2K18 Member Spotlight: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rachel Lynn Solomon
BOOK TITLE: You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster / Simon Pulse
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2018
About YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE
A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.
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.
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. Our Year of Maybe, a second YA contemporary will be out from Simon Pulse in 2019.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR BOOK?
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.
I also hadn’t ever written Jewish protagonists until this book, though my debut is my fifth completed 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.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FURRY WRITING SIDEKICK.
Wally is 8 pounds of mystery pup love. I swear his soulful brown eyes understand me when I talk to him.
BEST ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Be relentless and aggressively persistent. You are your own best advocate. There’s no way of telling which book will be The Book, but each book absolutely brings you closer. Find people who will share in your successes and hold your hand during the difficult moments, and always, always write what you love. Write what scares you, push yourself, take risks.
WHAT DOES FEARLESS MEAN TO YOU?
“Fearless” means putting everything on the page: the rawest and messiest of emotions. Fearless should be synonymous with YA; I have too much respect for teens to censor my writing for them. I always embrace the awkward in my writing because I want to fully communicate every aspect of the teen experience, and let’s face it, those years are FULL of awkward.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEEN?
I was a mix of things as a teen: honors kid, singer in a punk rock band, and excluding the times I was onstage, painfully shy.
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Many, many things, but number one would be getting stuck in a career I don’t love. If I’m going to devote most of my daytime (and some of my nighttime) hours to something, I want it to be fulfilling and challenging and creative. So I hope I can keep writing books for a long time!