now and forever behind the scenes

Capturing the tone of a book in a book trailer is not easy. There’s a lot to think about – casting, locations, music, editing. I wanted the Now and Forever trailer to capture both the dreamy romance of falling in love and the exhilaration of rising fame. Which is why, when my BF/soul mate said he’d write and direct the trailer, I was all over that.


The first step was to find actors who would bring Sterling and Ethan to life. I was thrilled when Lily Zahn and Ben Bowers responded.

Lily Zahn

 

 

 

Ben Bowers

Lily is freaking adorable. As soon as I saw her reel, I knew she had the talent, depth, and right look to play Sterling. Ben showed up looking like a total rock star. Dude, he is an Abercrombie model. Ben submitted this ad he did with his resume and I was like, Um, yeah, you might want to work on your abs more? But other than that…

This past winter was so cold that we had to wait forever until it was warm enough to shoot. Finally the trees were flowering and we were good to go. Our shoot was a full day with four locations in downtown Manhattan, including my apartment. Ben brought the world’s biggest rock star to life right in my living room:

Ben Bowers, Now and Forever book trailer

My red couch will never be the same. Especially after the hot makeout scenes:

Ben Bowers and Lily Zahn, Now and Forever book trailer

What’s it like to show up for a job and kiss someone you just met (while dealing with horrible allergies and getting locked in a diner’s bathroom)? Lily shared some reflections from the shoot:

It’s somewhat rare when filming that we would get to have the writer (in this case, author) on set. Since the book hadn’t been released yet, it was so helpful to have Susane there guiding us to bring her characters to life. It was also really comforting to know that Susane had handpicked us for the task. Sterling’s specific experience is pretty incredible – I’ve never dated a guy who became a world-famous rock star (…yet). But in playing her, I keyed in to what I could relate to about her story, which is being young and in love and having to realize that things change as life takes each person in a different direction.

Oh gosh, I had the worst allergies the day we shot the trailer. It was April and everything was starting to bloom. Probably the biggest challenge of the day was to not let feeling under the weather impact my performance. After all, Sterling wasn’t feeling sick! In that case, all you can really do bring is some Zyrtec and power through – keep the energy up, try to enjoy the experience, and ignore that stuffy nose and headache.

As an actor on set, one of the weirdest things we do is form an “insta-relationship” with a co-star. In a play, I usually have weeks of rehearsal to get to know someone and build a rapport. When I’m called in for a one day shoot, I may show up on set, shake hands, and start making out. No matter how you slice it, it sounds pretty weird. But I think we all know it’s part of the job and when you have someone nice and hygienic (and let’s face it, not bad on the eyes), it’s generally fine… and even a little fun. But it’s also pretty technical; you might get directions like, “put your hand here,” “smile earlier,” or “no tongue.” Once that first kiss is out of the way, it’s sort of business as usual (how many jobs can you say that about?).

Oh! Kissing schmissing. I have the most awkward story of the day. On our lunch break, I got locked in the restaurant’s restroom. Literally, the lock jammed and I could not get it off. I had a bigger emotional journey in those 10 minutes than I did the whole day of the shoot. I went through annoyance at the faulty lock, panic that I’d delay the shooting schedule, embarrassment at what everyone must think I’m doing in the bathroom, laughter at the absurdity of the situation, and finally determination to unjam that lock with brute strength (which I did… eventually, thank you very much). I flung out of the bathroom, took a deep breath and returned to our table. Show must go on, right? Even with the allergy attack and bathroom debacle, it was such a great day. I wish all jobs could be that fun and relaxed (and on schedule!) Susane and Matt brought such a positive energy that it really made my job easy and enjoyable.

Lily and Ben were amazing to work with. And I was happy that they had fun with each other. They made the relationship between Sterling and Ethan adorable and relatable.

Lily Zahn and Ben Bowers, Now and Forever book trailer

Thanks for all of your kind comments about the trailer, friendly neighbors. Here’s to bringing books to life!

Lily Zahn, Susane Colasanti, and Ben Bowers

twitter chat

Want to talk summer romance with me, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Jessa Holbrook, and Una LaMarche? Then join us tomorrow, July 1, 7:00-8:00pm EST for a #SummerRomance Twitter chat!

Summer Romance Twitter ChatTweet your questions to us with #SummerRomance. One winner will be randomly selected to receive this summer romance book prize pack from Penguin Teen.

Happy summer reading!

top ten

Happy summer solstice week, friendly neighbors! Summer officially begins this Saturday, June 21, at 6:51am EST. Bring on those summer nights.

I have a bunch of notes about stuff I want to share with you. As the bunch has gotten a bit out of control, I decided that a top ten list of the most important notes was in order. So here you go…

1. Which movie boy character is more adorable than Lloyd Dobler? That is a trick question. No one is more adorable than Lloyd Dobler. Who else would kick broken glass out of the way for Diane Court?

Say Anything… turned 25 this year. Respect. Enjoy these 15 Life Lessons from Lloyd Dobler.

2. Stay Bookish is doing a giveaway of a signed copy of Now and Forever. Plus they look at the Now and Forever playlist with a Story Soundtrack. You can listen to the complete Now and Forever playlist on Spotify.

3. Am I giving away books too? Of course I am. You can enter my Seventh Annual Ginormous Contest to win FOUR signed copies of my books! Show me your musical creativity in the form of a video, performance, fan art, original sound…however you want to express your musical brilliance!

4. In other book news, The LAMP is auctioning off a complete set of my first edition signed hardcover books to benefit their Media Breaker project. The LAMP brings media literacy training to students, parents, and teachers, encouraging everyone to perceive media messages in thoughtful, intelligent ways. Media Breaker allows you to remix and criticize commercials, news, music videos and more. As my good friend and co-founder DC says, Media Breaker is inspiring hundreds of little Jon Stewarts. What’s not to love about that?

5. This.

Crumbs Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes

6. PRN radio interviewed me about Now and Forever, why my main motto is Dream Big, and how my personal love life influences my books. You can listen to the podcast here, starting at 32:55.

7. Fun fact time for my fellow NYC trivia geeks. You know those orange discs on top of street lights? They are photo cells that turn the street light on and off. What about those orange bulbs on the side of some street light poles? They are vestiges of New York’s fire-box era, indicating that an emergency box to call the fire department is nearby.

New York City street light

I don’t know about you, but I feel way better that this mystery has finally been solved.

8. Skeptical about whether true love exists? I can tell you from personal experience that it does. Which is why I write book after book about soul mates. I want my readers to know that the kind of love they want exists. But don’t just take my word for it. The Lovumentary has collected the most epic love stories all across the country. Read them and be inspired.

9. I’m more of a scrapbooking than a quilting person, but this quilt freaking rules.

The City Quilter epic food quilt

A quilt featuring cupcakes and strawberries? Is my kind of quilt.

10. I am definitely in the running to set a world record for playing Happy on mental repeat. That song is my summer jam. Every time it comes on, no matter where I am, I get super happy. Even when I ordered oatmeal at brunch to try it because I don’t like oatmeal but I feel like I should so I wanted to give it another try even though I knew I probably wouldn’t like it.

Susane Colasanti. Happy.

Did I suddenly like oatmeal? No. Was I regretting my choice of oatmeal instead of fruit salad? Yes. You all know how obsessed I am with summer fruit. But it wasn’t a consuming regret. Trying new things (or giving old things another try) is important. Even if it’s oatmeal that doesn’t taste any better after putting cinnamon and honey on it. As a Taurus, I tend to be a bit, um, inflexible about my opinions. I know what I like. I know what I don’t like. But I also know that change is key. Change is what makes our lives better than we ever imagined. Change is why Diane Court let Lloyd Dobler push that broken glass out of her way. And why she let him fly away with her.

Here’s to a spectacular summer filled with happy sounds, true love, and positive change :)

seventh annual ginormous contest

TGIM, friendly neighbors! I have some good news for you. My author copies of Now and Forever plus paperbacks of All I Need are in the house. You know what that means.

The Seventh Annual Ginormous Contest is on! And it’s international!

Susane Colasanti with Now and Forever and All I Need

This one’s all about the music. For the Sixth Annual Ginormous Contest last year, you guys dazzled me with your beautiful summer collages. The collage idea was inspired by Seth Katims from All I Need. Seth is an artist who makes collages from repurposed and found objects. Since Now and Forever is about the world’s biggest rock star, Ethan Cross is inspiring the musical theme this year.

Show me your musical creativity and you’re in. What do I mean by musical creativity? Fan art, original lyrics, musical composition or mixing, artwork, video, or performance. Just express your love of music in whatever way works best for you. Let your musical obsession shine! I want to be dazzled by your musical brilliance! And what can you win in return?

Now and Forever and All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Dude. First prize is FOUR signed books! How ginormous is that?

Here’s the breakdown of prizes:

First prize is a signed hardcover of Now and Forever, a signed paperback of All I Need, a signed paperback of Keep Holding On, a signed paperback of So Much Closer, and a Now and Forever guitar pick bookmark.

Second prize is a signed hardcover of Now and Forever, a signed paperback of All I Need, a signed paperback of Keep Holding On, and a Now and Forever guitar pick bookmark.

Third prize is a signed hardcover of Now and Forever, a signed paperback of All I Need, and a Now and Forever guitar pick bookmark.

How to enter the contest:

1. Create fan art, original lyrics or a tribute to existing lyrics, musical composition or mixing, artwork, video, a song or dance performance, or any other form of expressing your musical creativity. Let your musical obsession shine!

2. Email your entry in the form of an attachment or link to me at susanecolasanti at gmail. Include your full name and mailing address with your entry.

3. Entries must be received by Sunday, June 22 at 11:11 pm.

Shine on, you rock stars. Shine on :)

…but totally stalking b.j. novak

Okay, I refrained from stalking Jason Segel at BEA. As a major fan of Freaks and Geeks and How I Met Your Mother, of course I can’t wait for our paths to cross. But I will have patience. No doubt we will meet one day.

Those of you who know anything about me know that The Office is my show. I’ve binged watched those eps so many times I can’t even tell you. My collection of Office paraphernalia is huge. And The Office is the only show that has its own tag here on my blog.

So was I stoked to meet B.J. Novak at BEA when he was signing his new children’s book, The Book With No Pictures?

Susane Colasanti and B.J. Novak, BEA 2014

Dude. There are no words.

When it comes to my fave people in the world, I am not above using perks. Fortunately B.J. and I have the same publisher. I was allowed to go behind the table to document with him. Which, by the way, did you notice how he’s all snuggled up against me? How cute is that?

BEA has now been elevated to a whole new level of awesome.

Going to BookCon at BEA tomorrow? I’ll be signing at the Penguin Truck at 11:30am :)

not stalking jason segel

As a hardcore How I Met Your Mother fan, I was thrilled to discover that both Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris will be at BEA this year. I will try not to stalk Jason Segel. But I won’t try too hard. Because like, what, I’m not supposed to stalk Jason Segel? How does that make sense?

Jason Segel

Good thing I’m signing this Saturday. That will sort of keep me in professional mode. Those of you at BEA can find me here:

May 31, 2014 – 11:30 am
BEA book signing at the Penguin Truck
Javits Center
655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
212.216.2000

Now and Forever came out last week. Like all book release weeks, it was a whirlwind of excitement and adventure and a crazy schedule. One of the highlights was definitely my launch party. The party was at this cute gift shop in the West Village called KADOnyc. The owner, Rick, was so sweet about everything. He even set up this cute yellow bench where everyone sat next to me while I signed their book. How cute was that? And how cute was my friend Careen for being just as excited about the cute yellow bench as I was?

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti launch party

Along with more good friends, some literary rock stars were in the house. You know you’re grown and sexy when David Levithan asks you to sign a book.

David Levithan and Susane Colasanti

And of course there was cake. A major incentive for writing eight books? Was so I could have this cake:

Teen novels by Susane Colasanti

Thanks to everyone who supported Now and Forever. Whether you’ve already read it (and found that One Tree Hill reference some of you have tweeted about) or watched the official trailer that’s so hot your screen might burst into flames, I really appreciate your positive energy. You freaking you.

Next up? More events in the NJ/NY area! The Now and Forever tour continues with:

June 3, 2014 – 6:30 pm
Beach Bag Book Club
Merrick Library
2279 Merrick Avenue
Merrick, NY 11566
516.377.6112

June 10, 2014 – 7:00 pm
Summer Lovin panel
Barnes & Noble
765 Route 17 South
Paramus, NJ 07652
201.445.4589

June 26, 2014 – 5:00 pm
Summer Lovin panel
Barnes & Noble
2289 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
212.362.8835

As June is making its much anticipated entrance this Sunday, summer reading has officially begun. I’m starting my teen novel binge with these jems by Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell, and Andrew Smith:

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Happy summer reading, everyone! Hope to see you soon :)

now and forever pub day!

Yay yay YAY for pub day! Now and Forever is on sale today!

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

Thanks for all of your sweet feedback on the Now and Forever trailer! I love it so much that I’m giving away signed copies of Now and Forever to everyone who spreads the trailer love on Twitter. Here’s how to enter the giveaway. And in case you missed the billboard I rented about the trailer, here you go:


The Now and Forever synopsis, reviews, playlist with Spotify link, and excerpts can be found here.

My book tour kicks off this week in New York City and New Jersey, with Connecticut and Long Island coming up. Here’s where you can find me.

Did you miss my Twitter chat last night? No worries. Good Books and Good Wine has you covered with this awesome recap.

You might also want to check out this Cover Stories interview about the cover of Now and Forever, with a book giveaway bonus. I fangirled all over these books I wish I’d written at Adventures in YA Publishing. And YA Interrobang interviewed me about why I write, the importance of loving yourself, and being forever 16.

Want a signed copy of Now and Forever, but won’t be able to see me on tour? Books of Wonder is giving away swaggy guitar pick charms with every book order. That’s hot.

As always, I cannot thank you enough for all of your support and excitement. You are why I write. Shine on, rock stars.