In the four years since her Harry Potter-inspired fantasy Carry On was published, author Rainbow Rowell said at BookCon, even when she was immersed in other projects, “the back of my brain never leaves Baz Pitch.” And who could blame her? For all that Carry On is an excellent subversion of the Chosen One archetype, its most memorable character is cranky queer vampire Tyrannus “Baz” Basilton Grimm-Pitch, who finds himself in love with his roommate/enemy, the aforementioned Chosen One Simon Snow. And with this fall’s follow-up Wayward Son, readers get more of Baz’s story.
Wayward Son represents many things for Rowell: her first sequel, the first book that readers were clamoring for during the writing of it, a genre crossover of the fantasy world she’s slowly been exploring with an all-American road trip story.
Speaking of fantasy, there is some ineffable magic to a Rainbow Rowell panel: she is unfailingly approachable and wry, sharing tidbits from upcoming projects while still keeping some secrets. I could watch her talk generously about fandom headcanons and high-five readers all day.
We live-tweeted the panel, which you can check out in its entirety below!
Even when Rainbow was working on something else, “the back of my brain never leaves Baz Pitch.” HARD SAME
On choosing to set Wayward Son’s road trip in America: “People would say, ‘You like to write about Omaha, but you’ll never write about Simon and Baz in Omaha.’ OH REALLY?”
TMW your editor likes the sequel manuscript you've written half of without telling her pic.twitter.com/vRJJMcLR2v
— Tor.com (@tordotcom) June 1, 2019
Part of the sequel-writing process was figuring out character birthdays and hiring somebody mathematically-inclined to figure out when exactly they should be.
Some people will read Fangirl but skip the Simon/Baz parts, to which the audience simultaneously wonders HOW
“It’s cool because that’s me; I’m not someone who’s cool about the things I love.” @rainbowrowell on the #CarryOn fandom. She appreciates fan headcanons but sometimes has to keep her distance to protect her *own* headcanons.
Would she revisit the #CarryOn world for a third time after #WaywardSon? “I’m never closing the door on Baz. For me he’s the most natural character to write, which is funny because we don’t have anything in common. […] He takes over every scene he’s in.”
With the Eleanor & Park movie adaptation recently announced, one fan question was about other potential adaptations. Rainbow has had some books optioned, but nothing at a stage to announce yet.
Props to the fan wearing a Harry/Draco shirt: “I had never read Harry/Draco before I read Simon/Baz”
What made @rainbowrowell decide to include Harry Potter in the Fangirl universe? She cites Marvel + DC, A Bug’s Life + Antz, Volcano + Dante’s Peak — two types of pop culture that can coexist at once.
Baz's floral suit was inspired in part by Harry Styles' fashion–not so much the style/how Harry wears a suit, but definitely the fabric. pic.twitter.com/EAZhawByme
— Tor.com (@tordotcom) June 1, 2019
If there were a #CarryOn movie, who could even play Baz Pitch? “Ezra Miller seems natural, right?”
How would Simon react if he finds out who his parents are in #WaywardSon? “I think he would be freaked out and traumatized, which is the Simon Snow story.”
Shout-out to @rainbowrowell‘s first novel Attachments, an “e-pistolary” (hee) story written almost entirely in emails.
“I try to err on the side of what feels real to me, even if it hurts.” @rainbowrowell on the Eleanor & Park ending
Plotter or pantser? “A little bit of planning, and then I improvise.”