A war with no discernible cause or motivation. The “New War” in S.E. Keller’s Rain is one such conflict.
Waging for over a year, the true origins of the “New War” remain unknown. Some believe it was the work of a terrorist organization while others speculate that it was “a prospect of land” or “a political agenda to mess with the next election.” Yet the attacks have been happening all over the world and don’t seem to target any one specific group. Nothing about this war makes sense.
Keller shed more light on her New War in this recent Q&A. If you’re interested in learning more about the book, read our review here.
Q: In Rain, the “New War” is almost like a World War III. How did you come up with this far-reaching and devastating conflict?
A: I have always been intrigued by the idea of war. When I first wrote this story, I actually started with the war and wanted to find some way to better explain it. I didn’t want just any old war that we have had before, which is why I didn’t label it as WWIII. It features a different style of fighting and purpose than those wars that simply pit country against country, idea against idea. As the plot develops, the war is described a little more clearly.
Q: On your website, you mention that the title of your novel came from a song, which you make reference to throughout the book. What song was it and why was it so influential?
A: I fell in love with a certain piano song and felt inspired to add it to the book. While the song is actually based on a real melody written by Brian Crain, I want readers to be able to imagine whatever song they like. I found it very influential for myself because it is calming while also being a very deep composition, and I get caught up in my imagination whenever I hear it.
Q: Readers encounter several different narrators throughout the novel. Can you talk more about your approach to writing and your narrative style?
A: I love writing multiple perspectives. For this story in particular, I find that it not only helps develop a variety of environments, but keeps the plot moving along in spots that would otherwise drag. Most of the reason I do this in my writing is that, as a reader myself, I always want to know what’s happening everywhere else. It also gives the audience an opportunity to figure things out for themselves rather than waiting for the main character to. In Siren’s case, she is very limited to what information she personally can gather, so the multiple perspectives are a good gateway into the outside world.
Q: You’ve noted that you’re interested in psychology, which will become apparent to any reader who dives into Rain. What specific areas of psychology were you wanting to explore?
A: Rain is a pretty somber scene, and I don’t like to leave any story untold. I’ve always been fascinated with history and psychology and didn’t want that to go unnoticed in this book. Everyone has their own side of the story, and you could say everyone also has an excuse for how they behave. I love to think about how each character, from Sebastian to Pride to Kastor, has developed psychologically. Not only that but oftentimes I think we forget that everyone is human. When characters are sad or angry, I want to give some explanation for it or some sense of what is going on with them mentally. I want to show cause and effect, environmental triggers, and emotional reactions to them.
Q: What would you hope readers to take away from reading Rain?
A: I hope that, after reading this book, people try to understand one another a little better. I know that this story is short and uncomplicated, but I’d like to think there will be important discussions about it in the future. Hopefully, we can all start asking each other the questions we really want the answers to.
Q: You’re currently working on both a sequel and a prequel to Rain. What can readers expect from these upcoming novels?
A: The sequel will be the rest of Siren’s story, and I will have many new POVs for readers as the duo comes to an end. The New War will become clearer, and the mystery of what happened to everyone else while we were trapped with Siren will be revealed. However, on the other side of things, the prequel will be about the characters from Rain who weren’t really talked about, and those are Aillia Hansen and the rest of the Halin family.