'Do You Love Me' author offers romantic advice

    Is your Valentine’s Day not turning out as you expected? Well then perhaps it is time you found a new game plan. Carina Chocano, a columnist for Salon.com, has released her debut book, “”Do You Love Me or Am I Just Paranoid?”” which she calls the serial monogamist’s guide to love. This hilarious book may be satirizing relationships, but more often than not, you find yourself laughing because it is so true. After all, who hasn’t obsessively waited for a phone call or scrutinized the most innocuous conversation with a crush?

    In a phone interview with the author, Chocano revealed her beginnings in writing and her inspirations:

    Guardian: How did you get into writing?

    Carina Chocano: Well I always wanted to write, but I didn’t write for my college paper. I actually turned in two movie reviews, which my editor just hated. So after I went to film school, I started writing short scripts for video games and cartoons. After a while I started freelancing for Salon.com and then I became a columnist. I only have one more column to do before I start my new job with Entertainment Weekly next month, writing about TV, books and music.

    G: What was the inspiration for “”Do You Love Me or Am I Just Paranoid?””

    CC: It was a combination of things. I wrote a couple of articles for Salon.com, like a review of really dumb dating guides that basically suggested you run your love life like a business. Then I wrote a Valentine’s Day piece about how love is and isn’t like being chased by a maurading bear. After those, Random House called me to see if I wanted to write a new dating guide, and I kind of explained that I was making fun of those kinds of books. So I started writing it as sort of a parody, but it turned into more of a description of what love and dating really can be. It is funny, because it seems like it doesn’t change that much from high school to college and beyond. I mean, “”dating”” seems to have died out, like, 40 years ago.

    G: What was your most memorable Valentine’s Day?

    CC: Oh God, well I’ve had quite a few Valentine’s Day arguements. Last year’s was a really big fight, so I guess that was memorable.

    G: Any advice for college-age daters?

    CC: I think a lot of advice people give out just makes you feel bad about what you are doing. I mean, love is what it is. It’s confusing, messy, funny, weird, bizzare. That’s just how it goes. I think what I’d say is don’t feel you are making huge mistakes because it isn’t turning out the way the Kate Hudson movie says it should.

    In her introduction, Chocano asks, “”What is love, anyway, aside from a liquor-fueled period of psychosis counteracted with a lifetime’s worth of received romantic notions and a tingling sensation in the pants?”” If you’d like to find out more about how crazy love can be, check out “”Do You Love Me or Am I Just Paranoid?”” and look for her articles in Entertainment Weekly starting next month.

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