Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon here to share about her YA contemporary YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE. It sounds like a riveting dual POV story about twins who are very different.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

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.

Hi Rachel! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Thank you for having me! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I became serious about it six years ago after graduating from college. My degree is in journalism, and I worked for a Seattle NPR station for a few years, in addition to freelance writing for various other news outlets. My first job out of college was as a producer on a morning radio show that started at 5 a.m. I had to be at the station at 2 a.m., and there were a few eerie hours where I was the only one there. So on days (nights) I had free time, I opened up email drafts and worked on what would become my first completed manuscript. (I was too nervous to save anything to a work computer.)

I worked on that book for a couple years, eventually leaving the journalism field to work in education. In my spare time, I continued writing. YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE was my fifth completed manuscript.

These days, I work full-time for a tutoring company in addition to writing. I love tap dancing, my tiny rescue dog, gloomy Seattle weather, and collecting red lipstick.

2. Your job at NPR sounds fascinating. And it's great how you are balancing a job and writing. You're giving me hope I can too. Where did you get the idea for YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE?

The idea first sparked when I was browsing through Wikipedia and landed on a page about Huntington’s disease. I’m not sure how I landed on the page, exactly—you know how Wikipedia black holes can go. I remembered a storyline about Huntington’s on the old WB show Everwood, which stuck me with many years after I saw it, so I knew a little about the disease. As I continued researching—my research began on Wikipedia, I’ll admit, but it definitely did not end there—I learned that a child of a parent with Huntington’s has a 50/50 chance of developing it themselves. It made me wonder: what if sisters—twins, even—received opposite from a genetic test for Huntington’s? It was a staggering, heartbreaking thought, and I knew I wanted to explore all the complicated feelings associate with it in alternating POVs.

3. I love how your random research blossomed into your book. Adina and Tovah are such different characters with very different passions in life. Share a bit about them and how they developed as characters for you.

When I decided to write twins, I knew I wanted them to be different, of course, but I wanted to shy
away from what I feel is the “typical” twin narrative: one’s a slacker and one’s an overachiever. I wanted to write two ambitious girls.

Adina came to me first; I wanted to write a sexually confident girl unafraid to go after what she wants when it comes to her passion (playing the viola) or her relationships. Tovah was a bit harder to get to know. She went through a few different personalities before I decided she was a science whiz who wants to become a surgeon. The genetic test results turn both their futures uncertain.

There’s a line near the climax of the book that describes the sisters really well, I think. This is in Tovah’s POV:

“She’s the girl who always gets what she wants, and I’m the girl who tries and tries and tries but can never quite get there.”

4. I think a lot of siblings could relate to that quote. Your writing of this in a dual POV has been described as masterful. Share your tips for writing a book from the POV of more than one character.

Thank you! Dual POV can definitely be a challenge, especially with two female characters—and especially with sisters. I wanted Adina’s identity as a musician to influence her voice. Her voice is more lyrical, languid, with longer sentences and plenty of music metaphors. Contrasted with Adina’s, Tovah’s voice is more logical and to the point. I made lists of music- and science-related words for each character, which I referred to while revising. While I wrote the book chronologically, I tried to revise each character separately—as in, I worked on a few Adina chapters, and then a few Tovah chapters, and so forth—so I could stay in each girl’s head as best I could.

5. Those are such great dual POV ideas. I would have never thought of the word list! Your book also deals with the heavy issue of Adina’s and Tovah’s mom’s Huntington’s disease and the effects of this disorder on their own lives. What research did you do into the disease and how did you weave this into the story without becoming preachy?

Research was absolutely crucial to this book. Before I spoke to anyone affected by Huntington’s, I read articles, watched videos, browsed message boards, took detailed notes. I used that information to sketch out a first draft, and then I talked to a friend whose family had been touched by Huntington’s as well as a genetic counselor who gave me fascinating, heartbreaking insight into what happens when she delivers test results.

It was important to me that the twins’ mother felt like a rich, fully realized person. She has multiple hobbies and interests: she loves knitting and watching old movies, and she has a complicated relationship with her Israeli heritage. I also gave their parents a fun meet-cute backstory.

I think I was able to prevent the book from becoming preachy by digging in to all the complex, sometimes ugly emotions teen girls experience, amplified here by receiving opposite test results. I allowed them to be messy, and I hope that makes them feel authentic.

6. Share a challenge that you faced in writing your manuscript either before or after you got your publishing contract and what you learned from overcoming the challenge?

When I started writing it, I had no idea how YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE should end. I cycled through a lot of potential endings, including sappy, unrealistic ones and shockingly sad ones. Once I began working with my editor, I realized there was only going to be one version of this book out in the world, and I labored over the last lines of the book for a long time. Ultimately, I believe (and hope!) I found something bittersweet and satisfying.

7. I'm struggling a bit with my own ending in a story I'm working on. Interesting how you figured yours out with your editor. I’m an aspiring fantasy writer and have never tried to write contemporary. What are your tips for those of us wanting to make the leap to write a contemporary story that is compelling like yours?

I’m awed by the worlds fantasy writers create! The best advice I can give is to read voraciously in the genre you wish to write. You have to know what’s already out there in order to create something fresh.

8. Your agent is Laura Bradford. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Laura is my second agent, and she is an absolute rock star. I queried her in October 2015, after leaving my first agent, and she offered rep in March of 2016. YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE sold at the end of May 2016 in a two-book deal to Simon Pulse. Publishing is eternal periods of waiting punctuated by occasional lightning-fast good news. The only thing we ever have control over is what we write, and stubbornness absolutely pays off. I had two other books on submission that didn’t sell, and two books before that that I queried that didn’t find an agent.

9. So true what you say about what we can control. What are your favorite social media platforms to connect with readers and authors? Why and how have you used it to reach out to others?

I’m a bit obsessed with Twitter! It’s where I’ve met most of my friends, including those who live nearby. There are downsides to it, of course, but mainly, I love the feeling of closeness it fosters within the YA community. I’m also trying to get better at Instagram.

10. What are you working on now?

I’m revising my 2019 YA, which is another dual POV about a kidney transplant between best friends, complicated by the fact that the donor is in love with the recipient. On breaks from that, I’m working on a YA romantic comedy.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rachel. You can find Rachel here:

Twitter: @rlynn_solomon
Instagram: @rlynn_solomon
Purchase book: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Rachel has generously offered a signed hardback of YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through January 20th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, January 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Elizabeth Bewley and critique query giveaway

Sunday, January 14th I'm participating in the Best of 2017 Giveaway Hop

Monday, January 15th I have an interview with debut author Elizabeth X.R. Pan and a giveaway of her YA contemporary THE ASTONISHING COLOR AFTER

Wednesday, January 17th I have a Call for Questions for Agent Peter Knapp who will pick questions to answer on Monday, February 5th

Monday, January 22nd I have an Agent Spotlight Interview with Molly O'Neill and query critique giveaway

Monday, January 29th I have an interview with debut author Gwendolyn Clark and a giveaway of her YA fantasy INK, IRON, and GLASS

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an interesting first job.
Several manuscripts and two agents later - you definitely stuck with it and continued to grow as a writer, Rachel.

Greg Pattridge said...

You just never know where a story idea will come from! Best of luck with this book Rachel and all the future ones you will write.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A friend of mine has Huntington's and it's heartbreaking to watch. It's a disease few people know about and it was an excellent choice for your book, Rachel.

Brenda said...

A very intriguing plot with the dual POV of twins and Huntington's. Congratulations on its upcoming release. No need to enter me Natalie, I've some reading I'm working on. Hope you have a lovely week.

Crystal Collier said...

I've always wondered what it would be like to be a twin. That takes the whole sibling rivalry/friendship to a new level methinks.

Tammy Theriault said...

The twin premise sounds fascinating! I live just north of Seattle and love our rainy times, too!

cleemckenzie said...

I'm so glad other writers have no idea how their stories will end while they're on their way through a story. Congrats on finishing and I love the tale of twins.

Yolanda Renée said...

Congratulations, Rachel, on your book and what a great interview! Thanks for sharing so much of your process. Twins are an interesting subject. And endings can be tricky.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Rachel's book sounds really interesting. I taught two different sets of siblings who had Huntingtons in their ancestry. One set had the testing. It was heartbreaking. Lots of emotions to explore.

Unknown said...

This is such an awesome book! I totally loved reading it :)


Pat Hatt said...

Great how you avoided the classic twin trope. Huntington's is a nasty disease indeed.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - sounds like a powerful book!!

Diane Burton said...

Very interesting interview. Always great to get to know fellow writers. Your topic intrigues me. My twin grandsons were just born in Oct. So I'm very interested in twins. Best wishes.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a touching story. Congratulations. I also understand about the ending. I'm struggling with that very thing with my latest story. Best of luck to you.

S.P. Bowers said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. Can't wait to read it.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Congrats Rachel, this story sounds really touching.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Rachel!! This was such a fun interview ladies!! I'm still dying to read this book- It's received such fantastic praise all over the place. I loved reading more about its background here.

Suzi Guina said...

Rachel, your book sounds so beautiful! Congrats on your debut, and thanks for sharing about the books that came before. I'm glad you found success with this one!

Unknown said...

I've heard a lot of great buzz about this book! Can't wait to read it!
cerickson (at)integra (dot)net

Danielle H. said...

Ever since I read about this book, I can't wait to read it. It sounds so unique from others I've read. I shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/169512902882/rachel-lynn-solomon-interview-and-youll-miss-me

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Fascinating look into your creative journey, Rachel. Thanks so much for sharing!

nikkirae said...

This book sounds awesome! I hope to read it someday! Thanks for writing it.

Natasha said...

This one sounds like an amazing read and I love the book cover!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Natasha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosi said...

Writing from two points of view seems so daunting. Good for Rachel for finding a way. Thanks for another terrific interview. Please let someone else win. My TBR pile is overwhelming right now.

Angie Quantrell said...

Congratulations! This sounds like a fascinating story. Can't wait to read it! Angelecolline(at)yahoo(dot)come

Anonymous said...

The dual word list idea is great. Excited to read this book!

DMS said...

You'll Miss Me When I'm gone sounds fascinating. Heading from Rachel made me very curious. Love that she stumbled upon an article that sparked the idea. You never know where ideas will come from. I would love to win a copy. Thanks so much for the offer!

Best of luck to Rachel!

Jessica said...

Sounds like an amazing read! I am a follower. girlygirlugh at gmail dot com. Thank you!

Karley Moore said...

This looks like a great book and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Caroline said...

I'm so excited for this book and I'd love to win it! Thanks for the giveaway. I tweeted about the giveaway here: https://twitter.com/sunshinebooks17/status/953341722922307584

yellowlabs said...

This book sounds very interesting and I would love to read it. Thanks for the chance to win!

Julie Abe said...

Thank you for this interview, Rachel and Natalie!