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April 11, 2012

Pinning Belles


Jen Calonita is a former journalist for Teen People, Glamour, and Marie Claire.  She is also the author of the popular Secrets of My Hollywood Lifeseries as well as the standalone novels SLEEPAWAY GIRLS and REALITY CHECK.  Her next Bellesbook, WINTER WHITE, will release in October 2012.  She lives with her family on New York’s Long Island, and you can visit her at





“Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s this great website where you can find pictures you like and pin them.”

That would be my cousin Mallory telling me about Pinterest for the first time. Next would come me, looking at her strangely and saying, “You pin a picture? What exactly does that even mean?” She quickly pulled out her phone and scrolled through her “pinned” pictures of cute crafts, laundry rooms (strange, I know) and recipes. I have to admit, I was sort of mesmerized. I liked the idea of a site that was all pictures instead of mundane chatter (My status update: “At Costco, buying bread!”), but I couldn’t escape the fact that Pinterest also sounded like just another social media site that I would be sucked into. As much as I like keeping up with everyone on Facebook and Twitter, sometimes it can be hard coming up with clever posts on a daily basis (the Costco example above I would not consider clever). How was I going to add a third site to my daily check-in list?

But Pinterest sucked me in quickly and here is why: I realized there was a home for Belles on there. Belles is my new series and the tagline on the cover of the book says it best: “Two Southern girls, one life-changing secret.” Launching a series is both daunting and exhilarating and as a writer; I find I’m always looking for new ways that readers can connect and identify with my new characters. I want you to get to know Izzie and Mira (aka Isabelle and Mirabelle – get it? The Belles?) and feel like you could walk in their shoes. What better way to do that than to introduce you to them through pictures?

It wasn’t long before I created a Pinterest board that is entirely Belles-related . Reading is all about using your imagination, but to me, Pinterest seemed like a great extension of what you learn about the Belles in the book. I love adding captions to the photos explaining why I chose each picture and why it reminded me of my book. Want to know what kind of casual outfit I could picture Izzie wearing? I’ve pinned one. Trying to imagine what a classic Emerald Cove party would look like? I’ve pinned a picture of a swanky affair that would be in line with the ones in this wealthy North Carolina community. When I describe the Monroe’s house as being huge, do you want to see what I consider huge? There are pinned pictures of a house that reminds me of the Monroes plus pictures of what I imagine their entranceway to look like (a lot happens there), their pool, the country club they hang out at (that also serves as a scene for a social initiation) and even Izzie’s favorite view (that would be underwater in a pool lap lane).

Now when I go on Pinterest to scroll through images, I’m thinking of Belles all the time. Sure, I have other boards (random photos of a laundry room I like, just like my cousin, along with a picture of a house that has a pool that I would kill for), but the Belles are my main priority. I love finding pictures of dresses, hot guys, and up-dos that remind me of my characters, and I hope you’ll like the captions I give each photo. Some of the pictures on there actually contain secrets about the book along with sneak peeks at the next Belles novel, WINTER WHITE. What can I say? I’m hooked on pinning and I challenge you not to be once you start too.