Susane Colasanti is the author of the upcoming YA novel, Waiting For You. It will be released on May 14. She is also the author of two other YA novels: When It Happens and Take Me There which will be released in paperback this May. You can pre-order Waiting For You here.
KBB: What inspired you to become a writer? Was there a particular person or event?
SC: I started thinking about possibly writing a book after reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I didn’t like most of the books we had to read for school, so when I was assigned that book in seventh grade it was such a sweet surprise. I was also obsessed with the movie, which I’ve seen so many times I can still recite a lot of the dialogue. The story identified feelings I never knew how to express, and I felt really connected to those characters.
Creative visualization is a powerful thing. After I read The Outsiders, I started writing a sequel. I never finished it (which was a good thing, considering how massively it sucked), but I stared imagining what it would be like to write books for teens. I wanted to help teens feel better about their lives the way that book helped me feel less alone. I held that image in my heart and never let it go. Now The Outsiders sits next to When It Happens on my bookshelf, both published by Viking. It’s an awesome example of how creating your ideal life is absolutely possible.
KBB: Did you ever consider any other careers, in case writing didn’t work out? If so, what was your next choice?
SC: I was a high school science teacher for almost ten years. I knew that being an author would be difficult, while the shortage of science teachers is a huge problem that I could help improve right after grad school. I actually knew I wanted to be a science teacher when I was 12 years old, so I wasn’t sure how writing would fit in. I just knew that my purpose in life was to help teens in some way. When I had the opportunity to be a full-time author, I was excited to take it. I resigned from teaching in 2007. I loved teaching, but now I’m able to reach more teens through my books.
What’s interesting is that you don’t have to be just one thing. You can have several different careers, or stick with one career your whole life. It all depends on what makes you happiest. If I weren’t an author, I would probably be a closet organizer. I am an organization freak. We’re talking hardcore organization skills over here. A fun time for me is cleaning out a friend’s closet and restructuring it. Seriously.
KBB: You currently write YA novels. Have you ever considered writing anything else? What would be your next choice and is there any possibility of you branching out anytime soon?
SC: Teens are my people. My life is dedicated to improving their lives. Whether that’s by a reader feeling like they can escape their problems for a while with one of my books or someone relating to my characters in a way that helps them work out their own issues, I want teens to know that they’re not alone. Being a teen was the hardest time of my life. My books are a way for me to express that we are all connected, we’ve all survived horrible experiences, and if you just hold on you will get to the good part of your life.
That said, I think writing about characters in college would be fun. I know teens would love to read about college life, so that’s a possibility down the road.
KBB: Do you have any crazy fans or any crazy fan moments?
SC: No, just awesome fans and excellent fan moments! Meeting my readers is the best part of my job. Of course I love writing books, but my readers are why I write, so getting to meet them at readings and signings rocks my world.
SC: In high school, it felt like I was always waiting for something to happen. I was waiting for a boy to fall in love with me, waiting for my real life to start, waiting for the bad times to finally come to an end. So I knew that I wanted to incorporate the sensation of endless waiting into my book. Teen time is so much different from grownup time. In teen time (at least my teen time), one minute was equivalent to approximately one year. Now that my life is the life I want to be living, time zooms by at an alarming speed.
Since all of my books involve soul mates, I knew that the one thing my main character would be waiting for the most is a boy to love. And that’s how the main plot began to take shape.
KBB: Do you have a favorite character from the book or maybe one you can really relate to?
SC: I’m all about the totally geeked out lifestyle, so I do admire Nash a lot. But I definitely can relate to the main character, Marisa, the most. We have some important things in common. Marisa thinks that all of life’s problems can be answered in a John Mayer song. I couldn’t agree more. Love her! Also, she writes on her wall, just like I did in college. With washable charcoal sticks, of course.
KBB: Are any of your characters based on people you know or are they just ideas that came to you?
SC: The characters in When It Happens are inspired by actual people. That’s because the story is based on events that took place during my senior year of high school. I love letting readers know that Tobey was inspired by a real boy because it makes them hopeful that they can find their own Tobey. Smart, sensitive, caring boys are out there! However, the characters in Waiting for You were all created without any actual person in mind, although I know them just as well as the characters in When It Happens.
KBB: How long did it take you to write Waiting for You? Is there a usual amount of time it takes you to write a book or does it vary from book to book?
SC: This book took me about a year to write. Now that I’m writing full-time, that’s basically the schedule I’m working with. I really want my readers to have at least one new book available from me every year.
KBB: How did you come up with the title? Were there any other possibilities?
SC: After I established that the waiting theme would play a big part in the book, I knew that “waiting” would be part of the title. All of my titles contain three words, so from there it was just a matter of figuring out which title would best reflect the tone of the book. I’m sure there are much better titles out there! I usually find deciding on the title to be the hardest part of the writing process. Once I had the title, I was a bit worried that the sales and marketing teams might want to change it, but thankfully they liked it, too.
The titles of my first two books were drastically changed, though. When It Happens was originally called Trust, and Take Me There was originally My Way Home. I loved My Way Home, but the powers thought it wasn’t catchy enough. Everything worked out, so I feel good about my titles.
KBB: Are you currently working on any novels or planning any? If so, can you tell us anything about them?
SC: I totally am! My fourth book is called Something Like Fate. I’m revising it now and it should be released around this time next year. Also, I’ve begun writing my fifth and sixth books. For some reason I’m kind of switching back and forth between them at the moment, but soon I’ll have to focus all of my energy on book five so I can actually finish it.
KBB: Anything else you would like to mention?
SC: I love connecting with readers! Here’s where you can virtually find me:
KBB: Thanks again Susane! I can’t wait for Waiting For You to be officially released. Readers if you would like to know anything more about Waiting For You, you can visit any of Susane’s sites or read my review here.