Hey everyone! Today I’m so thrilled to share an interview and host a giveaway for Rachel Lynn Soloman’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone! I’m highly anticipating its release and this interview totally had me even more excited.
About the Book
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Soloman
Release Date: January 2nd 2018
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Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.
But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.
When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.
These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?
From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.
About the Author
Rachel Lynn Solomon lives in Seattle and loves tap dancing, red lipstick, and new wave music. A former journalist, she has worked for NPR, produced a radio show that aired in the middle of the night, and currently works in education. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE (Simon Pulse, 1/2/18) is her debut novel. You can find her online at rachelsolomonbooks.com and on Twitter @rlynn_solomon.
- Use any five words to describe your novel.
Feminist, unapologetic, heartbreaking, passionate, bittersweet
- This is your debut novel. Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that you’d like to tell to aspiring writers?
While this is my debut, it’s not my first book — in fact, it’s my fifth completed novel! I’m pretty open about my journey; I amicably split with my first agent and queried YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE for five months before finding new representation. After that, YMMWIG sold rather quickly. The entire experience still feels surreal, especially now that the book is no longer something that lives solely in my mind and in my Dropbox. There’s just no way to know who is going to connect with your words and for what reasons. My advice would be to be aggressively persistent, but take breaks if you need to for your mental health. You are your own best advocate — no one else is going to hit send on those queries for you. Every journey is different — just because your first (or second or third) agent doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you’ll never sell a book. Querying for months and months doesn’t mean no one is interested. Publishing is unpredictable, and we can only control our words.
- Your novel is about twin sisters whose lives begin to take very different paths. What is it about sisterhood that drew you to writing Adina and Tovah’s story?
Funnily, while Adina and Tovah are at odds throughout most of the book, I have a good relationship with my younger sister — though when my mom read it, she somehow saw the two of us in it! There are a lot of twin books out there with sisters painted as opposites: one sister is a slacker and the other is going to Harvard. I wondered, what if both twins were ambitious, just in different ways? They’re each a little jealous of each other and have completely different ways of approaching their interests, love lives, and relationships with their parents. They also have very different relationships with their bodies. I wanted to explore just how far apart I could push these two sisters, and then how I could ultimately bring them back together.
- What was your initial inspiration for You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone?
My first nugget of an idea was that I wanted to write a sexually aggressive female protagonist because I hadn’t read very many of them in YA. That became Adina, the viola prodigy who owns her sexuality and is fully comfortable in her body. Her twin, Tovah, is ambitious too (in a different way — she wants to become a surgeon), but she’s much shyer about her body, and her arc deals more with the exploration of that.
Tovah is similar to the girl I was in high school — shy, embarrassed to talk about anything sex-related with even my closest friends, ashamed to acknowledge desire. Adina is who I wish I’d been: confident and in control. She acts on a lot of thoughts most of us probably wouldn’t, which made her extremely fun to write.
Then I fell down a Wikipedia hole and started researching Huntington’s disease, which I’d known about because I watched TV show Everwood as a kid, and the story line about HD stuck with me. I saw the statistic: that there’s a 50 percent a child of a parent with HD will develop the disease themselves, and I thought, what if twins had opposite results?
I also hadn’t ever written Jewish protagonists until this book. I realized I hadn’t even read very many Jewish protagonists in contemporary novels, so this is my attempt at showing we have many more stories to tell beyond Holocaust narratives.
- What are you working on now? (If you can share!)
I just sent my editor the first draft of my 2019 Simon Pulse book, which is another dual POV YA contemporary. It’s about the aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends — a girl donates a kidney to the guy best friend she’s secretly been in love with for years, resulting in a lot of complicated feelings for them both. It’s about friendship codependency, selfishness vs. selflessness, and Jewish identity. I wove a pretty unique (in my opinion!) sister story into it because apparently I wasn’t quite done with those. The male MC is bisexual, and the book has a queer romance I love a lot.
I’m also working on something completely different: a YA romantic comedy that takes place over 24 hours. It’s fun and feminist and might ultimately become my favorite thing I’ve ever written.