Author Jen Calonita to have book signing at library
Jen Calonita, who recently published “Tricked” as part of her “Fairy Tale Reform School” series, will have a book signing at the Sanibel Public Library Tuesday, July 18, from 6-7 p.m. during the library’s V.I.P After-Hours for Teens program.
Calonita will also have a book signing Tuesday, July 27 at MacIntosh Books from 4 to 6 p.m.
Before writing books, Calonita worked at Mademoiselle magazine and Teen People where she was the entertainment editor.
“My background was entertainment before I moved onto books,” Calonita said.
At Teen People, Calonita conducted countless interviews with musicians and celebrities like NSYNC, Orlando Bloom, Zac Efron, J.Lo, Hilary Duff, Chris Pratt and even “The Rock,” Dwayne Johnson.
“My kids like hearing about Chris Pratt when he was on the show, ‘Everwood,’ and like hearing about me going to the set of ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’ and interviewing Zac Efron and the cast. I was really lucky when Justin Timberlake was with NSYNC a few times I got to fly around to different cities and just hang out with the guys backstage and report about what they did backstage. They were a lot of fun to be around,” Calonita said.
One of her favorite aspects about writing for Teen People was being able to get the word out about her favorite up-and-coming movies and TV shows.
“I’m a big movies and TV person. When I find a show or movie coming out that I love, I just want to shout it from the roof tops. I think that’s the thing I miss the most, being able to find this amazing TV show that no one knows about yet and wanting to make sure people find it. Like when ‘The O.C.’ came out, I just loved that show and was so excited to get to interview the cast and write about it. That for me was like finding a new talent,” Calonita said.
Eventually, Calonita left Teen People in 2004 for a new endeavor: writing books. Her first book, “Secrets of My Hollywood Life,” was published in 2006 and was based upon her own experiences as an entertainment editor at Teen People.
“I came up with (the idea) because I spent so many years interviewing teen celebrities and watching young actors move up the ranks. At the time, I thought it would make a great book, I had so much experience in that world and I felt like I could give a realistic view of it from an outsiders perspective. That’s when I started doing books full-time,” Calonita said.
So far, she has published 19 books, with four in the works. In April, Calonita published her first book for American Girl, “The Real Z.” In 2015, she changed directions from Hollywood to fairy tales.
“As a kid, I used to always ask my mom, at the end of ‘Cinderella,’ what happened to the wicked step-mother. I was really worried she went to fairy tale jail, I was worried that the wicked step-sisters were banished to another land and so on. I started thinking about that story again. I thought if the wicked step-mother apologized to Cinderella and turned over a new leaf, what would she do with her life? I thought maybe she would open a fairy tale reform school and that’s where the idea kind of came from,” Calonita said.
That same year, she also came out with her VIP series which again was inspired by her time working for Teen People.
“I was a big New Kids On The Block fan growing up, so (the series) stemmed from my love of boy bands,” she said.
Calonita’s newest book, “Turn It Up,” is set to come out in January. The book, which is aimed for teens, is set in Naples, Florida. She said the book is about competing a cappella groups at a private school.
During her hour-long visit at the library next Tuesday, Calonita hopes to instill a love of reading and writing.
“Reading and writing really go hand in hand. The better you read, the better you write. I want kids to know that,” Calonita said.