Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!
This Saturday Night we welcome Rachel Lynn Solomon. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.
Rachel, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?
My debut novel, YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE, will be out next year from Simon Pulse! It’s a dual POV YA contemporary about twin sisters who receive opposite results from a genetic test for Huntington’s disease. It contains protagonists who are practicing Jews, a complex sister relationship, all-consuming first love, and a lot (I think!) of moral gray areas.
I love 70s music! My mom is a huge disco fan, so I grew up around that, but as a teen, I started getting into new wave. There’s something so exciting as a teen about discovering music for yourself, digging back through the decades to find what moves you. The Cure is my favorite band, I imagine because my angsty teenage heart related to their gloomy, poetic lyrics. I also listen to a lot of David Bowie, Blondie, and The Clash.
When did you feel like this is it, I’m an author whose words are going to be read by, and have an impact on, others?
I’m actually not sure it’s hit me yet! I’ve had a couple small moments, like when someone I don’t know tweets that they’re excited for my book! Regardless of what impact my words have, I am just so grateful my books might land in the hands of Jewish teens eager to see themselves represented in YA.
What do you want your readers to take with them after having read your books?
All my books explore female desire/sexuality/exploration in some way. Too often, female sexuality — particularly for teens — is demonized or deemed less important than male desire. I would love for my readers, especially future teen readers, to understand that desire is not anything to be ashamed of, that a relationship should never be a deference to a partner’s wants over their own. I also hope my books add to YA literature a Jewish narrative that is not about the Holocaust — because Jewish people have many diverse contemporary stories to tell.
What does the future look like for you, Rachel? Future projects, releases etc.?
My second book, tentatively titled A YEAR OF BAD IDEAS, will be out from Simon Pulse in 2019! It’s about the aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends and examines codependency and what happens when a selfless act turns selfish. I’m also working on a fun contemporary YA romance with a 24 hour timeline!
If one (or several) of your characters got invited to a 70s-themed party, what would they wear and what song and/or person would bring them to the dance floor?
My two POV characters, Adina and Tovah, are fraternal twins who, when the book opens, aren’t as close as they used to be. But they still share a lot of inside jokes and a love for cheesy bad movies. Adina, a music prodigy who’s a bit of a loner and loves fashion and makeup, would wear some kind of glittery 70s-style dress. Tovah, the more logical, social twin, might feel more comfortable in one of those 70s pantsuits. I imagine Tovah would drag Adina onto the dance floor during Blondie’s “One Way or Another,” and while she’d pretend to be above it all, Adina would secretly love it.
You can easily look back at the 70s and see how the times have changed. If you look at the book community and publishing world today, what changes would you like to see for the future?
Of course, more books from marginalized authors, more ownvoices books. There are a few great ones coming out, but we absolutely need more Muslim ownvoices children’s books. I’d also love to see more contemporary YA set in non-Western countries.
Rachel, can you recommend two already published diverse books you’ve read and loved and one you can’t wait to read?
YOU DON’T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU by Rebecca Barrow (stunning YA contemporary, so brave and lovely) and AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao (out in 2018, one of the funniest YA novels I’ve ever read). And I can’t wait to read A GIRL LIKE THAT by Tanaz Bhathena!
Lastly, to end this interview, do you have a favorite 70s song to recommend your readers?
Just try not to dance and sing along to The Clash’s “Train in Vain.” That’s my go-to karaoke song 🙂
Thank you so much, Rachel, for answering my questions. I hope you readers enjoyed this interview, I know I did! Eager to find out more about Rachel Lynn Solomon? All information about her and her books can be found on her website. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
About The Author
Rachel Lynn Solomon is the author of the upcoming contemporary YA novel You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (out early 2018 from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse) with a second book slated for 2019. She is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency. You can find her online at www.rachelsolomonbooks.com and on Twitter @rlynn_solomon.
Since I promised a very 70s music-themed interview series, I have one last surprise, a favorite 70s song of mine (and there will be a new one every week yay). Now let’s get those dance moves on here’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole.
Do you want to listen to all of the songs from my Saturday Night Author Fever interview series?
To make things easier I have created a Spotify playlist that features all of the songs mentioned in my Saturday Night Author Fever posts. You can check out the playlist below or go here. Every time a new interview is published new songs will be added to it.