Cover Stories: Now & Forever

Susane Colasanti's Cover Stories always signal the start of summer for me -- hooray! Here's Susane with her latest:

"The hottest thing about the cover of Now and Forever might be that the models are a couple in real life.

"Or maybe it’s how the background image totally captures the excitement of a concert. And not just any concert. Now and Forever is about a girl whose boyfriend, Ethan Cross, is the world’s biggest rock star. So of course we had to do some kind of concert venue type design. I couldn’t wait to see which direction the art department would take.

"My contract says that I’m allowed cover consultation. When my editor sent me the first draft of the cover for feedback, something very obvious was missing in the audience. Screens. Not one hand in the air was holding up a screen. I suggested that a few screens be added for accuracy. Fortunately, the cover designers found a background stock photo with someone holding up a screen. There should probably be more screens to reflect how concerts (and life in general) are viewed in 2014. But showing only hands represents the old-school tone of my stories in a way that brings me right back to 1988. Madison Square Garden. Fourth-row floor seats. New Kids on the Block. Before we watched real life through screens, before we worried about getting the best pic to post on Facebook, before we could just go to iTunes and play whatever song we wanted, it was just us and the music. Immersed in the moment so deeply you never quite manage to emerge completely. Connecting in a profound, authentic way impervious to distraction. The elation of musical obsession was the best feeling for me as a teen. It’s a feeling I tried to evoke in Now and Forever, and a feeling the cover evokes as well.

"The cover didn’t change much from the initial design to the final. There was a photo shoot with the models. The initial cover had a stock photo of a boy and a girl kissing in the foreground to illustrate the concept. The background stock photo changed. The spotlights were blurred. That’s about it. I think the cover is gorgeous. I love the gold light on stage and how the book jacket has a shimmery effect that glitters gold in the light. The shimmery effect was something I asked for. I’m stoked that it worked out! Being the massive book nerd I am, I am also compelled to point out what’s happening underneath the jacket: a turquoise cover with pink foil text on the spine. Pink foil text rules.

"There is one thing that’s confusing about the cover. The boy model represents Ethan Cross. Why would Ethan be in the audience of his own show? Shouldn’t they be kissing backstage? I thought that would have been a cool concept for this cover: Sterling and Ethan backstage, looking out at a crowd of fans. But maybe they’re at someone else’s show. Maybe this was before Ethan became so famous he wouldn’t be able to go to a concert like this. Maybe there’s another story behind this cover story…"

Thanks, Susane! US residents can enter to win a copy of Now & Forever below. Good luck! (Also: Hot trailer ahead.)