Homegrown author and former Omaha World-Herald columnist Rainbow Rowell’s newest release Eleanor & Park has garnered impressive praise from respected publications. The New York Times‘ John Green reviewed, “Its observational precision and richness make for very special reading.” Publishers Weekly wrote, “Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution maintains the novel’s delicate balance of light and dark.” And there’s more.
The author has made appearances at Omaha Public Library events over the years, including a Young Adult author signing and panel discussion at Saddlebrook Branch in March. She took time out of her promotional rounds to answer five quick questions. Her Omaha fans will appreciate her insight on Omaha, libraries and herself as a writer.
1.) How would you describe Omaha?
Omaha is a place where most people have enough space and enough freedom to be themselves. When I visit other cities, I’m always struck by how hard people have to work to have the quality of life that most of us take for granted. I feel like you can relax here. You can take a breath. Life won’t leave you behind.
2.) How is the public library important to a community?
Oh, I think Omaha’s libraries are extremely important – and have the potential to be even more important. When a community commits to its libraries, it’s committing to the future. It’s like saying, “We care about learning. We want to get better. We want everyone to have access to ideas and beauty. We want to live in a place where people think big.”
3.) What book should be required reading for aspiring writers?
None. I think writers should read whatever interests them – whatever transports them. You have to let yourself get carried away by books, I think, if you ever hope to do the carrying.
4.) Which five words describe Rainbow Rowell?
The five I use the most are “Just like in the sky.” How about: Waiting for Sherlock Season Three. Or: Reluctant Gryffindor with Ravenclaw tendencies. Or: Alive. Awake. Reading. Writing. Wondering.
5.) Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
I find inspiration in beautiful things – and in things that take dedication and imagination. I’m obsessed with Walt Disney World because it just feels like the Taj Mahal of imagination and storytelling. And I spend a lot of time on Tumblr. If you can’t get inspired on Tumblr, you might not have any spire left in you.