Rachel Lynn Solomon: ‘Research is one of my favorite parts of the writing process’

Een boek waarbij je meteen aan de pagina’s gekluisterd bent door de geweldige schrijfstijl en pakkende verhaallijn, maak kennis met ‘Weather Girl’ van Rachel Lynn Solomon! Boekhopper interviewde de schrijfster van het boek. Je leest hieronder het interview in het Engels.

Rachel Lynn Solomon
Photo by: © Sabreen Lakhani 2020

Rachel Lynn Solomon has stolen our feelgood, tug at your heartstrings, loving hearts with her captivating book ‘The Ex Talk’. This year one of Boekhopper’s favorite authors brings us a story that is just as lovely, amazing an captivating: ‘Weather Girl’. Where we follow a TV meteorologist and a sports reporter who scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results. Time to talk to Rachel about her new amazing book!

In the Acknowledgments you write that this is a deeply personal book to you, how did you come up with the idea for ‘Weather Girl’?
The title was the first thing that came to me! I’d written another book set in the journalism world (The Ex Talk, which is about public radio), and I loved the idea of writing about a TV meteorologist. I had that in my head for a couple years, but it took a while before I landed on this specific plot: Ari and Russell, her coworker, scheming to reunite their divorced bosses. Along the way, I blended aspects of my own mental health journey into Ari’s character. That ultimately became a large part of the book—and one of my favorite parts.

Main character Ari is dealing with some mental vulnerabilities which are beautifully described, why did you decide to incorporate this in to the story?
Thank you so much for saying that. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a young teen, and even now, I have gray periods. I’m still learning that it’s okay to talk about all of it openly with other people. I didn’t always feel that way—I experienced a lot of shame when I first started seeing a therapist as a teenager. I wanted to write a main character thriving while on medication and in therapy, but by no means “cured,” since there is no cure for depression. But that doesn’t mean people living with mental illness don’t deserve fun, escapist love stories, and that’s what I wanted to show with Weather Girl. Russell, the hero, doesn’t love Ari despite her depression. He loves all of her, all the time. 

Ari is a TV meteorologist, did you have to do a lot of research for this aspect of the book?
I did, and research is one of my favorite parts of the writing process! First, I did some basic internet research, which included watching YouTube videos of meteorologists talking about their jobs. Then, once I had a bit of a foundation, I wrote up some specific questions and reached out to TV meteorologists in Seattle, asking if I could interview them about their work. The two I spoke to were absolutely amazing—the book would not be the same without their input! 

What does your writing process look like? For example, do you start with the characters or the story?
I almost always start with a premise! My books begin as a one-sentence pitch, something catchy that gets me excited about all the possible directions it might go. From there, I build it into a three-paragraph summary—something you’d find on the back of the book. And then I write a longer synopsis and an outline before I start drafting!

Are there scenes that didn’t make it into the book and why not?
The first draft of the book was actually the opposite premise—the main characters were trying to break up their unhappily married bosses, instead of trying to reunite their divorced bosses. I made it halfway through that draft before I realized the book was just too negative and the characters didn’t feel relatable. So I discussed making that change with my editor, and fortunately she agreed! This version of the book is much more the story I wanted to tell. 

This book really tugs at your heartstrings, what is the first book that made you cry?
Hmm, I’m not sure if I remember the first book, but one that always sticks in my mind is Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara. It’s one of the most stunning, heartbreaking, and atmospheric books I’ve ever read. 

I always ask writers I interview this at the end of the interview: If there would be a book written about your life, what would the title and the storyline be?
Haha, that’s a tough one! I’m usually terrible at titling my own books—most of them have come from friends or editors! But I think some of the storyline would parallel what’s in Weather Girl—a woman making peace with her mental illness and learning how to manage it.  

Are you already working on another book? And can you maybe tell us a little bit about it?
My next book is a YA novel called See You Yesterday, releasing in May! It’s about a girl stuck in a time loop on her first day of college—alongside her nemesis. It was such a joy to write!

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