ten years

Ten years ago this summer, I took a massive career risk when I left teaching to become a full-time author.

I only had one book out at the time, with absolutely no idea if my future books would sell, or how many books I would have published. But I refused to let fear prevent me from creating my dream bigger life. Failure was not an option.

And now today, because of you, we have all of this.

Ten years of books by Susane Colasanti

THANK YOU. Thank you for making this life possible. None of this would be possible without my readers, the most dedicated, passionate, caring readers in the world. You are why I write. You are why I keep hope alive every single day.

Whatever your big dream is, don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way from bringing it to life. Never, ever, ever give up.

Much love.

xoxo-
Susane

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lost in love is out today!

TODAY IS FINALLY HERE. Lost in Love is out now!!!

Lost in Love by Susane Colasanti

This is a major full-circle moment for me. With Lost in Love out today, I am celebrating 10 books in 10 years…to the day my first book came out. I cannot believe it’s been 10 years since When It Happens.

Please help me celebrate this epic full-circle moment by ordering a shiny new copy of Lost in Love for yourself (you deserve it!) or the love story fangirl in your life. Lost in Love is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or your bookseller of choice.

Need to catch up on the first book of the City Love trilogy? Today is your day! City Love is also out today in paperback. The cover stayed the same, but with a small tweak to the tagline.

City Love by Susane Colasanti paperback

You can always stay updated on my latest book news on my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter right on the homepage. Here’s the Lost in Love launch newsletter, in case you missed it. Which, um, pretty much has all the news I just posted here 🙂

Thanks for all of your support over the past 10 years, friendly neighbors. You are why I write.

Susane Colasanti at YALLWest 2016

Much love xoxo

top five, happy springtime edition

Today is the 5th day of spring and flowering trees are already in bloom here in New York. Flowers on trees make me happy. And birds are chirping and it’s not freezing and just YAY. All of this springtime glee makes me want to share some things with you that will hopefully make you smile.

1. First off, I have to give a shout-out to my girl Ronni. Ronni is a longtime reader, aspiring author, and has been coming to my Chicago events for years. So when she told me that she would be in New York for the NYC Teen Author Festival this year, I was psyched for another reunion…local this time. Look how Ronni got the outfit memo I didn’t even send. BOOM.

Ronni and Susane, photo by Wanda Lotus

You know someone is a rising star when they travel with their own super profesh photographer. The remarkable Wanda Lotus took this happy photo of us at the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble. You can admire Wanda’s photography at Lotusland Fine Art.

2. Who else did I get to chill with at the big Reader’s Theater event? Oh, I don’t know. Only Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, a book I completely worship in a godlike way. You can read some of my Everything, Everything fangirling here. Nicola and I share a love for all things Little Prince. So when she rolled in wearing a Little Prince tee (which I believe is this Out of Print one), it just made me love her even more. And don’t even get me started on her Kate Spade typewriter bag. Could this girl be any cuter?

I was freaking out before the event (and decided to capture my freakout live on my Facebook) because we were acting out each other’s books and I was playing Maddy from Everything, Everything. And David Levithan was playing Olly. I KNOW. Not too much pressure or anything. David and I were joking in rehearsals about him doing Olly’s handstand for real. Then he actually went for it! Of course I spotted him cat quick.

David Levithan and Susane Colasanti acting out Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

All of the authors were hilarious. I really liked meeting multi-talented debut author Jeff Zentner.

Jeff Zentner and Susane Colasanti

The Serpent King has so many starred reviews it is pretty much its own galaxy. Snaps for Jeff on his stellar achievement!

3. Events are my fave part of author life because that’s where I get to meet my readers. You guys are why I write. Having the opportunity to meet you in person means so much to me. So yay for book events and all of you who come out for them!

On the other side of author life, the side where I exist most days, I am by myself writing in my home office.

Susane Colasanti's home office

I think it’s important to surround yourself with a creative space that inspires joy. Even if you are not working in a creative field. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things that spark joy and inspire positive energy will help you create your dream life. Finally being able to have the kind of home office I had envisioned was probably the most exciting part of buying and renovating my apartment four years ago. You can see how this office space was constructed here. Since then I’ve added more pieces to my desk, found the sweetest lamp for that corner, and snagged a violet window settee with the perfect dimensions. Curating your ideal creative space is a process. But the cool thing is, you can start right now by simply organizing and letting go of clutter. Then when you find your sweetest lamp, it will feel right at home.

4. This New York Times interactive article: 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going.

5. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Coldplay. I mean, they have been one of my fave bands for years. Coldplay was even acknowledged in When It Happens. But now I’m listening in a different way. The new book I am just beginning to work on is different in some major aspects that are challenging me as a writer, challenges that I felt the need to bring on. I don’t know, it’s like this music I have loved for years that has helped me so many times in countless ways is now inspiring me to take things to the next level.

You guys know that I obsess over The Office something fierce to the point where I could create an entire 5,000-card trivia game from memory. So when I found this video of Jim and Pam’s history set to Sparks, I freaked the eff out.

Enjoy those nostalgic Jam feels.

Enjoy surrounding yourself with a creative space.

Enjoy the spring. ❤

top five, feeling the love edition

1. Thank you for all of your congratulations on my engagement! I appreciated every kind comment you made on social SO much. Now it’s my turn to congratulate someone on her engagement…my good friend Linden. When good friends get engaged right around the same time? That’s the Universe bringing lots of positive energy full-circle.

Susane and Linden, former single ladies

2. I cannot stop thinking about Taylor Swift’s Grammy acceptance speech. Her message for all the girls following their hearts and believing in their dreams? Was incredibly on point. I am in awe of her poise, eloquence, and confidence. When I was 26, I was a hot mess. Yeah, I was a new teacher who absolutely loved what I was doing professionally, but in my personal life I was settling for a relationship that was less than what I wanted in lots of ways. I was insecure and worried that I would never find true love. That I didn’t deserve true love. It took me the rest of my 20s to learn the love lessons that I live by now. And I am always learning more. But Taylor Swift? That girl came into this world knowing. Snaps for TS! Not only for her badass speech, but for rocking an ensemble that very few of us could pull off.

Taylor Swift at the 2016 Grammy Awards

3. One of my fave things about being an author is the relationships I’ve built with bloggers, librarians, and other book enthusiasts over the years. If you are in the bookstagram community, you know Erica at The Book Cellar. Erica has been reading my books since day one, and I am incredibly honored that she featured Lost in Love with some of her reflections from over the years. Although the final of my 15 Lost in Love advance copy giveaways was just posted on my Insta (there are still a few hours left to enter!), you have another chance to win one with Erica. Plus chances to win lots more books! Check out the Lost in Love feature at The Book Cellar with an interview and giveaways.

4. Another thing about Instagram? That’s how I found out about the Russian edition of When It Happens. A Russian reader posted the book and tagged me. This happens sometimes with foreign editions. A contract to publish a foreign edition is signed, but the author doesn’t always know when that edition is published. See, this is another reason why my readers freaking rule! The title of the Russian edition is When Love Comes. And the cover def brings those feels.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, Russian edition

5. Are you in Santa Monica, Las Vegas, or New York City? Or at least close by? Then maybe I’ll see you at an upcoming event in March or April! I will be doing two events with the NYC Teen Author Festival on March 18 & 20, a bunch of stuff at the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas April 14-16, and I am stoked for YALLWest in Santa Monica April 30-May 1. And dude, May 1 is my birthday. Party in Santa Monica, whaaaat! More events will be added as we get closer to the May 3 Lost in Love release date. You can always find my upcoming events on the events page of my website.

Stay warm, friendly neighbors ❤

bright colors, big city

February greetings, friendly neighbors! January pretty much zoomed by in like three seconds. I think it was a combination of being on deadline with my new book and…no, that was it. Writing the final City Love trilogy book was not easy. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to my girls. But now I am already starting my next book – which will be the 12th – and I am excited for this new beginning in a way I haven’t been before. The City Love trilogy is the only series I’ve written, and it has sort of become a diving line between my previous novels and what is to come. No worries, I will still be writing realistic teen love stories! There is just a bright new energy in the air here at the home office in New York City.

Authors can’t always rely on a set schedule year to year. Every time we sign a new book contract, we are agreeing to a new delivery deadline for the manuscript and tentative publication date. This is why I have been extremely fortunate that for the past ten years, my new book has always been due on February 1, and every book has been released in May (except for City Love, which came out last April). Being on the same schedule every year works well for organization freaks like me.

When I submit a new manuscript, it is actually my third draft, not a first draft. Writing a first draft is the most difficult part of the process for me. Facing the blank page can be terrifying. But the key is to dive into writing a new book without fear. Let the words flow. Let them glide you down meandering streams, race you through steep valleys, and arrive at an aqua sea glittering in the sunshine…which is how I feel when I print out that first draft. The manuscript still needs tons of work, but at least I have something on paper to work with. I like to do my second draft on the hard copy, then the third draft back on the screen. But that’s just how I work. Every writer works differently. The important thing is to find what works best for you, and then work it and own it.

Speaking of diving in…have you read This Raging Light by Estelle Laure?

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

 

How gorgeous is this cover? The second I saw it I wanted to dive right into its painted paper. And I don’t even know how to swim. This beautiful design is a perfect reflection of the beauty of Estelle Laure’s writing. I was riveted the whole time. You know those books that are so good you stay up reading until four in the morning, your eyes burning out of your head, knowing you will pay the next day but not caring? Oh yeah. This Raging Light takes you places. I cannot wait for the sequel, These Mighty Forces, coming next January. Snaps to Estelle for her extraordinary debut!

Speaking of debuts…it’s kind of blowing my mind that my first novel, When It Happens, came out 10 years ago. And get this. My new book, Lost in Love, will be released 10 years to the day of When It Happens on May 3, 2016.

You know how I love a good non-coincidence.

So what will this next stage of my career bring? Too early to say. All I know is that I am excited to dive into writing a new book and let the energy of New York City keep inspiring me every day. This energy makes me feel alive. See, my city love isn’t about a boy. It’s about this place I knew in my heart was my true home way before I got here 20 years ago. It’s about visualizing my dream life and taking steps every day towards making that dream reality. And, as always, remaining dedicated to writing books that hopefully make you feel less alone. You are why I write. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Here’s to those magic changes ❤

david letterman is why i’m here

It all started with a pencil.

Twelve was an extremely difficult age for me, but it was also an age when I figured a lot of stuff out. I knew I wanted to be a science teacher when I was 12. I knew my purpose in life as a grownup would be to help teens in any way I could. And I knew that I didn’t belong in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey, in a small town at a school where I was bullied every day for being an outsider. My true home was out there somewhere. Not stuck in the middle of the woods, completely isolated and feeling so alone. I was determined to find the place where I truly belonged.

I stayed with my grandparents most summers of my teen life. The summer I was 12, I was staying up late watching The Tonight Show with Gram. Gram understood that I was a night person. After Johnny Carson said goodnight, a show called Late Night with David Letterman came on. I asked Gram who David Letterman was. She said, “He’s kind of like Johnny, but wackier.” Anyone who was wacky, zany, dorktastic, a hardcore nerd, or proud to be original in their own quirky way was a winner in my book. So I kept watching. Dave threw a pencil at the camera. He made weird faces. He threw a pencil at the window behind him with a sound effect of glass shattering.

David Letterman instantly became my hero.

I obsessed over Late Night that whole first summer, learning Dave’s tricks and idiosyncrasies. Connecting to things he said in a way that made it clear he was my people, and gave me hope that more of my people were out there. The energy of New York City was palpable. It was an energy that radiated from the screen, an energy that made me feel alive. New York City was clearly my destiny. It was my true home. It was the place where everything that made me different would make me shine. The New York City energy Dave showed me was a drug that kept me going all through high school as I carried hope in my heart that one day I would live there. I looked forward to the time when I could be free to be the best version of myself. As a reminder, I put a Late Night tee on my koala bear Chez, who is featured in When It Happens in the same tee. Chez is an attention hog who has photo bombed several book giveaway pics over the years:

Chez with Susane Colasanti books

I taped Dave’s show every night. The first thing I did when I got home from school was get my Late Night notebook, rewind the tape, and watch Dave show me more of what I had to look forward to. For the length of his show, I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I was in on the joke. I was one with Dave’s community. I wrote down the title of every Top Ten list, every description of “And now, a man who…”, and lines that made me laugh. One was, “I’ll give you 500 dollars if you let me take my teeth out.” I don’t know why that line resonated with me. Probably just because it was so weird. I wrote it on the top of an algebra quiz in 8th grade because my 8th grade algebra teacher seemed like the kind of dude who would watch Dave. Dave’s lines became like this secret language I could use with certain grownups to make me feel included in something. But my teacher didn’t get it. He gave the quiz to a guidance counselor who called me into her office and asked if I was okay.

Of course I wasn’t okay. I was miserable. But every day was one day closer to living in New York City. One day closer to when I could create a happy life for myself and start turning my big dreams into reality. And that made surviving worth it. When I say that David Letterman is why I’m here, I don’t just mean here in New York City. I mean here. Along with the books that saved me, he helped me survive the worst time of my life. He showed me a reason to keep holding on.

When I was fourteen, I sent a postcard in for Late Night tickets. They said it would take like a year to get your tickets. The first tickets I received were for April 24, 1989, one week before my 16th birthday:

Late Night and Late Show with David Letterman tickets

As you can see from these Late Night tickets (which are so vinatge that the NBC building wasn’t called 30 Rock, or even the GE Building, but the RCA Building) , anyone under the age of 16 would not be admitted. But there was no way I wasn’t getting in. Fortunately this was back in the day when ID wasn’t checked. They let me and my friend in and it was a completely overwhelming experience that made me even more determined to live in New York City.

I became obsessed with New York. The opener of Late Night started by zooming in across the water to the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers became a symbol of hope for me and the focus of every sketch, painting, clay impression, collage, and photographic paper etching I made in art class. I would go to the library at lunch and research New York, learn its buildings and streets, draw maps of the Village. Also in that Late Night opener was a part where the camera zooms through Old Town Bar. Of course I now live on the same street as Old Town Bar. Love that full-circle non-coincidence.

My inspiration for writing So Much Closer came straight from all of this. So Much Closer is the story of Brooke, a Jersey girl who dreams of living in New York City and finally has a chance to move there. This is why I acknowledged Dave in So Much Closer. Brooke wears the same Late Night tee Chez does and nails a Letterman question at trivia night. My publicist sent Dave’s personal assistant a copy of the book. She also included a letter from me in which I thanked Dave for changing my life and making the world a better, smarter, kinder place. See that Late Show ticket from May 4, 2015? Dave’s assistant remembered me from So Much Closer and was super generous in giving me tickets for his final month of shows. I was nervous about picking which day I wanted because it was impossible to know who would be on. But it turns out that I picked the best possible date. Because who was Dave’s guest on May 4?

President Barack Obama and David Letterman, May 4, 2015

Oh, you know. Just President Barack Obama. The Universe was totally on my side.

One of the things I respected most about Dave is his passion for improving public understanding of science, particularly with respect to global warming and environmental preservation. Dave had on physicists, environmentalists, and climatologists in an effort to help his viewers understand the detrimental effects we are having on our planet and how we can all be a part of the solution. Dave even had on my old boss from NASA, Dr. James Hansen, who was rocking the same Birkenstocks he always wore to work. But that’s what was cool about Dave’s show. It wasn’t about glitzy appearances and superficial interviews. It was about the heart and soul of us. It was about the truth, and innovation, and making a difference. David Letterman made this world a better place. And I know he will continue to do so, whichever path he chooses to take next.

This is how a guy as weird as I was showed me where I belonged. By dropping watermelon off the roof, crushing car doors in a 90-ton hydraulic press, with “I be hypnotized” and asking what else Just Bulbs has and rocking those Adidas with blue on the back and whipping all of those pencils at the camera. David Letterman showed me that it is okay to be exactly who you are. More than okay, actually. He showed me that by being exactly who you are, you can inspire more people than you’d ever dreamed and help others in ways you can’t even imagine.

Thirty years ago I was a 12-year-old outsider searching for my true home. David Letterman showed me that New York City was my destiny. Thanks for showing this lost girl where she belonged, Dave. Thanks for helping me survive the worst time of my life. And thanks for showing all the outsiders that they are not alone ❤