Thanks to hit novels Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Nebraska-based Rainbow Rowell (her real name) is currently one of the best-loved authors in young adult literature. But, while she certainly knows how to capture the acute agony and ecstasy of teenage life, Rowell also writes with heartbreaking realism about adults. Like her debut, Attachments, her new book Landline is as smart and complicated as it is romantic.

'I can't seem to help writing love stories,' Rowell laughs. 'I definitely crave romance. When I was young, I craved romance in books but I didn't want to read just romance – love plays such a big part in our lives it shouldn't be cut out and restricted to its own fiction.'

Landline is certainly much more than ‘just romance’: it's about missed opportunities, families, and – sort-of – time travel. Georgie McCool (also her real name) is a successful TV writer in LA who's always putting her work first. So when her husband Neal leaves her for Christmas with their two young children in tow, she's afraid he won't come back – until she finds a yellow landline telephone in her childhood bedroom that seems to be a portal to the past.

It isn't quite sci-fi – rather, in the tradition of Big and 13 Going on 30, it's a nod to fantasy, with shades of Back to the Future, Quantum Leap and even It's a Wonderful Life.

But, magic phone aside, there's a very real root to Landline's story. 'I think Georgie's most like me of all the characters that I've written,' Rowell admits. 'She's married to a stay-at-home dad, my husband's a stay-at-home dad. She has two children, I have two children. I tend to write about my anxieties – it's what I'm afraid will happen. And I write a story working it out.'

Landline is released on Thu 3 Jul; Rainbow Rowell talk and book signing at Waterstones, Glasgow, on Thu 10 Jul.

An Evening with Rainbow Rowell

The American young adult novelist talks about and signs copies of her latest novel, Landline, as well as previous fave Fangirl.

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