Tuesday, March 27, 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!


  1. This book has been on my wishlist since your review. I'm thrilled it's coming out in paperback since I know I'll be reading it soon!

    I love this guest post and Rainbow's discussion about writing this book. She's really made me look forward to reading it!
    Thank you Lisa and Rainbow for a great post.

  2. I just realized this is a giveaway, too! Thank you! It's been a long tim since I worked but I still have a few good stories.

    When I was a prosecutor, several dys a week I had to appear before a judge in court and present cases, many of which we tried to dispose of with please.
    At one point, I was in a department where my supervisor was the wife of a judge. I didn't know this at the time mostly because I didn't normally appear before this judge. But one day he was the judge on one of my cases. My supervisor didn't want the case to be pleaded out. This really ticked off the judge. When he discovered it was my supervisor's order he said some very unkind things about her, not knowing my supervisor was his wife. Then he told me to get my supervisor to come to court. Well, you should have seen his face when his wife walked up to my table in the courtroom! And my supervisor looked pretty surprised herself...we weren't in the judges usual courtroom and so she hadn't realized her husband was the judge! Of course he recused himself from the case but not before they started arguing (Oy!) and then moved to his chambers and out of earshot of everyone in the courtroom!
    Thank goodness she laughed about it later on back in our office!

  3. Something that was really funny to everyone else, but not to me:

    There was this one director at work who NEVER answered his emails and NEVER followed through on anything that came his way. My boss asked me to give her an update this one particular situation and I did, by email. Five seconds later, I received hundreds of vacation auto-replies and dozens of emails from folks telling me that I sent the email to the wrong person.


    When I went back to check, auto-fill added a campus-wide email list to the "To" field. EVERYONE on campus got my take on this guy. Including, the guy!

    What was funny, is that every reply indicated that they felt the same way about him. He didn't find it all that amusing.

    And yes, I still have access to all of those campus-wide email lists.

  4. “Lincoln is a man,” I told myself. “Not a unicorn. You can do this.” This line totally cracked me up! I have heard a lot of good things about this book, and need to grab it and see what I think. It sounds like Rowell did an amazing job with both the female and the male characters.

  5. I really am attracted to the plot of this story...life via email! So true to what is going on today with all of us. Lincoln sounds like a very interesting character to me!

    Funny thing at work??? Too many to count but probably the funniest lately is when my teacher friend meant to IM me about her "yahooligans coming to the library" but instead IM an Elementary principal!!!!!!!!!

  6. I had the same reaction as Zibilee--the line about Lincoln being a unicorn, not a man, cracked me up. :-)