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  • Marie Nielsen

Interview with Rainbow Rowell

Jeg var så heldig at fange Rainbow Rowell til et interview på Herlufsholm Fantasy Bogmesse. Vi snakkede om hendes første (og pt. eneste) fantasybog, nemlig Carry On. Interviewet foregik på engelsk og derfor vil resten af det her indlæg også være på engelsk. Er man interesseret i den danske udgave, skal man klikke her.


You’re an American writer but the novel takes place in Britain. However, in the book we’re told that there exists American schools. So why not let the book take place in America?


I set Carry On in the UK because it really is a story about other stories. It’s a chosen-one story about other chosen-one stories – it’s a book about other books – and so much of children’s literature in the US comes from the UK. So many of our classics and our classic characters are actually British characters. Not just Harry Potter, but Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins, and it’s almost like those British classics are American classics. Their influence on literature is big, so because I was kind-of writing about that sort of story, so it felt like it should be a British story.


Why does the “normal” world play such a huge role in the story? Like Agatha wants to be a veterinarian. Why did you not separate the two worlds?


I think I thought it would be more interesting if the magicians depend upon the normals. The normals use the language and makes the language more powerful, and then the magicians are sort of parasites that live of the talking. So, it keeps more tension. They can’t keep too far away from the normal people: they need to stay close to the language. I think there is even a storyline in Carry On, where they had some powerful spells that used Victorian language. But when the language shifted, they had to sift too and create new spells, because they are so dependent on what the normal people are doing. I think I just thought it would be more interesting.


Well, like you said the spells that are used in the book are everyday phrases. Why not make up a spell with a weird, long, unpronounceable name, like J. K. Rowling did it in Harry Potter?


Well, everybody has their own way of casting magic spells. Even when I was a kid, I would be like “say the magic word” and it would be like “bibbidi bobbidi boo” or “avracadavra”. All these things are kind-of nonsenses words… well I don’t know if avracadavra is nonsense word, but it doesn’t make sense to Americans. And I liked the idea of magic words, but wouldn’t it be interesting if the magic words where like the regular language? Not some special language or secret language but what if the magic was in the words already? Almost every question to why for me can be answered with I just found it interesting or… I’m alone with the book most of the time for a year, so the book needs to be interesting and amusing and entertaining for me to keep me engaged and coming back to write. So, all of these decisions I make about the book is “oh, I thought it would be funny” or that I was entertaining myself writing the spells. I thought the spells were funny.


My last question to you is… who was your favourite character in Carry On?


Baz for sure! I mean, I probably wrote Carry On because of Baz. So, he was my favourite character in Fangirl and I just felt like I never really got to… he’s like a car that I didn’t get to drive. I just wanted to get out on the road and take him for a ride. I wanted to write so much more from him. I find him so funny and my heart goes out to him so much. So, I love writing him.

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