James Franco visits Kepler's

Amanda Carlsson, Author

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Palo Alto High School alumnus James Franco held a book signing on Monday, May 13 at Kepler’s Book Store in Menlo Park; he was joined by his mother Betsy Franco, also a well known author.

A California childhood is the latest boo released by James Franco featuring pictures, stories and poems about his childhood in Palo Alto. Photo by Insight Editions LLC

“A California Childhood” is the latest book released by James Franco featuring pictures, stories and poems about his childhood in Palo Alto. Photo by Insight Editions LLC.

James Franco’s book “A California Childhood” is a collection of poems, pictures, short stories and drawings from his upbringing in Palo Alto.

“I grew up in the best city in the world,” James Franco said.  “There’s a mix of fiction and nonfiction, but all the stories were inspired from the same time period.”

The event featured a question and answer session led by Betsy Franco. The discussion covered a multitude of topics, including why James Franco decided to format his book the way he did.

“I see it as a kaleidoscope of work with a single light source shining through it,” James Franco said. “At first I wanted to keep parts of my life separated but when I started to mix different medias it worked. It turned out great.”

James Franco additionally addressed his 2011 book “Palo Alto,” a collection of fictional short stories about Palo Alto, admitting that at first he did not want his mother to read it because some of the writing was inspired by real events.

“I didn’t let you read it for a long time,” James Franco said. “Eventually I realized that I couldn’t keep it away from you forever. I gave up.”

James Franco confessed that having his mother ask the questions was a bit discomforting but also a chance to tease her.

“I give long answers so I don’t have to answer as many,” James Franco said.

When asked how his upbringing affected his writing he had a lot to thank his mother for who is a children’s and young adult author.

“You were an author and I remember you would run ideas by me and [older brother] Tom, even before [younger brother] Davey was around,” James Franco said.

The question and answer session lasted for an hour in front of a sold out crowd followed by the book signing.

“I won’t leave till everyone gets their book signed,” James Franco said.