With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.
Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.
Here are the answers to
some frequently asked questions.
How can I get on your mailing list? I want to know when your romance novels and women’s fiction books are coming out.
Click here to subscribe for free. When you subscribe, you’ll be among the first to hear when I release a new romance novel or women’s fiction book, when I have a new series in the works, and when I’ll be in your area for a book signing. (That’s why I ask for your zip code.) I don’t email often – only when I release a book or when I want to let you know about a super special contest.
How did you feel the first time you saw a Susan Mallery romance novel on the New York Times bestselling list?
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.
With SUMMER NIGHTS, book 8 of the Fool’s Gold romance novels, I made it as high as #2 on the New York Times bestselling list for mass market paperbacks. And equally thrilling, ONLY HIS, Fool’s Gold book 6, debuted at #8 on the USA Today bestsellers list, which is amazing because the USA TODAY list tracks all books – fiction, nonfiction, paperback, hardcover, ebooks… all on one list. And ONLY HIS was #8 that week out of all books sold – not bad for a romance novel!
What’s next for Susan Mallery, especially for the Fool’s Gold series and the Blackberry Island series?
I love it when readers ask this question because I get a charge out of talking about my current book. I’ll let you in on a little secret: My favorite is always the book I’m working on at the moment. When I’m deep in the throes of a romance or women’s fiction story, I live in the characters’ world, breathe their air and feel their emotions. (That’s the best part, feeling their emotions.) The story world is immediate and real to me, sometimes more so than reality. Which makes for confusing dinner conversation. When my husband and I are talking about someone, he’ll sometimes ask, “Is she real?”
I love the story world I’m living in right now! I’m working on three more romance novels for the Fool’s Gold series. In 2013, a bodyguard academy will open in Fool’s Gold. Ford Hendrix, the youngest of the Hendrix clans, is one of the ex-military heroes who will run CDS (Cerberus Defense Sector). You’ve met Ford’s siblings – brother Ethan was the hero of ALMOST PERFECT, Fool’s Gold book 2, and triplet sisters Dakota, Montana, and Nevada were the heroines of ONLY MINE, ONLY YOURS, and ONLY HIS. Ford’s brother Kent will also find love in 2013. The 2013 Fool’s Gold romances are JUST ONE KISS, TWO OF A KIND and THREE LITTLE WORDS. Keep an eye on www.foolsgoldca.com for fun between-the-books updates.
In 2014, former football players will move their marketing firm to Fool’s Gold. They discovered the town when they came to play in a pro-am golf tournament run by former professional quarterback Raoul Moreno of FINDING PERFECT, Fool’s Gold book 3.
In addition to the romance novels I love, I now write one women’s fiction novel every year, exploring some of the other relationships that are so important to women. In 2012, I launched the Blackberry Island trilogy with BAREFOOT SEASON, the story of two former best friends who have to overcome their differences in order to save the island inn they love. And yes… there is a romance (or two) in the story.
THREE SISTERS, book 2 in the Blackberry Island series, is a March 2013 release. The Three Sisters of the title are three nearly identical Victorian homes built on the highest spot on the island. The homes are owned by three very different women who are destined to become the closest of friends.
How did you get started writing romance novels?
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.
Where do you get ideas for romance novels and women’s fiction stories?
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.
THREE SISTERS, a March 2013 release, was sparked by my belief that sometimes friendships are borne of proximity, and then those friends can become as close as family. I wanted to create three women who might never have become friends at all, if they hadn’t lived next door to each other. By the time the happy ending rolls around, each of these women have found a romantic love with the man in their life, and they’ve found a forever friendship in each other, becoming as close as sisters.
How long does it take you to write a romance novel or women’s fiction book, and do you write on a schedule?
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. In 2012, I will release five brand new, full-length books – four Fool’s Gold romance novels, plus one Blackberry Island women’s fiction novel!
Help! I'm looking for an older, out of print romance novel of yours. Which one is it and how do I buy it?
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. On the Freebies page, you’ll find a printable backlist with ebook availability. There’s also a large print printable backlist on the Freebies page. 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.
Will you write a romance novel for (my favorite secondary character)?
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. The last two romance novels of the Marcelli Family series are great examples of this. The Marcellis were supposed to have a three-book series: THE SPARKLING ONE, THE SEDUCTIVE ONE, and THE SASSY ONE. But that family just wouldn’t get out of my head. Three years later, I followed up with romance novels for the missing Marcelli siblings: THE MARCELLI BRIDE and THE MARCELLI PRINCESS.
After my 2008 Bakery Sisters series, I heard from a lot of readers who wanted a romance for Raoul, a troubled teen in Sweet Spot. Raoul is now 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.
Why don’t you release all of your romance novels in audio format?
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.
I'm thinking of writing
a romance novel. How should I get
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.