We started the promo episode by reminiscing old times, and talking of how the book first came about. When the Rain Falls was initially a social studies project where we were to imagine life fleeing your home country and becoming a refugee. While it started with as a collaborative project with two other girls, we soon realized we wanted to write more, and that we liked the multi-perspective, first person narrative structure. What followed was years of edits and rewriting some terrible (but very amusing) plot events. As promised, here are some pictures of teenage Sarah and Ashley on a lunchbreak, hanging out at the library with our giant clearfiles… the very first, handwritten version of When the Rain Falls.
We then segued into discussing the characters from the novel. A brief description of each of the six characters (the viewpoint characters) are below:
Grace: To get a feel for her character listen to songs by Brook Fraser
Has a tragic past that is the foundation for all her choices. She has worked hard to get through the tough times and come out a stronger person, but the arrival of war will be her biggest challenge yet. She’s an incredibly caring character but can be very emotional at times – sometimes her emotions can interfere with her judgment. Her greatest fear is being too broken to heal.
Levi: To get a feel for his character listen to songs by Daughtry
Levi comes from a broken home – divorced parents and an abusive, military father. But this doesn’t get Levi down, at least not on the outside. He’s compassionate, and despite everything has an optimistic outlook on the war. Levi’s greatest fear is becoming his dad
Jennifer has lived a sheltered life. And when war comes, she has no interest fighting or waging war. She’s perfectly happy hiding, and waiting for the war to pass them by. Despite being the youngest, she is often the voice of reason.
Lizzie: To get a feel for Lizzie listen to songs by P!NK
Lizzie is a fighter. She would take a stand for any of her friends – she is unwaveringly loyal. She feels strongly (sometimes too strongly) about her beliefs, and doesn’t usually see things in shades of grey. She is constantly battling against how she believes people perceive her, and continually trying to prove herself. Lizzie’s greatest fear is being invisible.
Dylan: To get a feel for him listen to songs by Dermot Kennedy
Dylan likes to be liked. He’s always been a popular guy, but the war is making him change. Dylan is a sensitive guy and answers everything with his heart on his sleeve. He comes from a traditional family and often sees himself as the ‘protector’ – even when his friends don’t think they need protecting. Dylan’s greatest fear is letting people down/not living up to people’s expectations of him.
Jess: To get a feel for Jess listen to songs by Caitlyn Smith
Unlike Lizzie, Jess doesn’t see the world in black and white, and she is constantly worried about whether they are doing the ‘right’ thing. She has an addictive personality and often gets swept up in her thoughts and emotions. Despite always feeling like an outsider, Jess is the glue that holds the group together. Jess’ greatest fear is being alone.
Our next point on the agenda was to discuss the short story, The State of Things. Sarah initially wrote this as a (somewhat poor) attempt to enter a short story competition, though we already had it in mind that this could be a potential prologue for the Black Skies series. Ashley edited and brushed up the short story, and it is now far more polished. We noted that the short story is written from a different perspective rather than using the teen’s perspectives. For this short story, it is written in the perspective of Tamati, one of the soldiers—a character who crops up a bit later in the series. Though it is in no way necessary to have read the short story to understand the book, it gives greater understanding of the political atmosphere and adds to the setting. To get your free copy of The State of Things, scroll down to the page footer, enter your details and sign up to Linderson Creations.
Next, we discussed the playlist. We found this a super fun project, and is basically a condensed version of our book in musical form, with each chapter having a matching song. If you’re interested in listening to the playlist, click here. Note that though the songs follow the chapters of the book, they are not specific enough to offer any more than general hints of the plot events, so there is no need to worry about spoilers. It does, however, provide a sense of the ‘tone’ of the book, from the highs to the lows.
Finally, we finished our promo by reading out some hilarious excerpts from the oldest version of the book, which was written when we were still in high school.