Andy Lillich: You write the very best boyfriends ever in my opinion. Who do you model these characters on? Friends? Relatives? Fantasies? And do you have someone you rely on to give you “reality checks” on the things your boyfriends say and do? And where is the best place to look for these kinds of boyfriends in real life?
Rainbow Rowell: Thank you! This is the best compliment!
I don’t base my male characters on specific people, but I’ve been married for 15 years. I have three brothers, a great stepdad, close male friends and coworkers. And I think most of the men in my life are kind and romantic enough to be in my books. (My husband is too good. I have to tone his qualities down for them to be believable.)
I really believe in good men. I think that men can be sensitive and romantic; I think they care about love, finding love. So it comes naturally for me to write about them.
As for where to find a guy like that—my strongest romantic relationships have grown out of friendships. With people who already liked and respected me, and vice versa.
The only dating advice I have to offer is: Expect the guys in your life to be kind and respectful. Don’t make excuses for garbagey behavior—"Oh, that’s just what guys are like.“ It isn’t true. Expect them to be good, treat them like they’re good. And if they’re garbagey, move on. Don’t let your world get cluttered up with people who think they have some gender-based right to be awful.