Hi! I have read memories of a teenage amnesiac so many times and I love James Larkin. Please write more about him

Questions 2, 3, and 4 all involve James Larkin, the slightly Byronic, mood disordered, second love interest of Naomi, inMemoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.

Like you—and perhaps you are the same person or perhaps you are three different people—I think about James from time to time. Every now and again, a character is a little too alive, and it is hard to remember that you didn’t know him for real. I once wrote him into a different book that I didn’t end up finishing. But I can tell you this: he is in film school at Columbia and he is all right.

He still gets depressed every now and again, but now that he is older, he is better able to deal with his moods. He thinks about Naomi occasionally, but never tries to contact her. The Christmas before senior year of college, he runs into her at the airport. She is on her way home from school; he is on his way to California to see his dad. His flight is delayed so they go into one of those terrible airport restaurants: a TGI Fridays, that type of place. They talk for about an hour—he’s getting really into cinematography; she’s pretty sure she’s going into the family business, writing. When theypart, it is with promises that they’ll keep in touch, but they don’t

When she gets home, Naomi tells her dad that she ran into James Larkin of all people.

“How’s he doing?” Grant asks.

She considers the question. Even though she has had quite a few boyfriends since James, she still worries about him. How do you stop worrying about someone you used to love? “He seemed all right,” she says.

A couple of months later, Naomi Googles him and ends up on his Tumblr. Yeah, James is totally on Tumblr, but not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest. He’s got reasons he doesn’t like all those other social networks, and who knows how long he’ll even stay on Tumblr, right? James’s Tumblr involves screen captures of movie kisses. He’s still romantic, she thinks.

2, 3, 4/85

who is the girl on the cover of elsewhere?

1/84

image

I suppose you are talking about the British paperback version, which has a blond girl wrapped in a blue towel, on a beach. I don’t know who she is except to say that the photo came from a stock photo house, like Getty. I know this photo has been used on other books, too. I think she represents Liz, but you probably know that already.

I imagine this girl was a child model. She’s probably a grown-up now. Maybe she’s in college or even older. Maybe she doesn’t model anymore. Maybe modeling was her mom’s idea to begin with and maybe she only did it to make her mother happy. Maybe she was cold that day. Maybe she wouldn’t like being on a book where the girl dies, but that’s the life of a model: You end up where you end up. Maybe, since the photo is from behind, when she sees the book in stores, she doesn’t even know that it’s her.

At this moment, there sit 84 questions in my tumblr askbox. For the next month, I’m going to try to answer them.

answers to your questions about book the third

Updated: 5/11/2013

At some point I’ll write a longer post about the title change and what it means. 

Things to know:

1) there are two funerals.

2) and at least an equal number of weddings.

3) the story takes place in new york, japan, and two other significant locations that haven’t been visited before.

4) you might be angry at Anya and at me when you read the book. The book is very different from the books that preceded it. 

5) I hope you’ll leave the story asking the following questions: what does it mean to be a feminist? is Anya Balanchine a feminist? how do her childhood and her environment influence the choices she makes as an adult? why do you think she makes the choices she makes? is Anya Balanchine a good person?  (We can discuss these issues somewhere, and I promise to tell you what I think if you want to know.)

6) But I am getting ahead of myself.

7) The book comes out in September October. The title is In the Days of Death and Chocolate In the Age of Love and Chocolate,and observant readers will note that this title completes the sentence begun by the previous two book titles.

Dear Gabrielle, I am the one who made the videos about Margarettetown and I was wondering if you had any advice on where to apply for internships and things for the summer since I am nearing the end of my college career.

Thanks again for being a Margarettown enthusiast! Seriously… Do you recall when Margaret Towne says she is cursed? Well, the book that bears her name was a little bit cursed, too. At least the publication of it. So I  appreciate my Margarettown readers very, very, very much. Have you read Nicole Kraus’s The History of Love? That novel came out the same month as Margarettown but this is not why I mention it. In The History of Love, there is a story of a book that no one (except for maybe two people in the entire world) remembers called The History of LoveMargarettown is a bit like that for me. (You might like The History of Loveif you haven’t yet read it, by the way.)

Re: internships

I had an internship at the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) one summer, working in their media department. We made (or at least tried to make) a video that was to teach DOT workers how to repair potholes.

The internship was paid… It was very important to me to be paid. In retrospect, I think I was silly about that. It wasn’t like it was a ton of money anyway ($7/hour as I recall) — I might have taken a much better unpaid internship. I had turned down a perfectly good unpaid internship at the Food Network, which would have been a lot more interesting, relevant and probably fun.

I DID however learn a lot from that internship at the DOT. Mainly what I learned is that it is difficult to get anything done. Our little pothole repair video had to go through endless committees before it could be made. This process turns out to be remarkably similar to what working in film or publishing is actually like.

In terms of where to get internships? I would encourage you to ASK EVERYONE YOU KNOW. The internship at the DOT I got through a friend. The internship at the Food Network I found about through my college’s Office of Career Services.

My last word of advice. I know that internships are competitive. If you don’t end up getting one, a sneaky way to snag a backdoor internship is to take a job volunteering in a related field. I’m not sure what your field is, but if it were, say, writing or publishing, I might try offering up my services to Valencia 826 or Girls Write Now.

XO,

Gabrielle

UPDATE 6/2013

I was reading this over and I’m not sure I gave such a great answer. In the months since, I’ve read several articles talking about the way that unpaid internships (and particularly ones in the arts) amount to slave labor (and particularly for women). In any case, I think this question requires a more complex discussion than the answer I gave here.

Hey Gabrielle! I’m a huge fan of your book All These Things I’ve Done, and I saw that you’d be answering questions in le ask box this week, so here’s three: 1) How was your college experience? 2) Favorite brand of clothing? 3) Greek tragedy or detective novel?

Thanks very much!

Re: My College Experience — I have nothing terribly original to say about this matter, I suspect. I knew I wanted to be a writer before I went to college, but the truth is, college made me a writer. It exposed me to books beyond what I would have read on my own and ideas beyond what I would have thought on my own. I did not care for college much while I was in it, but that is because I was young and silly.

By the way, I was fortunate to be able to attend a fancy college though what I really believe is that a great education can be procured at many places and in many ways.

Re: Favorite brand of clothing.

I have no brand loyalty. I like what I like. I like vintage, too. That said, I am very into this season’s Valentino collection. (Sadly, I am priced out.)

Re: Greek tragedy or detective novel?

Have I been hoping someone would ask me this my entire life?

Greek tragedy because it’s the source of all story. The detective novel is a relatively young genre. (Semi-related aside: A couple of years ago, I read all of Sherlock Holmes — it’s interesting to see the ways in which Arthur Conan Doyle is the root of ALL modern police television procedurals. There would be no Law and Order or CSI without Conan Doyle.)

What is Gabrielles Zevins favorite color

Gabrielle Zevin’s favorite color is white for decorating and sheets. Her favorite color for clothes is black. Her dog is an appealing beige/yellow color, which she loves. For ink, she prefers black though occasionally buys gold or purple pens for the purpose of signing books.

Gabrielle Zevin likes speaking about herself in the third person, too. “I” is so horribly personal.

Gabrielle Zevin is going to answer some of the questions in her TUMBLR ASK BOX this week.