“Friendship, sandwiches & mysteries”: a Q+A with wonderful ‘Carry On’ author Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Carry On’ has taken the bookish world hostage and refuses to let go. The characters and story has captured imaginations everywhere. We asked the much loved author all the important questions, from ‘Fangirl’ beginnings to full on SnowBaz crushing.


Describe the plot of ‘Carry On’ in the length of a tweet. Simon is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen, but Baz loves him anyway. Plus friendship, sandwiches & mysteries!

How did writing a fantasy novel compare to writing contemporary? I felt like I had to think more. I wasn’t moving the characters through a world that already exists; I was constantly building the world around them. It came up a lot when I was describing their pasts together — casually alluding to all these magical adventures that I had to invent on the fly. It felt more fictional than my usual fiction.

So, Simon and Baz were always clearly going to get together, but did you always plan for it to happen in such a dramatic way? Oh yeah. I knew that if I was going to do it at all, it would have to be big and angsty and romantic. That was the point!

Is Carry On the version of the story Cath wrote in ‘Fangirl’? No, I don’t think so. It’s more like I broke the characters out of ‘Fangirl’ and gave them their own real canon. In ‘Fangirl’, Cath was trying  to build and expand on the world created by Gemma T. Leslie. I wanted to take a whole new path, and write the sort of fantasy that I would write — without Cath or Gemma as filter.

Do you consider the mage a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ character? Bad, I think. He had noble intentions once, but he was always selfish and ruthless. Over time, he grew so attached to his power that he’d do anything to keep it and get more. I’ve only written two truly villainous characters, and the Mage is one of them.

Do you have a favourite spell from the book? Or maybe a phrase now you think you would have liked to use but that never fit in? I love the way Penny swears. Nicks and Slick! It’s a reference to Stevie Nicks and Grace Slick — who I imagine are magicians in Penny’s world — and it always makes me laugh.

What are you working on at the moment? Absolutely nothing! I’m taking my first break in a really long time, trying to recharge.

You can get your copy of ‘Carry On’ here!


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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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