For those of you who have been asking why the title of the third book changed

Jen:
I’m so excited (and a little sad) that In the Age of Love and Chocolate, the final book in your fantastic Birthright trilogy, is coming out in October 2013. Did the book have a title change, because I’ve also seen it listed as In the Days of Death and Chocolate.

Gabrielle: 
Thank you, and I’m so glad you like the series. The truth about the title change is that I wrote two entirely different books for the last book. The first time I wrote the book it was called In the Days of Death and Chocolate. That version was pretty deep into the publishing process when I began to have a recurring, waking dream about Anya Balanchine. I kept having this fear that I would run into her and that she was mad at me. At first I tried to ignore her, but after a while, I couldn’t. I was at a party, and I actually thought I saw her across the room! That was a Saturday. On Sunday, I called my editor and I might have cried a little bit and I asked her if I could write the book again. She said yes, and now Anya Balanchine isn’t angry with me anymore. 

Read the rest of the interview and enter to win signed hardcovers of the first two books over at YA Romantics

“Young” by Jonathan Galassi, and Other Miscellany

I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco.
I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong.
I needed, and the shame was overwhelming.
I failed, and so I hated being young.

Read more at the Paris Review, my favorite online destination for poetry. I read this poem perhaps a year ago, and I can’t stop thinking of it. I love its economy — it’s an entire, very good young adult novel in four lines. I am intrigued by the use of the word “but” in the second line, a variation from “and.” (Consider the “but,” my friends who wish to become writers.) I plan to order Galassi’s collection, Left-Handed: Poems.

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On other fronts, I finally signed the contracts that cleared the Stephen Dunn poem I’m using for the epigraph of In the Age of Love and Chocolate. Stephen Dunn is one of my favorite poets and so it was a thrill to be able to use one of his poems. You can read that poem here. (I’m only using the last eight lines, the part beginning with “Often a sweetness comes…” )

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Finally, a few answers to your questions about In the Age of Love and Chocolate, the third Anya Balanchine book. 1) There won’t be paper ARCs. I wrote the book twice (not just revised —I mean, two entirely different books with two entirely different beginnings, middles, endings, and even titles, as some of you have already noted), and it became too late for my publisher to print ARCs. 2) The correct title is In the Age of Love and Chocolate, and it publishes October 29th, 2013.

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Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have about In the Age of Love and Chocolate, as I’m planning to do a longer post about it in the next couple of weeks. For what such distinctions are worth, it is my favorite of the series. I’m getting excited for you to read it. In the meantime, here’s a tiny preview:

“It takes nothing, save a spot of courage, to kiss a pretty teenager at a high school dance. It takes nothing to say you love a person when she is perfect and her mistakes can be dealt with in a ten-minute confession.”

Finally, finally, after three and a half years on tumblr (Does anyone remember the noble failure of the Dear Writer tumblr with Carolyn Mackler? No? That would probably be because we peaked at 200 followers.), I’ve gone back to a blog. The thing I’ve found about myself and social media is that it’s best to be flexible. Try new social networks, if you want. Move onto different ones, as your mood or needs change. At this moment in my life, I’m feeling like anything that slows things down online is good. I used to think that a particular social network might be the key that turned the lock for me and being online. I am no longer invested in finding such a key. I am resigned to the fact that I am a mediocre-to-poor online presence. Please read my books anyway.

So, I’ll still be on tumblr, but if you want to talk to me, the best place to do it is here, in comments.

The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

You might find this surprising, but the series that most inspired me when I was writing the Anya Balanchine books was Anne of Green Gables.

This article by Sarah Mesle captures so much of what the Anne books meant and mean to me.

I love the quote Mesle uses at the end:

“Dear old world,” Anne murmurs, in what is to me her most important moment, “You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”