Susane Colasanti, author of this month's Book of the Month Waiting for You, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me about writing, reading, and books. Click here to learn more about Waiting for You.
Do you plan out the entire story before beginning writing?
Before I start writing a new book, I always establish a chapter outline. This doesn’t mean that every single chapter is initially accounted for, though. I have to know what the story’s main plot is going to be about. It’s also good to have an idea of how the last chapter will look, although this can change. As I’m writing, my chapter outline goes through a lot of changes. My characters reveal things about themselves that I didn’t know before. Sometimes they take over entire scenes, doing and saying things I never saw coming. It’s always fun when that happens. I also have a separate notebook for each book where I record details I don’t want to forget, but that are not ready to be included in the outline. These notebooks are where I write everything I know about my characters, adding to their descriptions as I discover more about them through the writing process. So while I always start a book with a strong idea about where the story is going, my outline is more of a general guide than a strict roadmap.
Is it difficult to write from a male point of view, like you did in your first two books?
Not really. Fundamentally, boys and girls want the same things in life: to be happy and to be loved. Keeping in mind our similarities helps to get inside the minds of boys. I also have to remember that boys talk to their friends differently. They don’t say as much as girls do. They generally have a much harder time discussing emotional issues. When I write boy dialogue, it’s usually choppier and more reserved than girls’. Boys tend to hold more back, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same things. That’s what’s so cool about writing from both perspectives. It’s really the only way to reveal what the boy is truly thinking.
What are your three writing essentials?
1. Good lighting. Harsh, overhead lighting makes everything more difficult. I’m into natural light and warm lamps. 2. Music. Depending on the scene I’m writing, music transports me to the place I need to be. 3. My iBook. Shiny Happy Apple World saved me. I am the biggest Apple fan. I should seriously be in their commercials.
About books in general:
What is your favorite genre of books?
It would be hard to pick just one! Looking at the books I most adore on my shelves, they fall into the children’s, teen, and adult fiction categories. I especially cherish the children’s and teen books that I loved growing up. They’re like old friends to me. There are so many adult fiction authors I love that it would take a while to list them all here (you can check them out on my Facebook or MySpace pages). I’m not much into nonfiction, but I do enjoy philosophy. I like Kierkegaard and Alain be Botton, a wonderful contemporary philosopher who is right on. Also, I’m currently reading Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox and loving it. It’s always a good feeling to connect with a fellow optimist.
What were the last three books you read?
Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson totally rocked the house. I’ve been a hardcore fan of Blake’s ever since Girl came out, back in the day when it was shelved in the adult section. I just love his writing style. I actually can’t remember which books I read before that one, but I will say that I’m very much looking forward to reading The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. They’re two of my favorite authors, so I’m stoked that they have new books out!
About your books:
What do you have in the works now?
My fourth book, Something Like Fate, will be released next year. Currently, I’m writing books five and six.
What three words would you use to describe your books?
Searching for connection
Warm thanks to you for having me back, Tirzah. I love your site!
You can find Susane almost anywhere on the web: