Rachel Lynn Solomon on her new YA rom-com, Past Present Future

"I view romance novels as a safe space to explore darker and more difficult topics with the comfort of a guaranteed HEA."


Following Rowan and Neil as they navigate the first year of college and a brand new long distance relationship, Past Present Future, is the perfect sequel to Rachel Lynn Solomon’s stunning rivals-to-lovers romance, Today Tonight Tomorrow. Exploring academic pressures, relationship firsts and mental health, with Rachel’s signature humour, care and heart, Past Present Future, is a beautiful answer to the question: ‘where are they now?’

To celebrate the release of Past Present Future, we had the pleasure of catching up with Rachel to talk all things sequels, mental health and our favourite couple, Rowan and Neil.

Hi Rachel! I’m so thrilled to have the chance to talk to you today to celebrate the release of your gorgeous new YA novel, Past Present Future. Before we get started, for readers who may be meeting Rowan and Neil for the first time; how would you best describe their story thus far in three words?

Thank you so much for having me! Past Present Future in three words: long-distance romance.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired the direction Past Present Future took Rowan and Neil’s story in?

When the sequel was still just a glimmer in my mind, I decided I’d only write it if I knew what it would be about. I wanted there to be a clear purpose — for example, I didn’t want to break up Rowan and Neil just for the sake of the plot. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how they’d sustain their relationship during college. I had zero doubts that they’d do it successfully, because not only are they overachievers but they are clearly meant to be, but the how of it all — there was a story there. I hadn’t read many YA books that explored the complexities of freshman year of college alongside navigating a long-distance relationship, and although Rowan and Neil were so vulnerable with each other in book 1, they still had a lot of opportunities for growth.

Your authors note discussing why you decided to write a continuation of Rowan and Neil’s story was so heart-warming to read! How did it feel returning to Rowan and Neil’s story after having been away from them for a few years?

Writing Today Tonight Tomorrow was a complete an utter joy from start to finish, and I truly loved spending more time with Rowan and Neil in the sequel. They feel so much a part of me that their voices just flowed — even Neil’s, since PPF is dual POV. That said, there were some challenges I didn’t anticipate! Throwaway comments I made in TTT suddenly became something I had to deal with in PPF, and I even wrote the entire first draft forgetting Neil has a dog.


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With that in mind; do you think there’s a chance we’ll get to reunite with Rowan and Neil in anything new in the future?

I’m not ruling out short stories or bonus content, but if I returned to them in novel form, they’d be adults, and I’m not entirely sure where I’d take them at that point. However, there’s a bonus epilogue in the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition of PPF that I think will be deeply satisfying for readers! ☺️

Mental health plays an important part in many of your YA and adult novels and is something you write about with so much care. Why do you think it’s so important for mental health to be explored within the romance genre?

One of my favorite topics! I love romance novels that explore mental health for a couple reasons. First of all, I think it’s important that readers struggling with similar mental health challenges see themselves not just represented on the page, but adored by a partner who loves them full stop, no qualifiers. And secondly, I view romance novels as a safe space to explore darker and more difficult topics with the comfort of a guaranteed HEA. They can be both escapist and authentic at the same time — that’s the balance I aim to strike with my books.

Jumping off that; do you have any recommendations for readers who’ve loved your books and are looking for more YA or adult romance novels featuring great mental health representation?

Romance: A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings, The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang, Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

YA: The Someday Daughter by Ellen O’Clover, When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis, Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara, Finally Fitz by Marisa Kanter

Are you currently working on anything new and if so, is there anything you can share with us?

I’m revising an adult romance set in Amsterdam that I’m very excited to share more about soon! It’s coming out next year and the tropes are marriage of convenience x second chance romance. After that, a YA best friends to lovers — another trope I’ve never done before that I am extremely eager to write.

Finally, how do you think you’d fare in a game of Howl and would you rather be teamed up with Rowan or Neil?

Oh, I would be awful at it — I’m terrible at games that involve sneakiness — but I’d also hate to disrupt Rowan and Neil’s partnership! 😆

Get your copy of Past Present Future by Rachel Lynn Solomon here.

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