What kind of question would you like answered?

Q: At the party when Q goes to talk with Lacey in the bathtub, you describe her as wearing a sleeveless t-shirt. What is a sleeveless t-shirt?

I imagined one of those scoop-necked cotton tops with relatively narrow straps, I think. The pleasure of writing from Q’s perspective is that you don’t need to use particularly precise language when it comes to girl clothes, because what the hell does he know about girl clothes?

Q: In the passage where Q says, “Margo’s beauty was a kind of sealed vessel or perfection – uncracked and uncrackable,” were you intentionally making a point about the way Q views Margo?

Yeah, that was purposeful, but this is a great example of books belonging to their readers and how it doesn’t really matter whether it was purposeful.

Let’s say that I included that by accident—like, in that moment of writing, I just thought of Q thinking of Margo as a sealed vessel.

And then much later in the novel, I happened to have Q and Margo to cracked vessels, and argue that the only way light can get in and out of those vessels is via the cracks.

Let’s just imagine that’s a total coincidence and meant nothing to the author.

It can still be useful and meaningful to us, because it can still be a way into thinking about how imagining people as human (rather than uncracked and uncrackable sealed perfection) proves not only to be more accurate but ultimately a lot more fulfilling.

So that journey—from imagining the other as a sealed vessel to imagining the other as a cracked one—is kind of the journey of adolescence, the journey toward empathy. Intent is irrelevant there. The thing stands on its own. (…if it’s any good, at least.)