Is Rainbow your real name?
No, seriously -- is that on your birth certificate?
What are the three words at the end of Eleanor & Park?
Smell. You. Later.
Will you write an Eleanor & Park sequel?
I'm not sure. I always thought I would -- I almost started it as soon as I finished Eleanor & Park. And now I sort of wish that I had. The success of the book has made the prospect of writing a sequel really intimidating. I'd hate to disappoint readers who really love the characters. (I don't want to Jar-Jar Binks myself!) And I know I'd disappoint somebody! It would be impossible to write a sequel that lives up to everyone's hopes and imaginations.
Will you write a Fangirl sequel?
I don't think so. Cath and Levi make an important cameo in my book Landline. And I've written a spin-off book about Simon Snow -- Carry On.
What are the three words?!
Get. A. Job.
Is it true that Eleanor & Park is a banned book?
Yes, this book has been challenged in various school districts since it was published in 2013. If Eleanor & Park is being challenged in your school, you can get help and resources from the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Will any of your books be made into movies?
I would love for that to happen. I’m currently working on an adaptation of Eleanor & Park with PICTURESTART and Plan B. Fingers crossed!
Did Cath kill Baz at the end of Fangirl?
NO. NEVER. NO ONE CAN KILL BAZ.
Cath finished her paper for class. And she finished her fic, after the last Gemma Leslie novel came out. But she did NOT kill Baz. BAZ LIVES.
What is Levi's last name in Fangirl?
Levi's last name originally wasn't mentioned in the book, but so many people have asked that I decided to name him. IT'S STEWART. LEVI STEWART. Like the other Fangirl characters, he's named after a building on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. (Cather, Abel, Piper, Avery ...)
Why does Park have a Korean family name as a first name?
My backstory for Park's name was that "Park" is his mom's family name, and that his parents thought it would be nice for him to have both their names, “Park” and “Sheridan.” This is fairly common in American families -- to use the mom's maiden name as the kid's first or middle name. (It's a tradition in my family.) I was also thinking about how in lots of families, the oldest kid has a more unusual name. (Like "Rainbow.") And then the parents decide to play it safer with younger kids. (My brother is literally named "Jerry.")
What happened to Eleanor's family? What about her cat?
Eleanor's mom and siblings all moved to Minnesota. This is implied when Park notices that all signs of the kids are gone, even though Richie is still there. Of course, they took the cat. He's very happy in Saint Paul and lives an unusually long life for a cat. .
WHAT ARE THE THREE WORDS?????????????????
Okay, look. I haven't even told my mom the three words. But let's talk about this for a few minutes . . .
I always knew, when I started Eleanor & Park, what the last line would be. I knew Eleanor was going to send Park a postcard, and that it would be “just three words long.”
And I knew that readers would assume those three words were “I love you.” I want readers to assume that. It’s the obvious answer – and it’s a happy answer. Wouldn’t it be lovely if Eleanor finally said, “I love you”?
But I can’t bring myself to confirm that interpretation. Or to say anything conclusive about the postcard – beyond that I think Eleanor wrote something hopeful. Park responds hopefully. He sits up, he smiles, he feels like something with wings take off from his chest. That sounds like hope to me.
It drives people crazy when I talk like this: as if the characters have minds of their own, and I’m just interpreting their actions based on what I’ve read. I created Eleanor and Park! I should be able to tell you, concretely, what it is says on the postcard.
But there’s something about that moment between them . . .
It’s the end of the book, and we’re getting ready to leave the characters. Their story is about to become their own again. (If you imagine that characters keep on living after you close a book; I do.) So we’re backing away from them, and they’re having an intimate moment. And it just feels wrong to read their mail.
I know! It’s crazy for me to say that! We’ve been in their heads for 300 pages, and it’s a postcard – everyone at the post office probably read it. But in that moment, as the author, it didn’t feel right to read it, or to share it.
The important thing to know about that postcard is that Eleanor sent it. She worked through all her fear and anxiety and insecurity, and she reached out to Park. She sent him something that made him smile and feel wings fluttering in his chest.
Readers often ask me – after they’ve asked about the three words – why I decided to end the book this way. Why couldn’t I give Park and Eleanor a happy ending?
I think I did give them a happy ending.
I mean, I know it’s not really an ending; there aren’t wedding bells and sunsets. This isn’t the end for these two people. It’s just where we leave them.
But they’re 17 years old.
And I don’t believe that 17-year-olds get happy endings. They get beginnings.
How can I contact you?
I'm sorry. I'm terrible at keeping up with email. The best way to contact me is on Twitter. I reply when I can -- and I try to read every tweet.
For media, interview, events, and appearances requests, contact:
St. Martin’s Press Publicity
My literary agent is Christopher Schelling at Selectric Artists. He is heartless and cold, so please only contact him with professional inquiries.
I still have questions! I'm writing a paper! I beg you!
If you're looking for more information about me and my books, I heartily recommend the following news stories and interviews. I talk a lot about my writing process, books, fandom, music -- all sorts of good stuff: