Behind the script







Remember those late nights when you swore to finish just “one more chapter”? Despite that promise, you ended up trading sleep for the ending of the third book from the series you started reading four hours ago. When your biggest investment at age 15 is emotional in nature, it becomes hard to drop that book without that much-needed closure. And as we find comfort in the familiarity of their struggles or in simply realizing that life — with all its twists and turns — happens to everybody, we develop a strong connection with the characters. Because they are essentially made up from the different personalities of their writers, it is no surprise that we fall in love with the authors as well.

When three of the top-selling international Young Adult authors visited Manila, they were swarmed by thousands of fans during their Cebu, Megamall, and SMX Convention Center book signing tour. We all know Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae for their best-selling novels but they have also grown to have a very strong following, especially on social media. While we get to see their selfies, random musings and frequent banters online, Young STAR caught up with them to get to know more about their humor, quirk and authenticity — things that helped them shape the characters that we’ve all become attached to.

YOUNG STAR: How did this Philippine book signing tour happen?
CHRISTINE: I really wanted (Colleen and Tarryn) to see the Philippines ‘cause they have a big fan base here, and I also want them to meet my family here. The original plan was to go on a vacation, to just chill and even bring our kids, and to have just one book signing in a small function room. It kinda just blew up when my friend Tinette Capistrano, who heads the Manila International Book Fair, casually mentioned it to National Book Store. Obviously, they looked up who my friends are and they really wanted to help out in making it worth our trip here.

You guys are the best of friends and you’re pretty much stuck with each other during this tour. How is that working out for you?
I just enjoy watching the two of them (fight). (Laughs)
TARRYN: Christine and I have just always traveled together for fun. And then I started traveling with Colleen last year. It was easy and lots of fun so bringing the two of them together was really exciting. But it’s really weird ‘cause we are all really different so I don’t know why we get along. There’s the businesswoman (points to Christine), the tattooed lady (points to self), and then that one (points to Colleen). (Laughs) Colleen is the one who abuses me online and she has made a circus of our friendship.
COLLEEN: Tarryn is delusional. I think all of us have a similar sense of humor and we all just get a long really well.

You seem to have a very casual tone in your online platforms. Is that because your audience is Young Adult?
COLLEEN: First of all, I don’t think my target audience is teenagers. Well, here, it seems to be the case but in the US most of our readers are 30- to 40-year-olds so it’s really unique here. It’s nice to see in the different countries the different readers of our books. My whole thing about being casual online is that being professional scares me. Being an author, I want to be a storyteller so I’m just myself online. I don’t pretend to be smarter than I really am. My most important rule is to just be genuine.

Christine, how did growing up in the Philippines influence your writing?
The book is my life. I wanted to write a book in the States about a different way of life that would teach them how we live here in the Philippines and how we have different rules and cultural norms.

Tarryn, your fans are called Passionate Little Nutcases (PLNs). Do you consider yourself a PLN as well? Did you come up with that name?
TARRYN: Yes, I’m the leader. We’re all crazy. I think it was when I was writing my second book, Dirty Red, when I said online that “Yes, I’m going to make (Dirty Red) live later. I’ll put it up on Amazon so you guys can download it.” And when they saw that they started going crazy. They were texting me and going on my Facebook. And I remember making a status on my Facebook that said something like “You guys are freaking crazy. You’re like a bunch of passionate little nutcases. I’m feeding my kids, calm down.” They immediately put (Passionate Little Nutcases) on T-shirts and within the hour, there were T-shirts being sold online. And so they started calling themselves that.

Colleen, what is the relationship between you and Diet Pepsi?
COLLEEN: (Laughs) Some fans actually gave me lots of cans yesterday with little notes on them. Well, I’m very picky about my liquids. I don’t drink alcohol. Just water and Diet Pepsi. I don’t like caffeine so Diet Pepsi is really the only thing that helps me write.
TARRYN: She doesn’t drink it like a normal person. It has to be on the rocks. She drinks it in shots…
COLLEEN: I have tiny little glasses in the house for that. It has to be cold, always fresh on ice. It has to be out within two months of the expiration date. They also just changed the formula in America two weeks ago and it tastes so different…

Colleen, your book Ugly Love is being turned into a movie and Nick Bateman was cast as the lead character. Can you describe your first encounter with him?
COLLEEN: I didn’t know what to expect, like I saw this guy online who barely wears a shirt and so I thought this should be interesting. His producer called and said they wanted to meet me to talk about buying the rights to Ugly Love. We were really professional in Toronto but when we had dinner in Dallas that’s when I really got to know him. I was very impressed because we had a really long conversation about the book (not just the script). He really read it, he understood it, and he even mentioned parts of it that only a reader would get.

What is your dream character that you have yet to write?
COLLEEN: A true villain because life had always been the villain in my books.
TARRYN: A female character that has real flaws and that doesn’t have adult thoughts.
CHRISTINE: I don’t know yet ‘cause I just finished writing a book. (Laughs)

What’s next for you guys?
CHRISTINE: My fourth book, In This Life, is coming out hopefully by November.
TARRYN: I’m writing a book called F*cked by Love so anyone who has been f*cked by love can look forward to this book. (Laughs)
COLLEEN: We’re also working on Never Never 3. It is coming out on January…
TARRYN: …or whenever Colleen decides to sit down and write. (Laughs)
COLLEEN: I also have the book November 9, which is coming out on Nov. 10.

Complete the sentence: Never Have I Ever ___
COLLEEN: Had my heart broken.
CHRISTINE: Not gotten the guy.
TARRYN: Kissed a girl and liked it.

The books of Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae are available at National Book Stores nationwide.

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