#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.
Susan lives in Washington state with her husband and two ragdoll cats. Visit her online at SusanMallery.com.
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Overjoyed and humbled, all at the same time. The first time one of my romance novels appeared on the New York Times bestselling list was in 2008, a book called ACCIDENTALLY YOURS. When your name appears on a prestigious bestselling authors list such as the New York Times and the USA Today bestsellers lists, it means that lots of readers rushed out to buy your book the very first week it was released. My readers mean the world to me, and it’s always such an honor to know they’re that eager for my next romance novel.
After four of my Fool's Gold books hit #2 on the New York Times bestsellers list (SUMMER NIGHTS, THREE LITTLE WORDS, HOLD ME, and KISS ME), I finally sidestepped the "always a bridesmaid" curse when THRILL ME debuted at #1 in August 2015. Pretty exciting to see my romance novel at the top of the bestsellers list! Years earlier, my friend Debbie Macomber had given me a bottle of champagne and told me to open it when I hit #1. (Not if, when.) I opened it the night I got the news, and I raised a toast to Debbie and to the wonderful readers who had helped me make this remarkable achievement.
I'll have four brand new books out in 2017, starting with A Million Little Things (Mischief Bay book 3) in March. The Mischief Bay series came about because I sort of wrote myself into a corner with Blackberry Island. I had originally intended for that series to be ongoing, but by the time I was working on the second book, I realized that I couldn't write more than three books set there. The island was just too small! It simply didn't work for me beyond a trilogy.
Mischief Bay is intentionally different. It's set just outside LA, so there's a huge population of potential characters, and yet Mischief Bay itself retains the charm of a small town. The series is different in another way, too—the stories are more interconnected. Don't get me wrong, they will still each stand on their own, but you will see the same characters more from book to book. In fact, fans of The Girls of Mischief Bay will be excited to hear that Pam is one of the main characters of A Million Little Things. I just love her, and it was a true pleasure to bring her the happiness she deserves.
In mid-July, I'll release The Secrets of the Tulip Sisters in hardcover, ebook, and audio. This book is a standalone romance-plus, with three intersecting romantic storylines. Kelly and Olivia Murphy were raised on a tulip farm in Washington State. Their mother's abandonment when they were young is still having repercussions today. Now in their twenties, the sisters reunite this summer, and all of their secrets come out.
September is going to be a big month in Susan Mallery land, because I'm launching a brand new series that all of my Fool's Gold fans are going to absolutely LOVE! I usually hedge my bets by saying something like, "I hope you love it as much as I do," but in this case, I am confident you're going to go wild for Happily Inc, which is just as quirky as Fool's Gold, and just as close-knit, but in a whole new way. You Say It First and Second-Chance Girl are coming out in September and October respectively, your chance to get in on my new long-running series right from the very start.
To celebrate the debut of Happily Inc, I'm hosting the Happily Inc Girlfriend Getaway in Fort Worth, Texas on September 30, and I want to meet you! Every attendee will receive an autographed copy of Happily Inc book 2, Second Chance Girl, plus a great swag bag filled with goodies I've personally selected. Learn more: Happily Inc Girlfriend Getaway.
From the time I was about thirteen, I loved reading romance novels. I had never thought about actually becoming a romance writer because I thought romance writers were exotic people who lived in France, wore black all the time and talked about things like dead philosophers and existentialism. While I was in college, I saw that a local adult education center was offering a class on "How to Write a Romance Novel." I signed up for that class and, the very same day, began writing my first romance novel.
The book was awful, but the class changed my life. It was 8 weeks long and I knew by week 6 that I wanted to make a career as a romance author. I stayed in school to complete my degree (in Accounting of all things) then walked away from a job offer to try my hand at romance writing. Fortunately, I sold fairly quickly. My first romance novel sold in August 1990 and was published in January 1992. From that point on, I have been a romance author, and I’ve never wanted to be anything else.
Ideas come from everywhere – songs, movies, conversations I’ve overheard. (Yes, I admit it. I eavesdrop.) The idea is a spark. The tough part is building that spark into a full-length romance novel or women’s fiction book. Sometimes an idea doesn't go anywhere, and I have to save it for another day, when it might merge with another spark and become brighter and more wonderful.
The spark that led to my Fool’s Gold series of romance novels was a news story about the census. I thought of how interesting it would be if the census discovered that a town faced a serious man shortage. I wasn’t interested in writing about women who were desperate for a man, so I went in a different direction. The women of Fool’s Gold are strong and sassy, and they are seriously unamused that the national press seems to think they’re lonely and pathetic. They’re doing just fine, thank you very much. The men who do come to Fool’s Gold have to prove themselves worthy before they can earn their happy ending.
My Mischief Bay series was sparked more by logistics than anything else. The truth is, when I started the Blackberry Island series, I intended for it to go on indefinitely, the way the Fool's Gold books will. As long as you love reading them, I'll keep writing them. But Blackberry Island is a very small island, and I soon felt boxed in. There are a few wineries, a few B&Bs, and a duckboat. Practically speaking, there simply aren't enough job opportunities for me to create varied characters and situations. I've learned my lesson. Mischief Bay is going to be a larger place, though still with a neighborly feel, and on the mainland.
The single title romance novels and women’s fiction books take about 3-4 months from start to finish. They are long with intricate plots and a lot of characters, which makes for a lot of writing…and rewriting. I do have a schedule. I'm slow in the beginning but after the first few chapters, I generally write about 15 pages a day. And I do plot out the whole story. I need to know what's going to happen before I can comfortably move ahead. This doesn't mean the characters don't get a vote. They frequently surprise me with their actions and dialogue. Then we all have to have a meeting and figure out what happens next!!
Because I write so many romance novels and women’s fiction books each year, it's important for me to have a plan of what I'll be working on next, then to stick to it. Being disciplined is as difficult as being creative, and just as important.
You can see a complete list of my books, in order of publication, listed by series here. Most of my single title romances are available in print, so you can find them wherever books are for sale. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, they should be able to order it for you, or you can definitely order it from websites like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Many of my older category romance novels have been reissued recently as ebooks and audiobooks, and more will continue to be reissued in the future. Sign up for my mailing list so I can send you an email any time I release a new book. As for buying older category romance novels in print, that’s more challenging. Category romances such as Harlequin and Silhouette books have a very short shelf life. If you can’t find the book you’re looking for on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com, you’ll need to look for a used copy.
You’ve come to the right place! All of my books are listed in order on my Printable Backlist. Or you can sign in to the Members Only area and look on the Freebies page for a list that shows each series separately and in order. That’s particularly helpful with the Fool’s Gold romance novels because there are several novellas that are interspersed throughout the series. The list on the Freebies page shows all of the Fool’s Gold books in order, as well as the Buchanans, the Marcellis, the Bakery Sisters, the Hometown Heartbreakers, and all of my other series.
Your first step should be to check my Freebies page, where I've posted a list of all of my heroes and heroines. You can look up the name of the character to see whether I've already written a book for him or her. (You'll find the name Rafe Stryker on the list twice. Different characters, same name—I don't know how I did that! Clearly the name stuck in my subconscious. So embarrassing!)
I never say never when it comes to writing stories for people who have made an appearance in my books. Many of the characters who’ve captured your imagination have also captured mine, and these people have a way of sticking with me so long that I finally surrender and give them a book of their own. I'm also very much influenced by my readers. I want to write books you love, so I want to hear your ideas! After my 2008 Bakery Sisters series, I heard from a reader who wanted a romance for Raoul, a troubled teen in SWEET SPOT. Raoul is the hero of FINDING PERFECT, the third book in the Fool’s Gold romance novels.You see, I’m easily manipulated, both by characters and by readers. I succumb to pressure. My best advice to you if you want a romance novel or women’s fiction book for your favorite character is to visit my Facebook page and let me know. I can’t make any promises, other than to assure you that I do listen and I do want to know which characters mean the most to you.
Almost all of my books are available in print, but a few of them are novellas, too short to print on their own. These novellas may be printed in an anthology someday, but they're not on the schedule yet. If you don't have an e-reader such as a Kindle or a Nook, you don't have to miss out on e-book exclusives! Several companies offer free software that will let you read e-books on your computer. Just do a Google search for "read ebooks on my computer," and you should get several results. If you've enjoyed the free excerpts on my website, then you will probably enjoy reading e-book novellas on your computer. And hey, the software is free, so it's worth a shot!
My publishers buy all the rights to my stories from me, including the audio rights, and then they get to decide whether or not to release the book in audio. My current and future books will be available on audio CD and download. Many of my earlier single title romance novels and some category romance novels are available for download from Audible.com.
The best place to go is http://www.rwa.org/. Romance Writers of America is a terrific organization for both published and unpublished romance writers. There are local chapters, conferences, contests, plenty of how-to workshops and seminars.
Writer’s Digest has a series of “how to” writing books that are excellent, and you can often find a copy in your public library. You might also want to take a community college writing course or, if you don’t have access to a community college, you can find lots of classes online, especially through Romance Writers of America.