Pardon me while I go fangirl for a moment. You'd think I'd get used to talking to my favorite authors after so many years, but of course, that never happens. That is especially true today as I'm taking to Rachel Lynn Solomon, brilliant author and nicest human. Rachel has been one of my favorite authors almost as long as I've been a blogger. Her first book came out about 7 months after I first started my blog, and almost four years later, I finally get to chat with her. I can't believe this didn't happen sooner, but I think I was always intimidated.
There's a lot to cover in this quick chat, so Rachel and I talk about keeping up with writing on a quick release schedule, wading into the romance world with The Ex Talk, working in public radio, plotting Today, Tonight Tomorrow, and what's next (luckily, there's quite a bit coming soon). I hope you enjoy our conversation.
1. You’ve been releasing books steadily since your debut in 2018, and this year you have both a YA and an adult book out. What’s it like balancing writing time with so many releases? Has your writing process changed since your pre-publication days because of this?
I feel very, very fortunate to be on this kind of schedule. It was something I dreamed about when I started writing, and it still feels surreal that this is my job. Every night, I go to bed excited that I get to write again the next day.
Until late 2019, I was working full-time, and until a few months ago, I had a side gig -- so 2021 is my first year as a full-time author. Balancing writing with a full-time job was a challenge. I'd get very protective of my writing time; everyone in my life would know that on weekend mornings, I'd be holed up in my local coffeeshop. When writing became my job, I wanted to make sure I took breaks on evenings and weekends, which I try to stick to!
2. Similarly, you have 3 YA books out now, but The Ex Talk is your first romance for the adult audience. What’s it like writing for a different age group? I know you’ve always been a romance fan (the protagonist in Today, Tonight, Tomorrow even wants to be a romance writer), what made you want to start writing in the genre now?
The biggest difference is the amount of independence my main characters have. In my adult books, my protagonists can easily get themselves from place to place and are (mostly) financially independent. The romantic stakes are also higher, since my characters might be thinking about moving in, marriage, and/or kids in the context of their relationship.
I experienced a huge shift in my reading habits as a result of the 2016 election. I'd always been drawn to dark, heavy books, but all I wanted to read were romance novels. And now they're probably 90 percent of what I read. Romance novels have really saved me over the past few years, and it's the biggest privilege to be able to create something that brings others joy.
3. Speaking of Today, Tonight, Tomorrow, that book totally stole my heart last year. It takes place in a single day. How did you manage the plotting of such a tight timeline? Do you have any advice for writers telling a single day story?
Thank you so much! It's incredibly close to my heart, too. One thing that I didn't anticipate when I started writing T3 was that I'd have to use a map. I wanted to make sure it was possible (if a bit of a stretch) for them to make it to all the locations in the book in the amount of time I was giving them. I had all these printouts and terrible sketches that probably looked like I was planning a heist. So: maps! They really did help a tremendous amount.
4. Your bio mentions your time working in public radio. Did the idea for The Ex Talk start there?
I feel a little like The Ex Talk was marinating in my brain for the past decade, even though I didn't necessarily think, "I'm going to write a book about this one day" when I was working in public radio. I did always feel like it would be a great backdrop for a book, but it took me a while to figure out what that book might be about. I had a failed attempt at it in 2017, and it wasn't until 2019 that this exact premise came to me. It just felt right, and I sat down and wrote the whole first draft in three weeks. I'd never written a draft that quickly before, and I haven't since!
5. I know you have a new YA book project coming up in June. Can you tell me about We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This and any other upcoming projects?
Absolutely! WCKMLT is a YA romantic comedy about Quinn, a harpist in a family of wedding planners, and Tarek, whose family runs a catering company. The two have been friends for years, with Quinn harboring a crush for a good number of those years, and now they're being thrown back together for a summer of weddings after Quinn's confession of her feelings the previous summer went disastrously. It's about family expectations and mental health and summer romance that maybe turns into a beyond-the-summer romance.
My next adult book will be another journalism workplace romcom out early 2022! Hopefully I'll be able to reveal more very soon. :)
Rachel Lynn Solomon is the bestselling author of The Ex Talk, Today Tonight Tomorrow, and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This (June 2021). She writes, tap dances, and collects lipstick in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at rachelsolomonbooks.com and on Twitter and Instagram @rlynn_solomon.
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